Outdoor Herb Gardening

Herb garden

If you choose to grow your herbs outdoors you have the choice to make your herbs part of your vegetable garden or grow them in a separate garden bed, which is recommended for the perennials.

Deciding on the size of your herb garden will depend on the amount of variety you want. Generally, an herb garden can be in a (20×4 ft.) area. You should allow individual (12×18 inch) plots for each herb.

You also may opt to grow some colourful and frequently used herbs as border plants, such as parsley and basil.

Always keep annual and perennial herbs separated. Drawing a diagram and using labels is extremely helpful with plant placement

Location is key for successful herb growing. When selecting the location for your herb garden keep in mind the drainage and soil fertility. Drainage is the most important factor for successful plant growth.

Herbs will not grow in wet soils, so if the garden area does not drain well you will have to alter the soil for successful growing. To improve drainage at the garden site, remove the soil to a depth of (15-18 inches), place a (3 inch) layer of crushed stone or similar material on the bottom of the dug up site.

Before returning the soil to the area, mix some compost with the soil to lighten the texture. When refilling the bed, refill it higher than the original level to allow the soil to settle.

Also, the soil does not have to be especially fertile, so little fertilizer should be used. When the soil is highly fertile it tends to produce herbs with excessive amounts of foliage and results in weak flavour.

Nearly all herbs are grown from seed. Some herb plants, such as mints, need to be contained otherwise they will overtake a garden. You can plant the seeds in a container; punch several holes just above the bottom of the rim to allow drainage, and plant the container in your garden to ensure the plant is in a confined area.

Another great growing tip is to sow seeds in shallow boxes late in winter and transplant seedlings to your garden in the spring. A light well-drained soil is best for starting the seedlings indoors but be cautious not to cover the seeds to deeply.

A general rule of thumb is the finer the seed the shallower it should be sown. Also, keep in mind that herbs such as anise, coriander, dill and fennel do not transplant well so planting these kinds of herbs directly in the garden is your best bet for success.

Very few insects and diseases attack herbs.

However, you should research the herbs you are growing and take appropriate measures if there are some environmental risks to the plant. Also, winter protection should be considered for your biennials and perennials to ensure the plant’s prosperity and longevity.

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