INTRODUCTION TO GROWING HERBS IN THE GARDEN

Do you want to make your garden, and your kitchen, more exciting? One of the best ways is to grow herbs. There’s a wide variety to choose from. You can grow herbs like sage and lavender, that will come back year after year (perennial herbs), adding beauty to your garden and providing you with flavourful herbs to save and dry for culinary use. Examples of perennial herbs are sage, thyme, oregano, marjoram, lavender, hyssop and savory. There’s also herbs that grow and finish in one season (annual herbs), and these include dill, fennel, cilantro, basil, tarragon and sorrel.

Herbs are versatile and can be grown either in a garden bed or in containers. Most of these lovely plants are easy to grow, and don’t make too many demands on the Gardener, but let’s look at what they do need in order to grow their best.

SUNLIGHT

 

Herbs like lots of sun. A spot that gets at least six hours of sunlight a day will give the herbs the light they need. There are a few that can handle a little less sun than this, such as parsley and sorrel.

 

 

FOOD AND WATER

If you are growing herbs in the garden, they do well along pathways and driveways, where it is usually hot and dry.  They can handle a lot of water, as long as that water can drain off. These plants don’t need a lot of food either. Healthy garden soil should give them all the nutrition they need. If you do feed them, a light feeding of organic fertilizer is a good choice.

 

SOIL

Herbs do best in soil that is light and well drained, which means water should not be sitting in puddles where they are growing. If your soil is heavy clay, adding grit will help improve drainage, or grow them in raised beds. There is another way to give herbs the free drainage they need, and that is to grow them in containers.

 

GROWING HERBS IN CONTAINERS

These are the perfect candidates for containers, either on a deck or balcony, or in a sunny spot in the garden. Use a commercial potting mix, not potting soil, which doesn’t drain as well. Some commercial mixes will be labelled as good for herbs, and these make a good choice. Make sure there is a drainage hole at the bottom of the pot, and that you drain off any water from a saucer underneath, if you are using one. Some of the herbs that do well in containers are basil, cilantro, oregano, marjoram and parsley. These plants can be combined to make beautiful container planting of all herbs.

BEAUTY OF HERBS

Not only are they good for cutting fresh or harvesting for later use, but herbs are beautiful plants to add interest and intoxicating scents to your garden. Many of them are low, mounded plants that make perfect edging along pathways. Some herbs, like dill and fennel, get tall, even in one season, and add height and lovely colour to garden beds. Dill is one of my own favourites, for its lacy leaves and delicate lime green flower heads that blend beautifully with other colours.  Try growing herbs this year- and add interest, colour, fragrance, and flavour to your garden and kitchen.

 

 

 

 

Images used are from:  Pinterest, Licensable, Shutterstock, Vectorstock and Marcia Barron

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