How To Grow Herbs

How to grow herbs, they are attractive and a must have for flavoring all your favorite meals.

Growing herbs as close to the kitchen as possible is worth considering to enable you to duck outside to collect them when needed....

All herbs are a real delight to have in the garden. They are useful not only for culinary purposes but also as companions to your other plants as they have the special ability to repel insect pests.

Herbs For Gardening

Herbs are easy to grow, even from the smallest spaces they grow well in pots, containers, kitchen boxes or can be used as borders for garden beds, or even as hedges.

How to grow herbs

First pick a sheltered spot that receives plenty of sunlight.

The oils which account for the herbs flavor are produced in the greatest quantity when plants receive six to eight hours of full sunlight each day. If you don’t have a good sunny location, then many herbs will tolerate light shade, but their growth and quality will not be as good.

Ideally herbs thrive in the ground, if you choose to grow herbs this way, raise your beds up (mound up above ground level) this will help with drainage, as most herbs don’t like ‘wet feet’.

How to grow herbs in your garden bed, mound your garden bed digging in a generous amount of compost, chicken manure and other fertilizers (general garden mix) this will encourage good growth from your herb garden. Good fertilizing using Seaweed and Fish Emulsion helps to produce lots of leaf, essential when leaves are constantly being removed as well as regular watering to get the most from your herb garden.

Always place mulch around your herbs to keep the soil moist and enrich the soil at the same time.

Once established, prune the foliage to create a more dense and bushy plant.

How to grow herbs from seeds

If possible, sow the seeds in pots or seed trays in a hothouse, cold frame or sunny window for the seeds to top germinate.

Some herbs do not transplant well, so if possible, it is best to sow direct into the garden. Especially Anise, Coriander, Dill and Fennel, sow directly in the garden where you want them to grow and do not transplant them. Check the directions on the seed packages for how to grow each particular herb before planting out.

For best results plant seeds direct in the ground in the spring, so they get all summer to establish themselves. As a general rule, sow seeds at a depth of twice their diameter.

How to grow herbs from cutting, division or layering

It is quiet easy to reproduce plants this way. Layering is suitable for many perennials with flexible branches.

Division works well for Tarragon, Chives and Mint. You can easily propagate Lavender, Lemon Balm, Scented Geraniums, Sage and Rosemary from cuttings.

It’s best to divide during late spring and summer from healthy, well-established plants. Healthy tip growth makes the best cuttings. Cuttings of vigorous soft shoots or old woody stems are less desirable. Cut just below a node to form a cutting that is 3 to 5 inches long. Most herbs should root in two to four weeks.

Established plants that are two to four years, division allows modest increase for plants like Chives, Mints and French Tarragon.

Divide herbs in early spring before growth begins. Dig up the old plant and cut or pull it apart into sections, replant the sections and keep them moist until the new plants are established.

Cuttings taken in Autumn/Fall take longer to root. You will need to put them in cold frame over the colder months. Plant them outdoors in a permanent location the following spring.

Layering is the simplest and most reliable method to increase perennial herbs such as Thyme, Lemon Balm, Winter Savory, Sage, Bay and Rosemary.

The basic principle is to produce roots on a stem while it is still attached to the parent plant. After the stem is rooted, detach the new plant from the parent. Select a healthy branch that is growing close to the ground and that is flexible enough to bend down to the soil, while holding the branch close to the soil, bend the top 6 to 10 inches off the stem into a vertical position. It may be helpful to scrape the bark on the underside of the branch at the bend. Bury the bent, scraped portion 3 to 6 inches deep, and anchor it with a wire loop. Insert a small stake to hold the top upright. Water thoroughly.

Layer anytime from spring to late summer, allowing the rooted shoot to remain in place until the following spring. Then cut it from the parent plant and plant it into the desired location.

Thyme is a hardy herb even if you don’t use it to cook with, it gives a wonderful smell when crushed and makes an excellent lawn substitute, the variegated forms lighten up the garden.

Oregano and Marjoram are very similar, but they need to be cut back to keep young growth growing.

Of course knowing how to grow herbs isn't complete without adding Parsley to your garden, the Italian Flat-Leaf Parsley and the African Curley-Leaf Parsley can both be grown in winter.

Watercress is a delicious delicate peppery leaf that can be eaten raw tossed into salads or put into soups at the last minute to add nutrition and flavor. Watercress can be grown all year round and is recommend this tasty leaf be included in every herb garden.

Coriander is very popular; it is commonly used in Asian dishes.

No home vegetable garden should be without one of the many forms of Mint, the natural companion to flavor many lamb dishes, and is delicious mixed with pineapple juice and mineral water for a refreshing beverage.

Rosemary is a hardy shrub that also makes an excellent dwarf hedge. There are many flower colors available from intense mauve-blue, pink, dark blue to the traditional grey-blue.

Red Kale with its burgundy foliage is an unusual decorative vegetable to add into the kitchen garden.

Learn how to grow herbs, they bring diversification to your garden and are so rewarding. There are many, many herbs to choose from so pick out your favorites and happy planting.

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Organic Vegetable Garden

When it comes to drying herbs , air drying is the best way. It is a slow drying process but doesn’t deplete the herbs of their essential oil, it is also the most inexpensive way to dry herbs.......

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