Herb Culture

Herbs in general are very easy to grow. Most are quite free from damage by diseases and insects. A few short rows in the vegetable or flower garden will supply more than enough for the average family.

Keep this in mind when locating herbs in the garden. Group herbs according to light requirements [ full sun or partial shade  ] and locate them in the planting area accordingly.

Choose a soil that is fertile, well drained and loamy for best results. Preferred pH for most herbs is around 6.0 to 7.0. Prepare the soil to a depth of eight inches. Plant perennial herbs in an area which will not be disturbed by future tilling or digging. Herbs that spread by runners, such as the mints, should be given a large area to themselves, or planted in containers. Otherwise, the mints will crowd out the rest of the herbs growing in the area.

Herbs should be started indoors in early spring. April is an ideal month for starting herb seedlings. For tiny seeds, the easiest method is to sow them directly into peat pots filled with seed-starting mix. Fill pots half way with the mix, wet the seed starting mix with warm water. Sprinkle seeds on top. Place the pots in a warm, sunny window or greenhouse. Keep soil surface moist by misting until little seedlings sprout. Perennial herbs may be started from seed or from cuttings of established plants. Some perennial herbs: Rosemary, lavender, chives, oregano, sage, lemon balm, and thyme.

Transplant  herb plants outdoors after all danger of frost is past. Control weeds during the growing season by preventing competition for water and nutrients which are needed by your herb plants. A one inch mulch will conserve moisture. As the mulch breaks down it will add nutrients to the soil. Some organic mulches: pine needles, shredded pine bark, hay, straw, rotted leaves, cocoa hulls, and cedar shavings.

Herb leaves which are to be used fresh may be picked anytime the plant has enough foliage to maintain continued growth.

~ Meadow Walker

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