Starting your Own Herb Garden

Ideas from Garden in the Park. This fact sheet discusses the following topics: the bed, the design, shopping list, and useful tools.

The bed

Choose a well-drained, sunny spot. Enrich the soil with composted material. Keep it organic and chemical-free to safeguard those edibles.

The design

Look at plant height and width descriptions to determine placement. For example, you might place tall items at the back of a border along a wall, but you could center them or place “bouquets” of tall varieties in an island bed.

Shopping list


  • Edible flowers: monarda, lavender, hyssop, roses
  • Herbs: sage, thyme, oregano, tarragon, winter savory, chives, French sorrel
  • Tender perennial: rosemary
  • Invasive perennials: (grow in a pot) mint, lemon balm


buy plants or start from seed each year

  • Herbs: basil, parsley, pineapple sage, lemon grass, cilantro, lemon verbena
  • Edible flowers: nasturtium, pansy, calendula

Useful tools

  • Lightweight snips to harvest sprigs and blooms
  • Multi-blade herb scissors to cut fresh herbs for recipes
  • Dehydrator to dry your favorites for winter use
  • Mortar and pestle to release the flavors in those dried herbs

Useful references

~Joan Kugler - Penn State Master Gardener