Getting Started

How can I get started on an herb garden?

shutterstock_449938876Herbs are very useful and handy for a lot of reasons. If you’re someone who loves to cook and eat good food, herbs are your best friend. They simply add more flavor to the dish and enhance the experience.

Luckily, growing herbs in your very own backyard is easy to do. With a little bit of sunshine, fertilizer, organic compost and soil that is loamy, healthy and drains well, you can be on your way to growing your favorite herbs. Even if you live in an apartment, condominium, or any home that has limited space or no backyard, you can still grow herbs because they can grow in pots. While it’s important to note that a small container isn’t a bad alternative, they prefer ground where they can spread out.

What most people don’t know is that what helps herbs flourish the best is the right gardening site. Most herbs require exposure to full sun, but definitely not under scorching heat that rises above ninety degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in an area with very warm summers, find a spot that gets morning sun and afternoon shade during the summer to avoid having your herbs die from the heat. You can also look for places where filtered light enters. Most herbs require at least four hours of sun a day, so make sure that the spot you choose would be exposed to that much sunlight for that amount of time.

When planting your herbs, take note that most herbs need one to four feet in diameter for each plant, depending on the kind of herb you have. For example, Rosemary, Sage, and Oregano need three to four feet, while Basils, Tarragon and Thyme need two. Cilantro, Chives and Parsley need only one foot of diameter.

After plotting out the space where you’ll plant your herb, it’s time to prepare the soil. You would want to make sure to get soil that’s loose to allow water to drain. Loose soil also allows for the roots of the herbs to really grow deep into the soil. Preparing your soil is perhaps the most important thing you can do for your herbs. Any attempt at shortcuts here would be detrimental to your plants. When preparing your soil, make sure to have a lot of organic material integrated into your soil to ensure that your herbs will get the nutrients they need. You can do this by adding compost to your soil and mixing it in. This also helps the soil prevent drainage problems.

After you have planted your herbs, you need to water them consistently when they become dry. Most herbs require being watered as soon as the soil is dry to the touch. You might encounter problems with dryness when the temperatures and humidity levels vary week per week, so you would need to check the soil often. Even if herbs love water, be careful not to overwater them as this can drown your herb. This may lead to various complications and would likely reduce the growth of your herbs.

When it’s time to harvest your herbs, you can cut off about a third of the branches when the plants reach 6 to 8 inches tall.

Growing your herbs in containers

If you don’t have a spacious backyard to grow your herbs, fear not. You can still grow them inside your home via container gardening. Luckily, herbs are much easier to grow compared to a number of other house plants. All you need is a spot that has a lot of sunlight, is warm and a container in which you can allow your herbs to grow. By growing herbs in containers, you can reduce the difficulty you experience in digging up a garden plot.

For this, you will need large clay or plastic pots with a diameter of eight to eighteen inches. That way, you can put the herbs with similar watering requirements in a single container and save space. You would also need good potting soil, in an amount that is enough to fill your pots. You would also need plant fertilizer, particularly of the organic herb or vegetable fertilizer variety. Lastly, you would need a watering can or hose nearby so you can water your herbs as much as they need.

The same rules apply here. You would need to allow for an eight-inch diameter as space where each plant can grow. Later on, be prepared to transplant to larger pots as herbs can outgrow their pots as time passes.

After acquiring the pots you need, prepare your container by filling it with high-quality and nutrient-rich potting soil. Add fertilizer to the soil and moisten your soil by mixing in water until the soil feels damp. By this time, you can now sow the seeds of your herbs.

Dig holes into your soil that are large enough for each plant. Place them in the soil and gently press the soil around its edges so you could fill it up. Water the plant right after you sow the seeds. Afterwards, keep the rule of thumb that you would need to water the plant every time the soil starts to feel dry to the touch. Remember to avoid over-watering.

When it comes to container gardening, you need to watch out for your herbs getting the amount of sunlight that they need to get. Each herb needs at least four hours of sunlight per day in temperatures that are not too scorching hot. If the herb fails to get the amount of sunlight they need, they will still thrive but not grow and yield as much as harvest.

All in all, growing herbs is very easy. There are also a lot of benefits to growing your own herb garden in your very own home or backyard. You wouldn’t have to worry about the healthiness and safety of the produce you consume. By being able to grow your own herbs, you can be in control of the food you consume and how it affects your overall health. Good luck and happy planting!

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