Gardening Vivian | 01 Apr 2011 09:00 am

Herb Growing

If you are considering herb growing in your home garden, then take care with your choice of location. You need to choose a place that is away from house, tree or fence shadows – a place that has plenty of sun exposure. Also, make sure you allow sufficient room for your herbs to grow without them being hemmed in by other plants.

If you are new to herb gardening, then you are about to experience how simple herb growing is and be introduced to a wonderful world of lots of different herb varieties. You will be able to use your herbs for cooking, as dressings, their medicinal properties or as ornamental garden plants.

Choose well-drained soil for your herbs. If the soil is too wet, the plants will not thrive and will probably die. Don’t despair if your soil is very sandy as soil improver can help to alleviate this. For a clay dominated soil, you may need to use a mixture of soil improver and sand.

When planting herb seeds, don’t plant the seeds too deep. A good guide is to plant about 1-3 times deeper than the size of the seed.

Here are two well-known herbs that are easy to grow for new herb gardeners:

Sweet Basil. Sweet Basil leaves can be used as a salad accessory or as a flavouring agent in tomato dishes.

Once the frost season has disappeared, you can sow the seeds directly into the garden or you can buy starter plants from garden centers. Alternatively, you can grow them from seeds indoors a couple of months before the growing season and then transplant them outdoors.

You can use fresh basil leaves during the summer growing season. Dry the leaves in the fall and place in storage for winter use.

Garlic. Garlic is well-known for its health benefits, with many publications showing successes in treating cardiovascular problems, reducing cholesterol, as an antiseptic, as an anti-inflammatory, as an antioxidant, etc.

Add composted manure to the soil some weeks before planting garlic and turn the soil over thoroughly.

To plant garlic, place individual cloves tip up in a location that receives about six hours of sunlight each day. Plant to a depth of about a couple of inches and in rows of about 10 inches wide.

Apply a weak organic fertilizer mix every couple of weeks or so. When watering the plants, keep the soil moist, but not over-watered.

Once the green garlic tops turn yellow-brown, it is time to harvest. Note that if you harvest too early the bulbs will be too small. Harvest too late and the bulbs could split.

As you can see, then, herb growing is quite simple, provided you follow some basic rules.

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