Basil, thyme, and rosemary are among the most popular homegrown herbs. Here are some growing tips for each:
- Start seeds indoors 6 weeks before the predicted last spring frost date.
- Ensure your outdoor site gets 6 to 8 hours of sun daily.
- Plan to transplant seedlings into moist, well-drained soil. (If you are going to cook with your basil—or any herb—be sure to plant into clean soil; and don’t use fertilizers that leave toxic residues. Also grow it away from driveways and streets so that exhaust won’t settle on your plants.)
- After the last spring frost date, plant seedlings in the ground about ¼ inch deep and 10 to 12 inches apart. (The soil should be around 70ºF for best results.)
- During the dry periods in summer, water your plants freely.
- Pinch off the flower heads as soon as they appear to make sure that all of the plant’s energy is going into leaf production
- Thyme is best grown from either cuttings or transplants, rather than seed, as it is slow to germinate.
- For a head start, plant cuttings indoors 6 to 10 weeks before the predicted last spring frost date.
- In early spring, transplant them outside into well-drained soil, spacing them about 9 inches apart. (For best growth, the soil should be about 70ºF.)
- Water regularly and give the plants an occasional trim to stimulate new growth.
- Thyme is a perennial herb, meaning it will overwinter in cold climates; add a layer of mulch around the plants after the ground freezes.
- Plant seeds or cuttings indoors 8 to 10 weeks before the predicted last spring frost date.
- Plant seedlings outdoors in well-drained soil. (The soil should be around 70ºF for best results.)
- If left unchecked, rosemary can become a very large, gangly shrub, so prune it regularly to keep it a manageable size. And give it a light trim after it flowers to encourage tender new leaf growth.
- Water the plants evenly throughout the growing season.
- For fresh rosemary in the winter, grow the plant indoors in a pot. Be sure to put it in a cool place where it will receive bright light.