Herb Garden Background Information
Herb Gardening -Just the Basics
New to herb gardening?-Here is some basic information
THE HISTORY: Herbs gardening is an ancient endeavor. What do I mean by that? If you do your research you will find that references to herbs can be found in ancient Egyptian and Chinese texts. Man recognized from early times that food could be made to taste better with the addition of various herbs. The Chinese were among the first to experiment with herbs for their medicinal value thousands of years ago. Almost all primitive cultures had a “medicine man” who was proficient in the use of various herbs to cure common ailments. Today gardeners are discovering herbs are a great additiion to their outdoor growing endeavors. They are finding that you can grow herbs in the backyard in a small plot or if you live in an apartment you can grow many of them in pots and containers indoors.
THE FUNDAMENTALS: Basically, herbs like sunshine, soil that will drain readily, adequate hydration (water frequently) and a soil that has at least minimal nutrients. The addition of some compost, which is readily available in most garden centers, will usually suffice. Your herb gardening efforts will be rewarded if you can find or create the ideal environment. Like real estate it truly is about location, location, location. I usually recommend a location that has full sun. The only time I would temper that recommendation is if you live in a very hot climate over 90 degrees for regular summer temperatures. I spend winters in Florida, but temperatures are often too brutal in the summer for constant sunlight exposure. In those cases I would look for a location with morning (AM) sun and shade in the mid to late afternoon. I have a chestnut tree in the backyard and it is a good location because it allows filtered light in the afternoon to shine thru on my herb garden.
Your location, if properly chosen, will yield healthy, succulent plants that can be used to flavor your culinary efforts, as a potpourri, and one of my favorites, as a blend for making tea. Additionally, some herb plants will actually discourage harmful garden pests. I have an 8’ x 8’ raised bed herb garden that I constructed and I mix my herbs and various garden vegetables in that location. I raise twelve varieties of herbs along with tomatoes, green peppers, string beans and cucumbers because I have several recipes that use those vegetables with a mixture of herbs. I will be sharing my recipes with you as well as my favorite herbs as part of my herb-growing mini-course. If you have not signed up yet, be sure to do so in the opt-in box to the right of this article.
GETTING STARTED: You can grow herbs from seed by starting them, in the late winter time frame, indoors. Make sure you use a light potting soil that is well drained. As a general rule most herbs have a very shallow root system so don’t plant the seeds too deep. Once the spring temperatures have moderated you can transplant the seedlings to their final location in your herb garden. Because there are a few herbs that don’t transplant well such as dill, fennel, anise and coriander I usually buy these herbs as established plants at a local garden center.