Remember that time when you where looking for a particular herb and had to go through 4 stores before finding it? or that time at the supermarket when shopping for that big dinner you where preparing and was disappointed at the quality of the available herbs, not to mention the horrific prices.
How to start a herb garden
Growing your very own herbal garden is very simple and assures you of always having the full-flavored, fresh savory herbs at your fingertips all year round. These plants are above all, known for their culinary prowess but can be used equally for a number of purposes. Herbal teas, medicinal infusions are also widely used or made into scented soaps, candles, cleansers. They can be grown for ornamental or decorative reasons or simply for the sheer delight of filling one’s environment with delicate yet almost mystical scents.
If you are new to this or comparing it to growing vegetables or the houseplants that you have occasional problems with, it might seem like a time-consuming task and it can seem intimidating if you are not quite sure where to begin. But don’t worry, as you go along you will find it not only a very simple procedure, but the pleasure and rewards associated to this hobby will make you wonder why you didn’t start growing herbs a long time ago.
A herb garden does not need to take much space, so even it you live in a small apartment you can enjoy growing herbal plants. Since 1 single plant is sufficient to feed a small family for a long time, a variety of potted plants can be laid on a windowsill and grow in the sunlight provided and you can enjoy the sweet aroma emanating from your garden.
Of course, there are minimum requirements that must be taken into account. We need to provide specific conditions for the plants to grow to their succulent best. It comes down to good soil/good drainage, sunlight and in certain circumstance, growing lights and water.
Start by making a list of the herbs you currently use and research the ideal conditions for each one of them. A good source is go to your local garden store and have a look on the back of the seeds envelopes for all the instructions. Observe the space you plan on using for the garden to determine if it meets the needed conditions, and make sure you compare morning and afternoon. Not all herb crave sunlight, some even prefer a more indirect sunlit area and it can often be accommodated by placing taller growing plants such as sunflowers to shade the sun-shy ones.
Here is a general list of plants that needs full sunlight conditions for at least 6 hours a day:
And here are some of those who prefer shade:
* Lemon Balm
As mentioned before, you may wish to start your herb garden by using seeds or buying little baby plants. Be aware that certain herbs such as basil, chives, lemongrass, parsley and thyme are plants best started from seeds while herbs such as mint, rosemary, and tarragon are better when started from cuttings or plants bought at the store.
Soil is a very important step for the quality of the plants you are going to grow. Herb plants are at their best in a good soil mixed with a bit of sand that drains smoothly. When watering, the soil should dampen so to nourish the roots.
When you first start herb seeds, be aware of the germination needs of all the plants you plan to grow. The soil’s temperature and its moisture are to be taken into consideration while making sure that the little plants have good circulation, sufficient sunlight and a good humidity level. Misting them with a spray bottle will be an important tools to assure a regular continuous humidity level.
When planting seeds or plants to begin your plantation, add more than you will need for you might loose a few of them at the early stage. Once the plants start showing their first leaves, you can clean-up the area and remove the weakest plants to allow the stronger ones to grow and spread.
In most cases, your crop will start herbs in containers until the outside weather is warmer. In areas where there is a lot of frost, plants should be kept indoors until mid-May. Before transplanting them outside make sure to harden them to this new environment by moving the plants a few hours at a time so that they may adjust smoothly to the new temperatures, the wind and the direct sunlight.
It is vitally important to water the plants properly because ‘not enough’ and ‘too much’ just will not do. The soil will be saturated but drains smoothly so that the roots gets the fresh water, but not drowned. The correct dosage will assure a vital, strong root system pushing energy to a thriving healthy plant.
Weeds are not welcomed in the herb garden, they are useless and take space and nutrients that are destined to the plants. Once the herbal garden start growing, you might even consider mulching the ground and stop weed-growth altogether. Doing so would also be beneficial at reducing water evaporation. Keeping an uncovered area around the plants with contribute strongly at keeping pests away.
Come late fall, harvest time lets you collect good amounts of fresh herbs that you will prepare for storing the winter supply of fresh tasty herbs and, as I mentioned at the beginning of this article, of all the different use you can make of herbs. Also, you might consider potting your outdoor herb garden and transferring them back inside for the winter. If you have a sunny window or two where the potted plant could enjoy the sunlight, you could very well make it to the next spring. Fluorescent light can compensate if sunlight is not enough.
I hope these few tips are proof enough that it is simple to start a herb garden and that you will it is not the right time of year to start outdoor herb garden then you will consider the alternative to start potted herb garden.
Herb Garden Information : Herbs can be used to add flavor to food, make tea, natural medical treatment, a potpourri … Herbs can be grown inside your home or in a greenhouse.
Growing Herbs in Pots : The benefits of growing herbs in pots indoors including understanding the growing conditions like the right kind of soil, water, light and care indoor herbs need.
Herb Garden Plants : Information on annual, perennial, and biennial herb plants plus, what culinary, aromatic, and medical herbs are popular and how they are used.
Windowsill Herb Garden : One could say that having them growing around you is like having an organic supermarket on the windowsill. There is a large variety of herbs that you can choose from and you decide exactly how you wish to grow them.
Tea Herb Gardening : This is a very complete selection of herbs that are most used when growing plants destined to making tea.
Creating an Italian Herb Garden : Many of the most famous and tastiest herbs in the world are of Italian origin. Italy is known worldwide for its fabulous cuisine, famous partially because of the blend of herbs used.
Harvesting Your Home Herb Garden : Information on how to harvest herbs, how to correctly dry, freeze and store your herbs, or how to use them fresh.