Good Soil Mix and Organic Fertilizers That Don’t Burn Herbs

by WriterArtist

Probably you are growing herbs in containers or on your soil bed, whatever the mode and media of sowing, the herbs need nutrients in form of fertilizers for long time survival.

Have you considered the need of fertilizers for herbs?
Although good fertile soil may not need any additional manure in the beginning, the normal garden soil is mostly in need of amendments. Garden soil often consists of silt, sand, loam, clay and small pebbles. With organic manure you can make the garden soil fertile.

Whether you buy chemical fertilizer or make your own compost, for regular harvesting your garden yield you have to meet soil needs. If you take care of soil, it also means you are caring for plants and herbs. Once you ensure this, you will definitely enjoy the rewards with rich dividend in form of high yield of tasty and healthy herbs.

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Image Courtesy Pixabay, Author Peggy und Marco Lachmann-Anke

Nitrogen Requirements for Herbs

Nitrogen from NPK

Herbs and all other plants take nitrogen in two forms - nitrate N and ammonium N. Herbs do not care where the nutrients come from, source can be either the chemical fertilizers or from the organic compost. For herb plants, nitrogen is all they desire. It is the one of the important component of NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorous, Potassium ) requirements of plant.

Best Soil Mix for Herbs in Container Gardening

Potting Soil for Herbs


Soil mix that I use for pot contains 1 part of perlite, 2 parts of coco peat, 1 part of compost, 1 part of garden soil. To this , I add  1 teaspoon of potash, bonemeal and 1 cup of cow dung manure. I do adjust the consistency, if it is too loamy or hard, I add more cocopeat. For herbs, you don’t really need fertilizers. I have successfully grown basil in garden soil. Although when I added cow dung manure, I could see the difference in the size of foliage.




Herbs growing in organically rich soil do not require fertilizer. One needs to be cautious, not to overdose one’s soil bed with too much of fertilizers. Even natural fertilizers can kill the herbs, if you exceed the normal quantity and schedule. Be wary of the season too, the amount and the temperature of your location. Don’t feed strong fertilizers in summer. If you are using container gardening for herbs, feed one small mug of liquid fertilizer (homemade) once in 20 to 30 days to a big planter box of 10 inches.




Follow the instructions if it is bought from a store and dilute it even more than what is instructed. Please do not add chemical fertilizers. You are going to ingest the harvest. I cannot stress enough that the manure should be organic. Fertilizing once in a month with compost or aged cow dung manure is more than sufficient. If it is in solid form , mix it well with the soil away from the root system.

Organic vs Chemical Fertilizers for Herbs

Why go Organic?




If you are feeding chemical fertilizers to the plants, naturally the soil and herbs will not complain. But these chemical fertilizers do not contain the secondary not so evident micronutrients that feed the entire chain of micro-organisms underground. A complete eco-cycle of microbes under the earth is maintained when they feed on the micronutrients.




If you do not feed these microbes, they will eventually die, rendering the soil infertile. Besides chemicals are toxic in nature and they leave residues on plants you are planning to consume. Your herbs and the soil become a permanent customer of the NPK (Nitrogen, Phosphorus and Potassium) manufacturers who do not want to relinquish control and hold on their profits and the market. You definitely can use the chemical stuff on flora that is for visual feasting and not consumption.




Using chemical fertilizers damages the soil and prevents its natural way of regaining and retaining minerals micronutrients plus the microorganisms have nothing to feed upon. Many friendly bacteria, microbes and earth worms that help your herb garden remain full of micronutrients and life will also die. Besides the residues of such fertilizers are toxic to living organisms and deposit salts that are hard to decompose thus degrading the soil.

Organic Fertilizers for Herbs

Advantages of Organic Manure



Using organic fertilizers may not convert into a sudden outburst of growth but you let the Nature do its work leisurely and cautiously. And Mother Nature works best when it is slow and steady, releasing nutrients recursively in the soil which will not invite unwanted pests and toxins. Natural fertilizers contain organic matter that protects soil’s eco-system.

Once you feed organic manure to the billions of micro-organisms under the few inches of earth, they continue to grow in the soil thus releasing a never-ending source of nutrients balancing the structure of soil with PH value and fertility. So, you see, starving these zillions of micro-organisms is not really a good idea.


Natural and Homemade Fertilizers

Make Your Own Compost


Compost tea, coffee and fish emulsion is best if you cannot compost your own kitchen waste into fertilizer. Tea gives an immediate boost to the plants and the herbs love it. The ideal way is to spread  the manure on the soil and mix it within 2 to 4 inches without damaging the root system.

Fish emulsion is a balanced fertilizer and does volumes for the plants and soil. Seaweed extract or kelp is another good fertilizer. Before putting in your herb garden, please dilute and dilute even further as per the instructions given.

Updated: 05/03/2021, WriterArtist
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blackspanielgallery on 05/08/2021

Herbs are so often grown in pots, that makes it very important to maintain a good soil when such a small volume of soil is present. It is easy to deplete a small pot-full of soil.

DerdriuMarriner on 05/05/2021

WriterArtist, Thank you for all the practical information, pretty pictures and product lines.
Are there herbs that you prefer to grow within containers and others in the ground?

WriterArtist on 05/03/2021

Thanks frankbeswick. I love your articles too. You seem to have expertise on geology, history, gardening etc. Hope you have recovered from the injury. I read about it on Forum.

frankbeswick on 05/03/2021

A good article.

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