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Growing Herbs is Easy

Let me start this article by admitting that before writing this article I have never actually grown my own garden. At one time I may have assisted my parents by pulling weeds or picking some jersey fresh tomatoes, but the idea of having a garden of my own has always seemed daunting.  This year I decided it was time to face my fears and get my hands dirty.

I decided to start simply. Instead of digging up a whole bed I instead opted for a small pot for which to plant my favorite herbs. Using pots or small containers are great for people who have small or no backyards, or have little time (or patience) for maintenance. I am excited to see my plants flourish and find their way into my food.

Below I have compiled a list of steps for starting your first herb garden. (for visuals click here) Enjoy!

1.Select Your Herbs

There are a wide range of herbs that can be planted in your herb garden. Some popular herbs include Rosemary, Sage, Mint, Basil, Oregano, Cilantro, Dill, Chive, etc. Herb plants can be bought at your local gardening center and sometimes at your local supermarket.  Choose herbs that you are more likely to use.

2.Select The Right Container

Container size requirements may vary based on the herbs you choose. Some herbs, like mint, are aggressive growers. When choosing a container, choose one with holes at the bottom to allow for drainage.

3.Preparing the Pot

Fill pot ¼ with gravel to increase soils ability to drain. Then fill the pot ¾ way with a potting soil, soil from your backyard may be to dry.

4.Start Planting

Remove plants from the temporary container they came in. Gently separate the roots to encourage them to spread once they are planted. Place the individual plants about 15 cm apart or farther depending on the plant.

5.Fill Gaps  with Compost

Once you are satisfied with plant placement fill in between the plants with compost. Firmly push the compost by pushing your fingers deep into the soil. Leave a few centimeters between the compost and the containers rim so that the pot does not overflow when watered.

6.Top the Plants

Cut the tops of the taller plants to encourage growth.

7.Fertilize

Potted herbs require more fertilizer then those planted in the garden. You can either buy a controlled release fertilizer to plant into the soil or you can mix your potting soil with an organic fertilizer prior to planting.

8.Water

The first watering is extremely important. Water thoroughly, until water begins to drain from the bottom of your pot.

9.Place in Good  Sunlight

For best results most herbs require 6 hours of sunlight a day. Refer to the information on your plant identification card for the correct requirements.

10.Maintain

Depending on the weather of where you live how often you need to water your herb varies. The basic rule of thumb is if the soil feels dry it is time to water. This usually means watering every few days but can mean more often if it gets hot.

11. Enjoy

Nothing brightens a dull day up more than tomato sauce made with handpicked basil or  a mojito made from fresh mint.

herbs via shutterstock

 

by Maddie Perlman-Gabel

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