Herb Gardening 101 2


If you don’t want to spend your time managing a complicated fruit or vegetable garden, you might consider planting an herb garden. While it might not seem as significant, you’ll still enjoy the consistent availability of fresh, delicious herbs to add some flavor to your meals.

First you’ll want to decide on the herbs that you will be planting. You might have a hard time doing this because of the large variety of available herbs. But you can make it easier to choose by looking at what you have in your kitchen. If you plant your own selection of these herbs, you can save money by not buying them from the grocery store and have the added benefit of freshness. Some of the herbs you might start with are rosemary, sage, basil, dill, mint, chives, and parsley among others.

When it comes to choosing an area where to put your herb garden, you should remember that the soil should have extremely good drainage. If the dirt is watered and stays completely soggy, you have no chance of ever growing a healthy plant. One of the best ways to fix the drainage problem is to put a layer of crushed rocks a foot deep in the soil before replacing all the soil. This will allow all the extra water to escape, thus saving your plants.

When you are ready to begin planting the herbs, you might be tempted to buy the more expensive plants from the store. However, when it comes to herbs it is much easier to grow them from the seed than it is with other plants. Which is why you can save a bunch of money by sticking with seed packets. Some herbs grow at a very fast rate. For example, if you plant a mint plant in an open space it could take over your entire garden in a matter of days. The best way to avoid this problem is to plant the more aggressive plants in pots (with holes in the bottom to allow drainage).

When it’s time to harvest the herbs that you have labored over, it can be fatal to your plant to take off too much. If your plant isn’t settled well, it isn’t healthy to take any leaves at all, even if it looks like it’s not using them. You should wait until your plants have been well rooted for at least several months before taking off the leaves. This wait will definitely be better for the plant as well as you because by growing uninterrupted your plant will produce good harvest for years to come.

Once you’ve harvested your delicious home grown herbs, you’ll want to use them in cooking. Why else would you have grown them? You can either use them fresh in some meals or dry them out. This is easily achieved by placing them on a cookie sheet and baking them 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 4 hours or placing them somewhere that’s warm and well ventilated for a few days. After they’re well dried for use in cooking, you can look at  the nearest cookbook for instructions on using them to effectively for flavoring a dish.

If you want to save your herbs for later use, you should put them in a plastic or glass container. Paper or cardboard won’t work, because it will absorb the taste of the herbs. During the first few days of storage, you should regularly check the container to see if any moisture has accumulated. If it has, you must take out all the herbs and re-dry them. If moisture is left from the first drying process, it could help produce mildew while you store your herbs.

So if you enjoy herbs or gardening, or maybe both, then you should probably think about setting up an herb garden. It might require a little bit of work at first, to set it up for good drainage, and pick what herbs you want to start growing. But after that, it’s just a matter of collecting and drying all your favorite herbs.

Photo: BrianHolm/Freedigitalphotos.net

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