5 Tips to Growing Herbs

Potted herb plants
Potted herbs left to right: sage, rosemary and oregano growing in organic potting soil, galvanized metal pails – NOTE: always drill holes in the bottom before planting.

Nothing really compares to the wonderful aroma and fresh taste of herbs just cut from the garden. Fortunately herbs are quite easy to grow and thrive when they are trimmed on a regular basis. New to growing herbs, no problem! I’ll share my top 5 bullet-proof tips to grow beautiful, healthy herbs in your garden or in a container.

Herbs are a plant, either perennial or annual, whose fresh or dried parts are used to season foods, provide fragrances, supply natural dyes or make industrial and pharmaceutical products. Culinary herb plants are those whose fresh or dried leaves are used in cooking. Some common culinary herbs are basil, French tarragon, cilantro, rosemary and thyme.

Culinary herbs are usually distinguished from spices, although the two categories can overlap. Culinary herbs consist of fresh or dried leaves while spices are seeds, roots, fruits, flowers and bark. Culinary herbs usually have a mild flavor, while spices tend to have a stronger, more pungent flavor. Some common spices are cinnamon sticks, anise seeds and ginger roots.

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How and Where to Grow Herb Plants..

Herb plants can be grown in small pots or containers as patio plants. You can grow herbs in perennial beds and borders, or you can establish a “herb garden” in an area adjacent to your vegetable garden. How large of an area you dedicate to herbs depends on your own personal preference and on the amount of space that you have available.

When you grow herbs either from seed or established plugs and plants, always start with a soil that has been amended with organic matter. For container plantings do not use garden soil as it is too heavy and will not drain properly, instead use a good quality organic potting soil that contains perlite for drainage. If you are growing herbs from seed, always use certified organic herb seed whenever possible.

Herb-Collection-cropped
Grow and instant herb garden with these organically grown herb plants from Fresh Garden Living shipped to your door potted and growing. Great gift idea!

Tips to Successfully Grow Herbs:

1. Most herbs will grow well with the same sunlight (6-8 hours minimum), fertility, soil, growing conditions, and cultural techniques required by vegetables grown in hardy gardens.

2. The soil should not be extremely acidic or alkaline; a soil nearly neutral is best for most herbs. A pH reading between 6.5 and 7.0 produces the best herbs. Most herbs do not need a highly fertile soil. Highly fertile soils tend to produce excessive foliage that is poor in flavor. Herbs grow best when soils have adequate organic matter. Add new organic matter every year to your herb beds.

3. Pay special attention to drainage and moisture requirements of certain herbs since many are very sensitive to soil moisture conditions. Sage, rosemary and thyme require a well-drained, slightly moist soil, whereas parsley, chervil and mint grow best on soils that retain moisture. Growing herbs in raised beds is an easy way to correct soil and drainage issues.

4. Grow herbs in a location that is convenient to harvest the herbs on a regular basis. Cutting rosemary for use in cookingHerbs make great container plants and can be added into container plantings with annuals such as violas and verbena for added splashes of color. Mints can be invasive so it is best to grow mints either in pots or segregated areas of the garden.

5. Herbs can be grown from seeds or planted as potted plants. Slow growing herbs such as lavender, rosemary, sage and oregano will produce the first season if planted from 3.5? plants rather than grown from seed. Always start with either organic seeds or organic plants when growing herbs.
And most of all remember, herbs like to be harvested, herbs are there to be enjoyed! Your herbs will reward you with repeat growth if you use them on a regular basis.

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