Wednesday, July 17, 2024
Nature's Pharmacy

Herbs and Spices Growing Guide

Herbs and spices consist of herbs, such as basil and mint, and spices such as coriander. Herbs are grown for fresh cut leaves or soft plant parts, usually harvested fresh but may be used fresh or may be dried and used later. Spices are ground, crushed, or processed parts of seed, bark or root parts of herbal plants.

Additionally, some commercial vegetable growers also include herbs in their production program. Production is primarily in the Lower Valley and Winter Garden area.

Some herbal plants, such as aloe vera, dandelion, garlic, fresh parsley, and sesame are covered elsewhere in this publication. Herbs are typically hand harvested for fresh culinary use and marketed to upscale groceries and/or restaurants.


Basil. Mint-like annual herb used for cooking, garnish, or medicinal purposes. Readily cross pollinates and several hybrids are available.

Grown in plots of less than 0.1 acre for local sales. Some commercial harvests. Also a source of an organic insecticide and fungicide. Pests include Japanese beetle and annual weeds. Diseases of Botrytis, leaf and Sclerotinia blights, and Fusarium wilt.

Cilantro/Coriander. Cilantro is a leafy fern-like foliage that provides herbal garnish or flavoring for salads, soups, or other foods. Similar to parsley.

A cool-season crop, grown from seed in the LRGV; planted in weekly intervals from October through March; emerges in about 2 weeks and ready for fresh harvest in 5 weeks or more with 2 to 3 cuttings/harvests as a green. Perhaps 15% is processed.

Petiole and leaves are cut and tied in bunches for sale. Roots may be left on to keep the bundle fresher. Herbicides nearly essential at planting, no insects attack the crop, and diseases may include leaf spot, Alternaria, and powdery mildew.

Coriander the dried seed portion of cilantro is used as a flavoring agent and spice; about 10 to 15 acres is commercially produced in Texas.

Dill: Established from fall-planted seed and grows as a perennial.

Seed and fruit are harvested for several years in commercial fields. Seed and leaves used for flavoring.

Some used as a spice in pickling cucumbers. Produced by 10 to 20 commercial growers; about 82% for seed production. Some small plot production (less than 0.1 acre). Dill pests are similar to those in carrot.

Mint: Perennial, grown from vegetative material, multiple harvests from a field, and sold fresh.

Major pests are loopers and cutworms; diseases are Verticillium wilt and rust.

Parsley – dried: If produced to be a dried herb, parsley is considered an herb. See “Parsley – fresh” in Leafy Vegetable group. Pests similar to radish and turnip

Rosemary: Hardy evergreen shrub, most common types with upright growth. Narrow green leaves harvested for fresh or dried flavorings for meats and fish, salads, baked goods, and tea.

Produced as both a cut herb and potted plant; also used in landscapes. Some weed problems but no major insect or disease problems.

Previously some commercial production on 300 acres in the High Plains near Seminole for use as an antioxidant for other products but crop lost due to untimely rains. Root rot in poorly drained soils.

Other herbs commercially grown include:

Chives: Similar to onions, grow in small clumps, commonly in pots.

Fennel: 15 acres for local use of leaves, seed heads, and stems. Little production for seed or oil.

Lavender: Past production in Hill Country, but limited by adaptation problems.

Oregano: Seeded, produces well, and frequently dried before use.

Sages: A common mint with numerous types but struggles in hot, humid summers.

Thymes: Contains antioxidants, aromatic; several types grown in Texas.

Materials needed for Growing Herbs and Spices

1. Planting media (soil, saw dust, water, dry grass etc). For holding the roots of a plant.

2. Charcoal dust (cooling agent)

3. Hard wood ash. (balancing the acidity and alkalinity of the soil. “pH”)

4. Lake sand (aeration)

5. Manure, (plant feeds)

6. Seeds / seedlings.

7. Mulches (coffee husks are the best)

Herbs and Spices Growing Guide

Mixing all the Materials for Growing Herbs and Spices

  • Mix the materials (planting media, charcoal dust, lake sand, Manure and ash,) in the ratio of 3:1:1:1:2 kgs respectively.
  • Fill the container with well mixed soil,
  • Leave the container with well mixed soil for like 3-4 days to rest.
  • After 3-4 days , u can now plant ur seeds or seedlings
  • Then mulch ur garden with coffee huskes , or cotton huskes .
  • Water ur garden gently to avoid damaging of ur young seedlings. Management
    ~Water gardens every evening.
    ~ prun ur gardens where necessary.
    ~Spray with organic pesticides.
    ~Earthup ur garden to allow water penetration.
    (Have it fresh and organic direct from ur backyard for better health)

Five Reasons of Growing Herbs and Spices

Establishing a herb and spice garden, if space allows, is becoming more and more popular for many good reasons, as herbs and spices are plants that can be used in a number of useful ways.

(1) They can be eaten raw, used to improve the flavour of a variety of cooked foods or used to make herbal teas with fresh or dried herbs.

Home grown organic herbs and spices will also taste much better than dried products available from supermarkets. If you grow your own you will be able to harvest them fresh whenever you need them.

Herbs such as basil, coriander and rosemary are so much better when used fresh, so when growing these herbs and spices for use in your kitchen try and grow these as close to the kitchen door as possible.

(2) Herbs and spices are easy to care for as most repel pests and as many are perennial so can be harvested for many years.

With the added bonus, that once established they are easy to propagate and will provide many free plants to expand your herb garden, give away as gifts or sell.

They will also attract many beneficial insects to your garden which will help fight against pests and diseases that may affect your vegetables, fruit or nuts.

(3) They add colour with beautiful flowers and some wonderful aromas to your garden.

(4) They have numerous health benefits, have a wide variety of medicinal uses and can be used to make your own home remedies, skin care products or potpourri. 

(5) Growing and drying your own will save you money, as those small containers or packets sold in supermarkets are very expensive.  

Read Also: The Ultimate Step-by-Step Guide to Vegetable Gardening


Benadine Nonye is an agricultural consultant and a writer with several years of professional experience in the agriculture industry. - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education - PhD Student in Agricultural Economics and Environmental Policy... Visit My Websites On: 1. - Your Comprehensive Practical Agricultural Knowledge and Farmer’s Guide Website! 2. - For Effective Environmental Management through Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices! Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4Profits TV and WealthInWastes TV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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