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Herb Gardening In Collin County

by Sarah Dodd, Collin County Master Gardener

Herbs are truly the unsung heroes of the garden. Not only do they infuse our meals with fresh flavors, but they also beautify our outdoor spaces. Adding herbs to your garden in North Texas or elsewhere is rewarding and practical. With its unique climate and soil in Collin County, choosing the right herbs can transform your gardening experience. This guide will walk you through selecting herbs that survive and thrive sometimes in the harsh summer heat.

Selecting The Right Herbs For North Texas
In North Texas, where the summers sizzle and the soil tells its tale, choosing the right herbs can mean the difference between a flourishing garden and a faltering one. Bright Calendula adds splashes of color and thrives in our well-drained local soil. Yarrow (Herb of The Year 2024!) and Dill, with their zest for the sunny spots, stand up to the fierce heat. Lemon Balm and Lemon Verbena, nestled in the shade, become aromatic oases that cool the senses. The hardy Mexican Mint Marigold is as robust as our Texan spirit, tolerating dry spells easily. Regarding kitchen staples like Oregano, Parsley, and Sage, these herbs revitalize our dishes and landscapes with their heat-loving vigor.

Click here for a pdf version of a detailed list.

Planting and Care for Your Herbs
Here are some general planting and cultivation tips for your herb garden. But remember, the plant tag is the best source for details.

Sunlight: Aim for at least 6 hours of sunlight for most herbs, but provide afternoon shade to protect them from intense heat.

Soil Matters: Ensure well-drained soil by incorporating organic matter or building raised beds, especially for herbs like Lavender that dislike wet feet.

Spacing: Give your herbs room to breathe and grow—crowded conditions can lead to disease and poor air circulation.

Watering Wisdom: Water deeply but infrequently to encourage strong root development. Morning watering is best to allow leaves to dry and prevent fungal diseases.

Mulching: Apply a layer of organic mulch around herbs to conserve moisture, regulate soil temperature, and suppress weeds.

Fertilization: Use a balanced, slow-release organic fertilizer at planting and replenish as needed without overdoing it—herbs love moderation.

Pruning: Regularly harvest and prune your herbs to encourage new growth and prevent them from becoming woody.

Companion Planting: Plant herbs like basil near tomatoes to enhance growth and flavor and marigolds to deter pests.

Container Gardening: For herbs that prefer drier conditions, containers are ideal to control moisture and prevent overwatering. Of all the herbs mentioned, plant mint in a container spreads quickly.

Winter Care: In late fall, protect perennial herbs with mulch or bring containers indoors to shield them from freezing temperatures.

Integrating Herbs into Your Garden
Herbs can be more than just kitchen garden plants; they can be integrated into ornamental landscapes as well:

Edging and Borders: Low-growing herbs like thyme and chives can create lovely, fragrant borders for paths or garden beds.

Companion Planting: Many herbs, such as basil, can improve the health and flavor of vegetables and other plants in your garden.

Attracting Beneficial Wildlife: Herbs like lavender and mint attract pollinators are essential for a healthy garden.

Maintaining Your Herb Garden
Regular harvesting encourages new growth and prevents herbs from becoming woody. For perennial herbs like rosemary and sage, light, regular pruning is beneficial. Additionally, some herbs benefit from being divided every few years to maintain vigor.

Harvesting Your Bounty
Harvest regularly to promote new growth—clip herbs like basil above established leaves to encourage bushiness. Chives and parsley can be cut back to about an inch from the ground. Use clean, sharp tools to avoid damaging plants.

Herb Preservation

  • Fresh Storage: Keep herbs unwashed until ready to use. For longer storage, place herbs like basil in a glass with water or wrap others in a damp paper towel and refrigerate.
  • Drying: Tie herbs in small bundles and hang them upside down in a well-ventilated, dry space. Alternatively, spread them on a tray, turning occasionally.
  • Freezing: Chop herbs, place in ice cube trays with water or olive oil, and freeze. Transfer frozen cubes to a freezer bag for long-term storage.
  • Salting/Sugaring: Layer herbs in a jar with salt or sugar, which can act as a preservative, enhancing flavor and longevity.

Herbs are a wonderful addition to any North Texas garden, providing beauty, flavor, and utility. With the right selection and care, your herb garden can thrive despite the challenges of our regional climate. Whether you're a seasoned gardener or just starting, the versatile world of herbs offers something for everyone.

Dive deeper into specific herbs or seek more advanced cultivation techniques; resources such as the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension offer comprehensive guides. Several sources of information are available on herbs. Books on herbs are available at local libraries. Organized groups interested in herbs and their culture and uses include:
Herb Society of America:
National Herb Day:
Herb Association of Texas:
American Botanical Council:

To see what herbs are thriving in Collin County, visit the Myers Park herb garden or any other project gardens supported by CCMGA. 


You are invited!
CCMGA is holding A Walk In The Park on June 1 if you wish to take a self-guided tour and have Master Gardeners on hand for any questions. Click here for more event information. The Gardens at Myers Park are regularly open Monday - Friday, 8 am to 4 pm

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