1.Start small...gardening tips to follow
Use a garden layout to plan where you want to plant your herb garden. Here are some other gardening tips.
•A good sketch of your herb garden helps you plan for not only appearance, but also compatibility and ease of access.
•Questions? Do you want to step outside your door
and pick some herbs for dinner?
•Do you want to use the herb garden in companion planting
with your vegetable garden?
•Do you want a flower herb garden for display and maybe for fresh
or dried flower arrangements?
•Do you want to attract beneficial insects so you can eliminate the need for chemicals to kill the harmful insects…say that hungry caterpillar?
•Do you want to use your herb garden like the vegetable garden to provide food and the best nutrition for you and your family?
Or harvest your herbs daily, use them fresh or dry in your cooking for the winter months or for herbal teas, syrups, cordials, drinks, or medicinal use.
2.Test Your Soil...
It’s easy! Buy a simple soil testing kit or soil testing meter for quicker results.
•Herbs are not as particular as vegetables, which are why they’re so easy to grow. But, some medicinal herbs need more tender, loving, care.
•Get a professional! Send a sample off to your local extension service early in the spring if possible. They do get a lot of requests so send your samples early.
Here are some quick gardening tips!
Label them – name, address, date, soil sample location in your garden.
3.Get your herb seed catalogs...
•Oh, the possibilities! You can get lost in those catalogs and order way…too much. I’ve done it and I know many other gardeners who have done it too.
•What I have learned to do is put it on a spreadsheet in my computer.
I have columns like this…
Garden Planning For The Year _______________________________
You can do this in a column format like this or all as headings, which is the way I lay it out.
A/P = annual or perennial,
Z = zone, Description,
Amount = how many,
Mailed = check,
It looks better in a spreadsheet or you can do this on an accountant’s legal pad, in a garden journal, or a simple three ring binder notebook.
4.Purchase your herb plants or herb seeds...
•This is the easy part, but maybe painful to your wallet.
5.Prepare the soil…
Soil preparation is usually done in the fall from fallen leaves raked in a pile and placed on top of your herb garden. Or collected from local people who bag them to be used in your garden in the spring.
As these leaves breakdown they provide the important nutrients bacteria and fungi need to create vital minerals your herb plants need to grow.
Simple gardening tips to consider...
•Fall: Till the soil in the fall if it’s a new area, so the soil has the whole winter to break down and decay thus creating a better start for your plants in the spring.
•Spring: Till the soil and mix some good compost such as rotten horse or cow manure. Also, mix in bone meal for strong roots and blood meal for green leaves, (nitrogen), cottonsead meal, organic kelp meal, or worm casting. Borage leaves for calcium, dandelion to break down the soil faster, all help in building the soil structure.
Basil herb page
6.Start seeds indoors...
•Use a good seed starter mix or make your own. Peat moss and Pearlite (those white tiny balls) is all you need.
•Depending on which herb you decide to grow you’ll need to pay special attention to what growing temperatures they like. For example, Lavender likes a cold germination period of around 60 – 90 days. So, start these plants in the fall for spring planting.
•On the other hand, basil likes it warm at around 70 – 75 degrees and after 4 –6 weeks is ready for transplanting either into bigger pots or into the garden after a week of hardening off.
7.Harden your plants...
•When plants grow in a nice warm environment and then have to go into a cooler than expected environment permanently they don’t adjust very well. In short, they’ll die. Take the extra week and slowly get them adjusted to cooler weather. Your herbs will be happy and so will you.
*This is one of the essential gardening tips to do and can be easily overlooked.
8.Plant your herbs...
This is where your planning ahead and soil preparation come into play. It’ll make planting them easier and less time consuming in the spring.
Some herbs can even be planted in early fall too. For example, evergreen trees here in the Northeast are easier to plant and will have all winter to grow and soak up the extra water creating a stronger root system.
*Gardening tips like these are helpful in seeing the overall picture of herb gardening.
9.Maintain your herbs...
•Prune, pick, taste, and sample
•If the leaves look a little green try adding some more enriched compost.
•Too wet – mix in some sand for better drainage
•Most culinary herbs love to be harvested often and will ultimately produce more. Medicinal herbs may need to reach maturity in order to be harvested...say 3 – 5 years.
10.Enjoy and relax!
•Be proud of what you’ve accomplished so far and tastes the fruits of your labor.
This is one of the best gardening tips.
Don’t get overwhelmed!
Plan. Plan. Plan.
Sow. Sow. Sow.
Reap. Reap. Reap.
Rest and relax!
Happy Herb Planting!