Whether you live in the city or the suburbs… Regardless of your space at hand or garden experience level… You can probably grow herbs…
A common misconception is that herbs are simply spices for your food, Your herbal harvest can serve many purposes depending on what your specific need is. Herbal teas blended from the dry leaves and flowers are easy to prepare, served hot or cold they can be a beneficial and relaxing beverage depending on the contents. You may also wish to research herbal remedies, of which as the name implies herbs are a mainstay.
Your home, too, can benefit from herbs. Follow traditions by fashioning wreaths from herbs that were at one time thought to ward off evil spirits. In the Victorian era people would create what was known as a tussie-mussie, in which each leaf and flower held a special meaning. potpourri is also commonly made from aromatic herbs, they make surprisingly friendly gifts.
Getting started with herbs is not only a fun activity, but an immediately gratifying one as well. Herb gardening can fill many aspects of your life with beauty and pleasure. The rewards can be summarized by an old saying among herbarians: “Herbs leave their fragrance on the hand that gathers them.”
If you are new to growing herbs, you will be happy to learn that most are very easy to grow. Many will absolutely flourish with just regular watering, require very little special care, and not only suffer from few pests and diseases; but repels many pests and diseases. Gray-leaved herbs and those filled with aromatic oils come from the Mediterranean area, so they thrive in well-drained soil and hot sun. In fact, most herbs grow best in full sun, but some also tolerate shade. Although many herbs grow reasonably well in poor soil, most prefer average fertility and a neutral to slightly alkaline pH.
A few herbs for shady places – Angelica, chervil, chives, costmary, lemon balm, lovage, mint, parsley, sweet cicely, sweet woodruff and tarragon…
When selecting a site for a herb garden, consider how you intend to use the harvest. If you wish to use the herbs for cooking, choose a location close to your kitchen so it will be convenient for snipping a few leaves or sprigs to add to your favorite dishes.
Herbs, like most other flowering plants, may be divided into three categories: annuals, perennials and biennials. Some herbs are woody shrubs; some are tender perennials that are treated as annuals in colder climates and grown year around in warmer climates. Tender perennials can be potted and overwinter in a cold frame, greenhouse, or cold sunny window. Some gardeners keep herbs in pots all year, growing them outdoors in the summer and bringing them indoors in the winter.
Position the herbs in your garden according to their size and growth habits. Creeping thyme, for example, never achieves any height, but spreads in a dense mat that can cover a large area. Lemon balm, reseeds profusely; mints spread via underground runners.
There are ways to contain spreading herbs to prevent them from taking over the garden. Corral herbs that spread by underground stems or runners, such as mint, bee balm, lemon balm, tansy, and tarragon, by growing them in pots. Or, plant the spreaders inside a container buried in the garden, leave the sides of the pot well above ground level to prevent the runners from simply jumping your pot.
To control herbs that self seed prolifically, such as chives, dill, catnip, and fennel, simply deadhead the flowers before they go to seed.
Mulch is invaluable in herb gardens. It slows weed growth, keeps the soil moist, and prevents soil from splashing onto edible plants. Wood chips tend to not only work well in a herb garden, they also look good. Tender herbs will often benefit from a light pea-gravel mulching when wood chips are inappropriate.
Every herb garden I have ever visited has had a special charm unique to the site. As you create your herb garden, combine plants into attractive plots or mounds as you see fit… If you read the label on your plants… And do a little research… You will know which plants are tall… And which ones are small… Now get this… Plant the small ones in front of the tall ones… That’s it people… There are no design mistakes in a herb garden… There are flaws… But as gardeners… We rearrange the damn garden every 2 years anyway… Chalk it up as a lesson learned… And fix it the next time… Easy Peezy…
It doesn’t matter where you plant them… Just plant them…
peace – chriscondello
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