The first step in determining how to plant your herb garden is to decide which herbs are best for you. Ask yourself and your family these two questions,” Which herbs do you like?” “And, which ones will you use?”
Herbs are grouped into categories based on how they are used. Do you want herbs to use in cooking? If so, you would look in the culinary herbs category. Culinary herbs are those used in recipes and brewed into teas. Many herbs for teas are also used as remedies and are counted in the medicinal herb category as well. Aromatic herbs include those that have pleasant smelling flowers or foliage and are used for oils, perfumes, potpourri and the like.
An excellent way to select herbs is to pick a few you like to cook with and see how else they are used. Those with multiple uses you are interested in would surely rank high on your list.
You might also find that some of the herbs you like to use in cooking have insect repellent properties. What a nice plus! Lemongrass is a basic component for many Thai recipes and will keep mosquitoes away from the area where they grow.
Then consider the life cycle of your garden. Do you want an annual garden that you basically start over every year? Do you live in an area where perennial herbs stay pretty all year, or is your garden placed in your yard where it’s okay to have a long not-so-pretty dormant season?
Bay and Ginko are trees. Can you make a multi-year commitment to them? In most growing areas mint will completely take over anywhere it is not constrained. If you don’t have a container for them you will spend many hours pulling them out of areas in and around your garden.
Some herbs demand full sunlight to thrive and others need just a little morning sun. In many areas Rosemary will grow into a huge bush. Victorians often planted them on either side of the entrance to their home so visitors would brush against them on the way in and smell nice during their visit! Where the herbs can be placed in your yard is an important consideration for outdoor gardens.
Compile a list of the herbs you like, see what they can do and what conditions make them happy, and then determine the placement possibilities for your garden. Once you have this information, you will have a very good idea of which herbs will be best for you.