How can I grow Herbs in my Garden?
Composting the soil well always reaps benefits. Add one spade of compost for every two spades of soil when digging over the bed in preparation for planting. This will improve your soil's texture and will help to provide nourishment for your herbs.
You can buy herb plants from your local nursery for convenience or you can grow them yourself. Economical seed packs of any of your favourite herbs will be easily available. Sow the seeds in trays on a fine potting mix or in a well-prepared outdoor seed-bed and cover with just enough soil to cover the seeds. Water gently and well.
Seed sown in trays can be soaked from below in a tub of water filled to just below the level of the soil in the tray. This gentle method ensures long lasting moisture, and your seeds stay where you put them! I like sowing in trays (seed tray on amazon), since it's easy to keep the soil moist by covering the tray with a plastic bag that allows water to be retained. The seed tray may stay moist for as much as a week!
Whatever you do: remember that seed in the germination phase should never be allowed to dry out. As the plantlets germinate and begin to grow, watering can gradually be reduced. As soon as your seeds begin to come up, remove any covering and wait for them to get real leaves (the first two leaves are seed lobes or cotyledons) and then gently lift them from the soil with the aid of a sharp stick whilst gripping one leaf softly between thumb and forefinger.
Press a hole in the soil where you wish the seedling to grow and lower the root into it before pressing the soil gently to secure the plant. Water well! Planting from seed trays to small pots before planting in the garden will ensure better transplant success. Grow annual herbs like Basil, Coriander (Danja), Parsley, Comfrey and Rocket from seed. Of these, Basil and Rocket are the most likely to succeed when planted directly where they are to grow.
You can also grow herbs like Mint and Lemon Grass from root divisions. If you have a friend with mint plants in their garden, just ask for a piece with some roots, and you'll be amazed at how quickly the plants grow. Be sure to plant mint in a moist place such as near the garden tap, as it loves water!
You can ask for tip pieces of perennial (plants that grow for more than one year) herbs like Marjoram, Thyme, Rosemary and Sage from friends. Cut off some of the lower leaves and plant pieces 3 5cm long in a good water-retaining potting soil, Keep moist until rooted. Usually, you will begin to see new growth on cuttings that have begun to root. You'll never believe how easily you can propagate your own herb plants!
Most herbs are relatively pest free since most garden bugs prefer plants that don't have a strong smell. In fact, if you end up with surplus, it can be well-worthwhile making a tea with your strongest-smelling herbs that will help to repel insects from your less fortunate garden plants.
Once your herbs are established, they will tend to seed themselves to a large degree and you'll end up with more Basil and Rocket that you ever planned for if you're not careful! No harm done: Share with your friends and neighbors! Enjoy the bounty!
Amazon.co.uk Book: A Review on Amazon: A very well illustrated and informative book about all kinds of herbs and their use in medicine, pet care, cooking and even household use. A real gem! I can't wait to step out and start growing some of them in my own garden.
Hedgerow Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies : A Review on Amazon for this book: Excellent book - extremely helpful and covers some of the folklore that seems to be missing from everyday life now. Have tried some of the rememdies and they have worked brilliantly. Wholeheartedly recommend this book for anyone wanting to learn or know more about medicine that is just so readily available!
Edited by: Rajesh Bihani ( Find me on Google+ )