A Beginners Guide to Planting Herbs

Having access to fresh herbs has become somewhat of a necessity for many modern home-cooks. Unfortunately, they are or not always readily available, or can be expensive to buy from the store. Of course, you do not need to be a master gardener to learn how to plant herbs and grow them yourself. It is much simpler than you might think, and you can get started immediately.

Why Learn How to Plant Herbs?

There are plenty of reasons to learn how to plant herbs and grow them. They not only look lovely in, and around, your home and garden; they also create a fragrant aroma that will make anyone happy. In addition to having access to an easy source of herbs, you will find them to be better than the ones that you have been paying a fortune for. No matter how fresh you think your store-bought herbs are, there is nothing quite like picking them directly from the plant, and putting them into your cooking dishes and salads.

Popular Herbs to Grow at Home

Parsley

This is a very useful herb, and can be used in a variety of dishes. Of the most well-known of these is probably tabouli. This herb has loads of vitamins, and can help to alleviate the odor of bad breath.

Chives

This herb is one of the most prominent ingredients in potato salad, and will continue to produce year after years, without the need to replant.

Mint

There are many different types of mints, but they are generally all good for a variety of dishes. If you are making sweet foods, or Asian dishes, mint is often a key ingredient.

Thyme

Some types of thyme include woolly, lemon, common, and caraway. It has natural antifungal and antiseptic qualities, and is an absolute must for anyone who loves to cook with chicken.

Basil

This is a great choice if you want to grow your herbs from scratch, as it is easily grown from seeds. It is known for its medicinal qualities, and is popular in Mediterranean foods.

Rosemary

What lamb roast would be complete without a few sprigs of fresh rosemary? This herb can be grown into a hedge, but it will do equally well in a container or pot.

Think about more than just the first lot of herbs that you will try to grow. It takes some time and effort to properly learn how to plant herbs. Some people recommend that beginners purchase seedlings, as producing these can be hard.

Caring for Your Herb Garden

Now you have hopefully decided exactly what types of herbs you wish to grow. Before you learn how to plant herbs, you should learn to take care of them. Just like other plants, herbs will need a good amount of light from the sun, as well as watering, and proper drainage. They will need some good soil, but you should avoid adding a lot of compost. Herbs have delicate flavors, and they just might soak up the taste of your compost or manure. They will grow more quickly, but will not be as good to eat. A single bag of composting is adequate for around one square meter of soil.

Choosing the Right Soil

To learn how to plant herbs in the right soil, find out just what your specific plants require. They are all at least a little different, but you should avoid planting them in any random type of soil. There is a special skill required, regarding how to plant herbs with good mulch; you should avoid using too much. You also need to make sure that there is enough drainage in your soil. If you are planting a pot herb garden, make sure that there are special holes in the bottoms of your pots, as it will allow for drainage.

If you do not have good enough soil in your yard, you will have to do some preparation before you learn how to plant herbs in the ground.

Fertilizing Your Herbs

As briefly mentioned above, using too much fertilizer will seriously damage the integrity of your herbs. You can grow most herbs without using any at all, but some people prefer to use at least a little fertilizer. Use some liquid fertilizer, as it will go right into the soil, and only do this every few weeks. Consult with someone at your local nursery, or find out some advice about your specific choices of herbs, before you even buy any fertilizer.

Watering Your Herb Garden

This seems like a simple step in the process of learning how to plant herbs. However, there is a delicate balance to watering your herbs just the right amount. When the plants are still young, you should make sure their soil is kept moist. Once they have started to
become established, you can cut this back to watering just once or twice every week, depending on how dry the soil gets. Soil that is placed into pots or containers will tend to dry out more rapidly, so you will probably need to water pot herbs more often.

Cutting Your Herbs

A big part of learning how to plant herbs is learning when, and how, to cut them. If you cut too soon or late, or in the wrong places – you might stifle the growth of an otherwise good herb plant. Be sure that you do prune, as this will actually encourage your herbs to grow. A great plant to practice with is Basil, as it can be rather forgiving, and easy to successfully grow. If you cut a stem at the right place, it will not grow any more. However, there should be two new stems that grow around the place where you made the cut. Just be sure that you don’t prune too much, or too often.

If you prune your herbs regularly, you should never need to worry about them overgrowing. However, they should never get to the point where there are actually flowers growing on them. The exception to this is that some people actually want to grow the flowers of the herbs, as these are edible and used in some dishes. The flower buds will take away the plant’s internal resources, and prevent the actual herb leaves from growing. This is why it is generally best to cut off all forming flower buds, before they even have a chance to grow properly.

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