Herbs are an essential part of a healthy diet, and they can add lots of flavor to your dishes. Whether you have a small backyard or a few sunny windowsills, growing your own herbs is a great way to get a year-found supply of fresh herbs that you can use in your meals.
Choose the Right Herbs
Herbs are the perfect addition to a garden, window-box or pot, giving your cooking fresh flavour and new life. Choose the right herbs for your climate, and you’ll have a productive and beautiful garden for years to come.
Whether you’re planting in the ground or in a container, you need to make sure your soil is enriched with organic matter and has a neutral pH. To check your soil pH, you can use a home soil test kit or have a soil sample sent to a professional lab.
Once you’ve chosen your herbs, you can choose to plant them directly in the ground or grow them in containers. If you choose to plant in the ground, be sure your herb bed is well drained, and add plenty of compost.
Herbs are easy to grow, and many varieties have a diverse range of leaf textures, shapes and scents. They’re also relatively simple to care for, even for beginners.
Prepare the Soil
Herbs thrive in a wide range of soil types. But they require some special preparations before they can flourish in your garden.
A good garden soil must be rich, deep, and well-drained to be productive. For the best results, amend a garden bed or container by incorporating coarse grit and organic matter like compost into the topsoil.
Soil drainage is critical for growing herbs successfully. Too little drainage will cause the roots to drown, while too much can impede air flow.
Watering is another important element of herb gardening, but each plant has its own needs. Some herbs, such as basil and lavender, prefer moist soil, while others, such as sage and rosemary, have lower watering requirements.
A good rule of thumb is to water once or twice a week. Make sure you let the soil dry out an inch or two between waterings.
Herbs are a great choice for new gardeners. They’re easy to care for and often don’t require as much attention as some other plants.
However, even herb gardens need a bit of fertilizer every few months to keep things healthy and growing. Adding fertilizer can make your herbs grow faster, increase their leaf production, and prevent pests and disease.
Ideally, you’ll use a water-soluble organic herb fertilizer. This is a good way to keep your herbs thriving without damaging their essential oils that give them flavor and aroma.
Fertilizer is applied either by working it into the soil or spraying it directly on leaves. Foliar feeding is especially effective for fast-growing herbs, like thyme and parsley, that need to get their nutrients fast.
Herbs need a balanced amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, or N-P-K, to thrive. Look for a fertilizer that contains a number on the label, such as 10-10-10, to ensure you’re giving your herbs the right balance of these nutrients.
Herbs are easy to grow, and they make a great addition to any garden. They’re also a tasty addition to your meals.
Regardless of whether you’re growing herbs in a garden bed, pots or containers, be sure to plant them in a location that receives at least 6 hours of direct sunlight. Many herbs are perennials that thrive in a sunny spot, but some, like basil, need a little shade to survive.
The best locations for herbs include shady spots in your yard or near a water source. If you’re planting herb seedlings in a container, use a potting mix that drains well.
Herbs can be sown directly into the soil in the spring, or they can be propagated from cuttings. If you are growing herbs in a container, start them indoors 45 days before your final frost date.