In general, herbs grow well even in poor soil as long as they are planted in a sunny spot, so make sure to set aside a windowsill or part of your garden that catches the sun. Once you have decided where to grow your herbs, you must decide how to grow them. There are three basic ways to grow herbs: from seed, from cuttings, or by root division. Different types of herbs grow best different ways, so once you decide which herbs to grow you can decide on the method of growing them.
Some herbs that grow well from seed are catnip, celery, chamomile, dill, elecampane, fennel, feverfew, hyssop, pot marigold, ribwort plaintain, sage, skullcap, St. John's Wort, thyme, and wood betony. To grow herbs from seed, it is best to follow the instructions on the packet exactly and plant the seeds in a place where they will grow best according to the instructions.
Woody perennial herbs such as elder, hyssop, lavender, rosemary, sage, and thyme grow well from cuttings. The cutting should be taken in late summer or early autumn from side shoots of the original plant. To plant the cutting, dip the base in hormone rooting powder before putting it in soil.
To plant by root division, pull up the plant (very gently!) and divide the roots using a small fork or spade. Replant the herbs immediately and water it thoroughly. Some herbs that can be grown by taking the offsets of the roots and replanting them in this manner are elecampane, peppermint, and Roman chamomile.
Sometimes an herb that you want to use grows slowly or is not convenient for you to grow yourself. If this is the case, you can buy a potted herb from an herb nursery. If you decide to do this, though, there are some precautions you should take. Buy the plants in the early spring, late enough so that there is no danger of frost, but early enough so that the nursery will have plenty of healthy young plants.
When you buy herbs, try to get healthy, strong ones with space for growth in the pot and new growth, and make sure to avoid yellow-looking herbs, pots with weeds, or herbs with the roots coming out of the bottom of the pot. Make sure to check the underside of the leaves for pests such as whitefly, aphids, and red spider mite. Also check that the herb is labeled correctly as mistakes occasionally happen.