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How to get started growing herbs at home

The Spice Girls said it best when they called for everyone to “spice up your life.” But according to the Herb Society of America, Baton Rouge Unit, these additions meant to take your food and drinks–and possibly your life–to the next level, don’t have to be purchased at your local grocery store. Rather, they can be grown from scratch right outside your kitchen window.

If you’re new to gardening and worried about the skills required, don’t be. According to Sylvia Lowe, Baton Rouge Herb Society chair, growing herbs isn’t complicated. “They can be grown nearly anywhere, and they only require three things: soil, sun and water,” she says, “It’s about as simple as that.”

However, Lowe recommends growing herbs that have the same water needs close to each other. For example, Lowe says that thyme, rosemary and lavender don’t require as much water as basil and lemon balm.

When deciding which herbs to plant, Lowe says that “basil is easy to grow and can tolerate full sun to some shading. Many herbs can tolerate our southern heat, but cilantro enjoys the early spring and fall.”

If that same Southern heat has you craving a cooling mint julep, take it up a notch by using homegrown herbs. “Mints are prolific and will live a long time,” Lowe says. She also recommends planting mint in a container to avoid having the plant pop up all over your garden due to its robust spreading.

“There is so much to learn about growing and using your herbs and the Herb Society is here to help,” Lowe says.