A productive outdoor herb garden is not only possible but is a great addition to any survival garden! Not only are herbs a tasty additive to the meals you prepare for yourself and your family, they also possess many medicinal properties that I have found are beneficial for many ailments such as stomach upset, skin conditions such as psoriasis, muscle aches, joint inflammation – and MUCH MORE!
Beginner’s Guide To Growing Herbs Outdoors
Last gardening season I wrote 5 Herbs for Your Survival Garden. In this article, I shared detailed information on 5 of the most popular herbs that grace almost every survival garden you’ll ever come across. If you love basil, cilantro, lemon balm, oregano, and/or parsley – then check out my previous article on these 5 extremely versatile herbs!
If you are new to survival gardening and aren’t quite sure where to start with your outdoor herb garden, not to worry. We can help!
First, let’s go over some basic herb care and other information to better understand the process of an outdoor herb garden a little better. Did you know?
- Herbs are extremely easy to care for! Most herbs only require just a few hours of sunshine per day, well draining soil, and a little compost.
- Herbs love to grow in the ground. Some herbs have been known to reach heights and/or widths of 4-6 feet when planted in the ground! However, if you are limited on space, then check out my article Tips for Growing Food in Small Spaces. Indoor Herb Gardening is also another great option as well.
- As I said before, herbs are extremely easy to care for but, proper location is key. Most herbs like full sun. However, if the regular summer temperatures in your location exceed 90 degrees fahrenheit on a regular basis find an area for them where they’ll receive morning sun and shady afternoons. Most herbs require about 3-4 hours of full sun a day.
How To Get Started
Now that we covered the basics on outdoor herb garden care let’s go a little further and talk about the next steps to take to make that outdoor herb garden dream a reality!
The Layout Of Your Outdoor Herb Garden
As I mentioned before, some herb plants have been known to reach heights and/or widths of 4-6 feet when planted in the ground with ideal conditions. Therefore, planning for adequate space for each herb’s potential growth is important.
Here is a ‘rule of thumb’ for the space recommended for these commonly planted herbs:
- 1-2 feet: Parsley, Cilantro, Dill, and Chives
- 2-3 feet: Savory, Basil, Tarragon, and Thyme
- 3-4 feet: Marjoram, Rosemary, Oregano, Sage, and Mints
How To Prepare The Soil
Proper soil preparation is the most important step! To get started, loosen the soil with a large garden fork. This allows for proper water drainage for your herb plants and allows their individual root systems to grow to their full potential.
Next, add about an inch of compost to the soil and mix well into the soil. This will help your herb plants to have proper water drainage and will add an all natural fertilizer that will greatly benefit your herb plants as they grow!
Check out my previous article, Composting For Beginners, for more details on how you can get started with the process of composting!
Final Step – Plant Your Herbs
Plant your starter plants right into the ground in their space that you have set up for them. For beginners, I recommend starter plants over seeds because it’s just a head start that both you and your new herb plants will appreciate. You can buy the starter plants at any plant nursery.
Water your plants when 2 inches below the soil’s surface becomes dry. Since not every climate is the same, the time it takes for the soil to dry out varies. Therefore, you should check the soil often. DO NOT OVER WATER YOUR HERB PLANTS. Some beginners tend to think “more water the better” and that is simply not true. Overwatering your herb plants can lead to unhealthy plant conditions over time and can even lead to disease.
A Little Down The Road… When To Harvest
The best part of caring for your garden and watching the plants thrive (at least for me) is harvest time! You take care of your plants, they take care of you!
When your plant reaches 6-8” tall, cut off approximately ⅓ of each branch. When you cut close to a leaf intersection, the herb plants will then start the regrowing process.
Some herb plants, however, grow their leaves at their center in which case, remove the oldest branches completely. Leave any new growth.
As you go along and get to know your plants and how they grow, the process of how and when to harvest each plant will become more and more clear.
Happy Gardening everyone!
Check out my previous articles regarding gardening for beginners!
Do you travel around the world? Have you ever wondered about medicinal properties of plants in other countries? If so, check out my previous article, 10 Powerful Medicinal Plants From Around the World.
If you’re looking for useful survival gear that you can’t make at home, check out the Survival Life Store!