For the beginner gardener an herb garden can be a great way to get into the hobby. Consummate home chefs also love herb gardens because it puts the fresh herbs right outside the door. This means they get the ultimate in fresh herbs, which deliver the best flavor. Growing an herb garden in Arizona is pretty easy. All you need is a little sunshine, good soil, compost or fertilizer, and some regular watering. While it is possible to have herbs in containers it does restrict their growth. This means smaller plants and less herbs to harvest.
Choosing The Location For Your Herb Garden
In some areas of the country where summer highs don’t go above 90 degrees it’s ok to plant your herb garden in full sun. In Arizona we know that isn’t true. So for the successful herb garden in Arizona you want to make sure to plant them in an area of your yard that gets morning sun but is shaded in the afternoon. If you don’t have such an area you can plant your herbs in a semi-shaded area. Under a tree is a great area as the leaves will protect the garden from excessive sun and heat. No matter where you decide to plant mark out the area when the sun hits it, and when it leaves. You want at least 4 hours of sun on your herb garden per day. This time of day will be different based on location.
Getting The Soil Ready
Soil in our gardens settles and gets compacted over time with foot traffic. The first step after having selected where to have the herb garden is to prep the soil. To do this you will want to use a large garden fork to churn the soil apart. This creates looser soil that will drain. It also makes it so the soil is looser and helps with plants creating better root systems. Some gardeners like to go the extra mile and add some compost to their herb garden soil. This improves drainage and adds nutrients to the soil. This is a labor intensive step, but absolutely critical for a successful herb garden.
Herb Garden Layout
Depending on the herbs you select for your garden you will need to space your rows differently. Herbs generally grow anywhere from a foot to four feet in diameter. Listed below are the plants that fit each diameter category. You’ll also want to afford yourself some room to walk and work in between your plants.
Small Herb Plants – 1 foot wide – Parsley, Cilantro, Chives, Dill
Medium Herb Plants – 2 feet wide – Savory, Basil, Tarragon, Thyme
Larger Herb Plants – 3-4 feet wide – Oregano, Mint, Sage, Rosemary
You can either plan the size of your garden based on how much fresh herb you want to be able to harvest, or you can decide how much of your yard you want to dedicate to gardening. Many experienced gardeners will set out stakes and string to visualize their spacing for each of the different types of herbs. Adequate spacing will give your plants room to grow. Giving each plant that space will translate to more sun and less competition for nutrients for the root systems.
Watering Your Herb Garden
There is a delicate balance to learn between not watering enough, and over watering your herbs. Clearly not watering enough means the plants dry out, don’t produce, and potentially die. However over watering can also lead to root rot and plants that are sick and underdeveloped. The majority of herbs grow best when they are watered as soon as you can find dry soil 2 inches under the surface. This takes digging next to your plants often to keep track of your garden, but hard work pays off.
Herb Gardening Experts In The Phoenix Valley
If you’re ready to start growing your herb garden A&P Nursery has locations in Gilbert, Mesa, and Queen Creek, AZ. We have all the tools, soils, nutrients, and plants you will need to get your herb garden started. That and we have expert knowledge that will help you every step of the way. Visit one of our 4 locations today to get started!