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Knowledge to Grow by Gail Daniels - Herb gardening


It's not too late in the season to start an herb garden and if you have wanted one for some time, NOW IS THE TIME!! Herbs really aren't hard to grow and sometimes grow way too fast and way too big before you know it!

To start a basic herb garden, first find a good home for the herbs. Herbs like full sun for at least six hours daily. They also like rich soil. If your soil needs help, you can mix a lot of compost in it or create a raised bed. Your herb garden can be very simply laid out or you can be creative. For a somewhat formal look, you can edge your garden with your favorite small shrubs. For a country look, you could plant your herbs in a wagon wheel or try geometric shapes. Many herb gardens are laid out in geometric shapes.

When purchasing your herb plants, take your time. Visit a nursery or nurseries and learn what shapes and smells you like of the different herbs and which ones you want in your garden. Try placing herbs so you can see how they will look together in your garden. Look for the growing tags on the plant for the habits of each herb. Check for how aggressive they grow, how tall, etc. Now comes the difficult part – deciding which ones you want for your herb garden because you'll probably like them all. Makes notes of the plants you have to leave behind and add them to your garden next year.

If you love scents, herbs that are used to make essential oils would be ideal for you. For an aromatherapy garden, consider lavender, lemon grass, and rosemary. They can give your home a wonderful fragrance. Ask the nursery for suggestions.

Now comes the very important moment – planting your herb garden! We all know to check the roots when you take the plant out of the pot. The roots definitely should not be left rootbound. Spread the roots at the bottom of the root ball so they will not grow in a circle and choke the plant. Dig the hole and place the plant in it so it's growing at the same level as it was before.

Caring for your herb garden should be fairly easy. You don't need to water every day if you soak the soil thoroughly with deep watering. The biggest concern will be keeping the weeds out. Also, watch for pests. Look for organic methods to control pests – you're going to eat your herbs.

Next time we'll talk about drying herbs.