Starting an herb garden is an exciting activity. Herbs have a rich history and have been referenced in many ancient documents, showing that herbs have been used by most household throughout history. Herbs are easily grown inside in containers or in an outdoor garden. Growing herbs has many benefits: as an addition to dishes to enhance flavor, to make tea, potpourri, or for medical purposes, and also to keep pests in check in outside gardens. There are a variety of herb gardens: for cooking, for medicine, ornamentals, or for multiple purposes.
Types of herb plants include, interestingly, shrubs and trees, as well as annual and perennial plants. A short explanation of these types: annual plants live for one year: they sprout, flower, and die in the same year. Perennial plants live for two years, meaning that after growing and blooming during spring and summer, they die back during fall and winter and return again in the spring.
A key to herb gardens is using soil with good drainage. For compacted or heavy soil types, adding some organic material is recommended. Fertilizers are typically not necessary. While a few herbs grow well in full shade, a sunny location is preferable, and a lot of herbs do just fine with afternoon shade. Interestingly enough, herbs are not often affected by insects or diseases, with a few exceptions: in hot and dry environments, red spider mites can be a pest for low-growing herbs. Anise, caraway, dill, and fennel may be attacked by aphids and mint can be affected by rust.
To grow an herb garden, use a small area in your garden, about 6 feet by 4 feet, which would produce enough for the needs of a small family. Using indoor planters for a home herb garden is also an option. Culinary herbs are a popular herb garden use, mainly to add enhanced flavor to a dish, while other herbs are used as great colorful garnish to plates or salads. Other herbs are grown for their beautiful flowers or the aroma of their foliage.
There are two ways to start an herb garden: from seeds or from seedlings. Growing a plant from seed is a great joy, seeing the process from the beginning to the end. The majority of herbs can be started from seed. Herbs are very useful and growing an herb plant from seed is a rewarding experience. Well-drained, light soil should be used to grow seeds in. Plant seeds in a shallow box or pot toward the end of winter. The seeds should not be covered with too much soil since they do not have a deep root base. A rule to follow is: sow fine seeds in shallow soil. In the springtime, the seedlings can be transplanted to the outdoor garden. Some herbs will not thrive if transplanted, such as fennel, coriander, dill and anise and should be planted directly in the garden.