Planting your own herb garden

January 16, 2009 4:14:08 PM PST
Love cooking with fresh herbs? Here's an easy way to grow your own!

Herb Garden
By Holly Hayes

A little herb garden is a great gift for anyone on your list who loves to cook using fresh herbs. I've made these using the herbs my husband and I use the most - Italian oregano and French tarragon - but you also could pair up lemon balm and golden lemon thyme, a collection of mints or basils, or a classic: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme. Plants in four-inch nursery pots cost about $2.50 each.

I keep ours right by the back door so it's easy to dash out and snip a few sprigs of fresh oregano for an Italian dish or basil to put in a salad or jazz up store-bought pesto or pasta sauce.

What you'll need:

  • Container (round, square, rectangular - just make sure you can easily lift it to transport it to the person you're giving it to!)

  • Lightweight potting mix

  • Herb plants (I used peppermint and spearmint in this one)

  • Piece of screening to put over the container's drainage hole(s)

    Place the screening over the drainage hole(s) and begin adding the potting mix. Plant the herbs in the container - and make sure you label them right away. Different varieties of sage and oregano, in particular, tend to look very similar.

    You can find more information about gardening by going to To contact San Jose Mercury News gardening expert Holly Hayes email her at