Monday, September 2, 2013

Starting an Herb Garden in FL

Starting an Herb Garden.
Building an Herb Garden in Northwest Florida has never been easier.

Florida Container Herb Garden
5 Steps to an Easy Backyard Herb Garden~ 
Fresh herbs are known to provide nutrients and antioxidants that have immense health benefits.

Store bought seasonings contain harmful additives and high amounts of sodium. Why purchase these products when you can grow your own seasonings at home?

This spring, I started an herb and vegetable container garden in my backyard!  This has been a fun and rewarding process resulting in enough tomatoes, basil, oregano, and parsley to feed my extended family.

Basil, oregano, lavender and parsley in herb container garden
Container Garden with oregano,
basil, parsley and lavender
While traditional in-the-ground planting is difficult, it's very easy to start your own herb container garden! Follow these 5 easy steps and you'll be cooking with fresh herbs in just a few short weeks.

1.  Determine what hardiness zone you are located in!
Our hometown of Pensacola, FL is located in hardiness zones 8b and 9a. (To find out what plant hardiness zone you live in, visit the USDA's map here.)  The map is developed to determine a specific plants ability to live in certain locations and what time of year certain herbs, vegetables, and fruits should be planted.

2. What do you want to grow?
Determine what types of herbs you would like to grow and ensure you can successfully plant them in your zone. Herbs can be planted from seeds or as more mature plants. Many herbs can be planted in spring and fall in Florida and even year round when grown indoors. Do a little research to find the best herbs for your family.

Lavender Plant at store~
Here are some of the most popular herbs which are used for cooking, baking, juicing, and flavoring and thrive in zones 8b and 9a.
  • Basil- Make some homemade pesto
  • Cilantro- Sprinkle on top of your salsa
  • Chives- Spruce up any salad
  • Dill- Perfect with any cream cheese dip
  • Lavender- As a welcomed addition to your bubble bath
  • Lemon Balm- Great in tea
  • Mint- Use for baking 
  • Oregano- Sprinkle on your seafood or chicken
  • Parsley- Pairs with any meal well
  • Rosemary- Add to your tomato sauce for a kick
  • Sage- Completes your Thanksgiving stuffing
  • Stevia- Sugar Substitute
  • Thyme- Common in cajun cooking
3.  Choose the best location for your herbs.
Some herbs thrive better in shade and some thrive in full sun.  Make sure to read the planting instructions for each herb before choosing the perfect location.

Add herbs to your current flower beds or plant them in their own containers. You can place your containers on your front porch or back deck so you can conveniently access them when cooking.

I have herbs in several locations- in the ground, in a PVC container hanging along my fence, and in terracotta pots on my porch.
Parsley grown in container on porch~ florida
Parsley grown in decorative planter

In most areas in the US, your herbs will typically freeze and die off in the winter.  For this reason, many people prefer to plant herbs in smaller containers that could be moved inside during winter. Consider this when choosing your plants and locations.

4.  Gather your supplies!
The fun part. Get your family, go to your local hardware store, and pick up the following: 
  • A few choice herbs! (Or borrow some from a neighbor's garden! Herbs replicate easily.)
  • Potting soil
  • Containers if you need them
  • Garden gloves
  • Pensacola, FL container garden
    Fresh sweet mine growing in container garden
  • Water hose
The initial investment for my herb garden cost less than $50 for containers, potting soil, and a few choice herbs.

Check your home first- do you have any items that could be re-purposed into planters?  A spare tire, five gallon bucket, rain boots with holes in them, or even an old suitcase will work. With some imagination and proper drainage, most anything can become a planter. Have fun with your container garden!

5.  Plant and water! Continue to water.
Fill your container with potting soil. I use the miracle grow potting soil. You can even add in some sand with your indoor soil to help with drainage. Plant your herbs, cover with soil, and water thoroughly. Ensure your herbs receive plenty of sunlight and water regularly. Continuously water your plants as herbs need water every day, sometimes two times a day if the sun dries them out.  If your herbs are inside, make sure not to over water as plants do not survive well with soggy soil.

Cut your plants back every few weeks as the more your herbs are used, the more they produce!

It really is that easy. Are you ready to start growing and cooking fresh herbs?

Container Gardening~ Oregano
Fresh oregano harvested from my garden in Pensacola, FL
Make sure to preserve your herbs by dehydrating or freezing your surplus to ensure you have herbs during the winter months.  Try preparing your herbs and freezing them in ice cube trays with some garlic and olive oil!

Do you have an herb garden design that you'd like to share? Please comment below; I'd love to hear from you!

Want to rent a house in the Pensacola area with a yard large enough for a garden? View Escambia & Santa Rosa County rentals on our website at

See you outside!
Nicole St. Aubin, Broker Associate
Realty Masters of FL~ #1 in Pensacola Rental Homes!
4400 Bayou Blvd. #58B, Pensacola, FL 32503
Call us at (850) 473-3983

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1 comment:

  1. Having your own home garden gives you health benefits. There are many medicinal plants available.


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