Growing herbs at home is a practical way of saving money. It is also the best way to ensure that you are getting the freshest herbs for recipes and health treatments. Herb plants can really spruce up an outdoor garden, but growing herbs indoors can be just as beautiful and practical. By starting with a basic herb garden, indoors or outdoors, you can enjoy all of the benefits of fresh herbs anytime you like.
Most herb plants are pretty resistant to insects and diseases, and do not require special potting soil or fertilizers to help them grow. In fact, it is advisable that additional fertilizer not be used when growing herbs as they will definitely help herb plants flourish, but their taste will also be diminished. Also, because many herbs originate from warmer regions, they also tend to grow very well in the summer’s heat unlike a lot of other plants that are negatively impacted by heat and dry climates.
Growing Herbs at Home / in a Garden
Deciding to Plant a Basic Herb Garden
Making the decision to grow herb plants is easy enough. You recognize their beauty, you understand their health benefits and you are convinced of the ease in growing herbs, but how can you get started with your own garden? To begin, there are a few terms and classifications that you should be familiar with and that are important when deciding which herb plants to buy, such as:
Annual – Refers to plants like cilantro and dill that sprout from a seed, flower and bear seeds in a season before dying.
Biennial – Term used to describe plants that take two seasons to grow and only flower in their second year.
Perennial – Describes plants like chives and French tarragon, which flower every season. However, some plants are classified as tender perennials, meaning that they may not survive extreme winter conditions and should be treated as annuals.
The next step is deciding which type of herb garden you wish to grow. Do you prefer ornamental herbs that will be aesthetically pleasing? Or would you like to grow culinary herbs for cooking; or medicinal herbs for home remedies and natural cures? Also, consider whether you be growing herbs indoors or outdoors.
Growing Herbs Tips
After you’ve decided on which types you prefer, the following tips are very useful when growing herbs:
- Choose your location wisely. While herb plants can grow in a variety of locations, including in indoor pots, make sure that your plants are positioned to get at least four hours of sunlight each day.
- Select the right soil for your herb plants. Rosemary, thyme and sage are among the only herbs that grow well in very moist soil. Otherwise, most herbs require different soil conditions as long as they aren’t too wet and they can properly drain excess water. If planting outdoors, and proper drainage isn’t available, consider using raised beds or otherwise creating a way for water to drain away from the herb plants. If you are growing herbs indoors, be sure to select pots with proper drainage holes.
- During extremely hot months, adding mulch to an outdoor herb garden helps the soil maintain a proper moisture level.
- Prune the plants by pinching their leaves periodically to encourage them to flourish and to keep dead leaves to a minimum. However, avoid pruning plants during winter and fall months unless dead or diseased leaves are evident.
- Regularly search for and remove weeds that may have infiltrated an outdoor herb garden.
Note that an indoor herb garden will require a little special attention, simply because of their environment. For instance, whether indoors or outdoors, plants that grow in pots tend to become dry faster than plants that grow in the ground. Therefore, be sure to check the soil moisture regularly and expect that, depending on which herb plants are chosen, a potted or an indoor herb garden may need to be watered daily and some may even need to be watered more than once each day.
It is also important to regularly check for mites, spiders and other pests that may be attracted to indoor herb gardens, as they are not exposed to other birds and insects that naturally prey on these pests when outdoors.
Whether you are a novice gardener or you have tons of experience and would like to enhance your garden with herb plants, through careful planning and nurturing you can create a beautiful, healthy garden with relative ease. Because herbs can flourish in small spaces and with very basic nurturing, even those with tight living spaces and even tighter schedules find that growing herbs is easy, practical and fun. In exploring the many types of herbs that can add flavor and variety to dishes, as well as the healing benefits each contains, growing herbs is an exciting activity with a truly positive purpose.