Beginner’s Guide to Herbs and Herb Gardening
Are you interested in learning more about herbs and how to grow them? Join the club; herbs have been around providing us with flavors and remedies since the earliest times. References to growing and using herbs date from the earliest copies of the Bible and other ancient documents. They are used for cooking, brewing teas, potpourri and all kinds of natural remedies. Many herbs are even used for pest control – for gardens and their owners!
Herbs can be specialized in their own garden, planted with other flowers and vegetables or even grown indoors. A small plot of about four feet by six feet will easily provide herbs for a whole family or you can purchase an herb kit and have everything you need for a kitchen counter herb garden. It doesn’t take any more than this to get started.
Herbs come in all shapes and sizes. There are annual herbs that grow and die in one year. Some herbs grow and produce the first year and then bloom and die after a second year of production. Others are perennials and live for years. There are even herbs that grow on trees! Most herbs love the sun and don’t need much fertilizer; but some, like me, love the afternoon shade.
Many herbs have great pest repelling properties and can be grown with other plants to keep those pesky insects away. You can also rub down your kids and your pets with the leaves of these herbs and avoid that awful smelling canned repellent. It even works on you!
As your herb growing skills mature, you can experiment with growing herbs from small plants or seeds. You can also try growing herbs like basil with your tomato plants and delight your friends with herb-flavored tomatoes.
If you are a beginning gardener, start simply and small with an herb kit or a few of the easier growing herb plants in your kitchen or on the patio.
Be sure to pick ones you normally use in your kitchen or medicine cabinet. Try herbal teas. All you need to do is steep the fresh leaves in hot water and add a little honey. Just be sure you are growing edible herbs!
Most herbs like a lighter soil, so if you’re using your own add a little perlite to dense soil. Water them only when the top layer of soil is almost dry. If they are in pots, add a little liquid fertilizer in every third or fourth watering. To keep them growing longer, cut off the flowering stems when they first come out and they will continue to produce new leaves.
It really doesn’t take an expert to grow beautiful and tasty herbs. Learn a little about the herbs you choose to grow, follow the instructions for growing them, have a little patience and enjoy your herbs!