Fresh Herb Gardening How-To Guide

So you’re thinking about starting a herb garden but not sure where to start. You may be disappointed by the selection of herbs offered at the supermarket, the lack of freshness of the high price of certain herbs. If any or all of these reasons rings true for you then fresh herb gardening is the answer to this problem. Growing fresh herbs like rosemary, basil, mint, or fennel at your fingertips make mealtimes special and there is no reason you can’t start your own garden of fresh herb plants.

A garden, inside or outside your home is easy to maintain and can quite a lot of fun and gives you a sense of accomplishment and independence. Sure enough, growing these plants are a true delight for culinary purposes as for added beauty to your surrounding.

A fresh herb gardening doesn’t have to be very big so space is not much of an important factor. You can grow herbs in your home even if you live in a small apartment. You can simply start growing fresh herbs indoors on your windowsill or on your patio.

So where do you begin? Location is very important and should be the first point to consider. This is because most herbs require specific conditions to grow fresh and tasteful. While many herbs enjoy a sunny, dry location there are certain herbs that prefers filtered sunlight and moist growing conditions.

If you are aiming towards fresh herb cooking, draw yourself a list of the herbs you enjoy adding in your meals and then research their ideal growing conditions. Examine the possible location for morning and afternoon sunlight to determine whether you have the right conditions for them to grow in. You should find the best spot that will accommodate each herb you plan to grow.

You may wish to add taller plants like sunflowers to create shade for sun-shy plants. It is an important step to make a design of the garden. It will help you put your ideas together before you start realizing the project.

The following plants will do best in a sunny location and needs full sun for most of the day:

– Basil
– Chives
– Dill
– Oregano
– Rosemary
– Tarragon
– Thyme

These plants prefer partial shade to grow well and healthy:

– Chervil
– Lemon Balm
– Mint

Planning the garden
You can start a herb garden by planting only the herbs you wish to use in your daily cooking. You may wish to complement them with herbs that you haven’t tried before just to add some excitement to your taste buds. Keep in mind that you will not need several plants of each variety. One plant can produce enough herbs to supply your culinary needs for a long time and most herbs sprout once cut will actually grow better. However, if you wish to grow herbs for harvesting and preserving in oil, vinegar or for freezing you should consider growing several plants to carry you through the winter season.

A herb garden can be started by planting seeds, propagating them from cuttings or buying seedlings from your local garden shop or nursery. Basil, chives, lemongrass, parsley, and thyme are best started from seed while mint, rosemary, and tarragon are easily propagated from cuttings or bought as plants.

If you decide to start a herb garden using seeds make sure you know how to germinate each plant such as the correct soil temperature and moisture that they need to grow. The new baby plants will need to have good air circulation, sunlight, and humidity. You can them using a spray bottle to help keep the humidity constant.

Maintaining your garden
Once the plants starts growing and their first few sets of leaves appears, you can eliminate some of the weaker plants to allow the stronger ones enough space to spread out and grow. If the plants don’t have enough room to grow in they won’t produce as well as they should.

If you live in an area that gets a lot of frost you may want to start your herb garden in containers inside your home until the warm season begins (usually around mid-May). When planting them to an outdoors setting, make sure to harden them by slowly moving them so that they don’t suffer while adjusting to new temperatures, wind, and light. A cool, cloudy day is a good time for transplanting.

Of course, it is important to water your plants often but avoid over-watering herbs that must enjoy dry conditions to thrive. It is equally important that the oil drains well to prevent roots from rotting. A strong root system is the secret to a healthy plant.

Another important factor is to weed your herb garden. Keeping weeds at bay will give your herbs more space to grow and keep the garden neat and attractive. Once your plants have reached several inches in height, mulch the ground to prevent weed growth and help reduce water evaporation. Leave an uncovered area at the base of each plant to keep pests like slugs and snails from invading the area.

Your hard work will reap its reward once the plants starts growing and are big enough for you to start harvesting. You will find a multitude of uses for each herb that you have grown from simple use with fresh herb recipes or medicinal herbs for ailments and making home made soaps, potpourri, scented candles.

Winter care
Once the colder season start to show you will need to move your growing fresh herbs inside the house. Use a sunny window that receives a few hours of sunlight daily so that you may be able to continue growing fresh herbs in pots throughout the winter season. If you cannot obtain enough sunlight, try some fluorescent lighting. Fresh herb storage is another method that you will want to consider. You can keep a supply of herbs for winter by freezing herb cubes in water or oil.

 

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