Basic Herb Garden
Basic Herb Garden
Establishing a is something that can be done fairly quickly and easily, depending on where you’re putting the garden, and whether or not you’ll need to prepare the soil bed before planting.
Let’s talk briefly about soil preparation. We won’t go into it extensively here as you can find more detailed information on the page how to plant flowers.
But soil preparation does deserve honorable mention when planning a , as it is one the reasons many gardens fail.
As it is with any project, one of the most important aspects of the project is the preparation. Often times, the actually project doesn’t take that long, but it takes F-O-R-E-V-E-R to prepare to DO the project!
If you’re going to paint a room in your home, for example, you can’t just walk in with a can of paint and slop it on the wall.
Well you can, but the results will be disastrous! You’ll have paint all over the floor, you’ll have to paint right over nails, pictures and shelves, and you’ll probably end up with paint all over the base boards.
If the finished job is going to turn out that poorly, why would you even do it?
Consider plants in the same light. Preparation is 90% of the effort and will determine 90% of the success rate.
Basic Herb Garden Step #1 – Soil Prep
often work best for any garden you’re planning to add to your home.
The soil in your yard, as with most yards, is probably not the type of
soil you are able to grow plants in, or should I say, it’s not the type
of soil that plants THRIVE in!
You may have plants that are
growing in your yard, in your soil, but if you don’t take the time to
amend that soil, only the most resilient of plants will survive.
beds don’t have to actually look like raised beds (the type boxed in
with 2″ X 6″ boards, for example) but they should be ‘raised’ above the
current level of soil that you have in your yard.
You can simply mound up the soil in any area, by at least 6 inches, if not 8 to 12, to create a raised bed.
I would suggest obtaining a ratio of 2:1 of good top soil and organic
compost (or 2 cubic yards of top soil for every 1 cubic yard of organic
compost) for this purpose.
If you do some research in your area, you should be able to find a distributor that can supply both. Soil is
not terribly expensive, and it can be delivered right to your home.
It’s a good idea to lay down 4-6 sheets of newspaper on top of the area that
you want to plant before adding the soil. This will help get ride of
any weeds that are already present, or that may take root.
Definitely lay down the newspaper if you’re adding the top soil to an area that is
already planted, such as a lawn. You’ll want to smother out that growth
before trying to place anything else on top. Otherwise the plants will
just grow right through the soil.
Basic Herb Garden Step #2 – Choose the Plants
While you can certainly start your from seed, I prefer to purchase my herbs as live plants.
I feel the need to see, feel and smell the herbs when I’m
choosing them, and I don’t want to wait around for seeds to germinate
and establish themselves.
Purchasing your herbs from a local garden center, is probably a much better way to go than doing it online. You can ask the garden center staff for any suggestions they may have, and can get a feel for what the herbs will look like.
You will want to pay close attention to how large the herb will get when it is full grown, and whether or not it is an ‘annual’ (a plant that dies completely at the end of the growing season) or a ‘perennial’ (a plant that dies to the ground at the end of the growing season, but one that will bloom again the following year).
Perennials are great because of their ability to come back year after year, but some perennials can get out of control if you’re not careful. Mint, for example, is a perennial herb that will take over your garden if you let it.
Depending on the area, that may not be a bad thing, but nevertheless, you’ll want to know what you’re dealing with.
The following is a list of popular herbs. You will have to know your zone in order to determine which ones are perennials and which ones are annuals.
I’ve got them labeled as ‘P’ or ‘A’ for perennial or annual in zone 5:
It may be beneficial to establish an herb garden that contains both perennials and annuals. The perennials will return year after year, and you can play around with the annuals that you’d like to grow.
Also, pay attention to where you intent to establish your garden as most herbs will need at least 6 hours of sunlight to thrive.
Basic Herb Garden Step #3 – Plant your Plants
Much more detailed information can be found on the page how to plant flowers, with regards to separating tightly bound root systems, digging the hole, etc.
Let’s just get into the basics here for your .
Pop the plants out of their containers and separate the root systems with your fingers. This will help the roots establish themselves in the ground once they’re there.
Dig a hope that is just deep enough to place the plant inside. The top of the soil in the container should be level with the top of the soil once the plant is put into the ground.
Placing a plant too deeply in the ground can smother the plant’s root system, causing it to die.
Before placing your plant in the ground, water the hole. This is particularly
important if the soil that you’re working with is very dry.
This will give the roots a good start at taking in water, and will help encourage a deep, healthy root system.
Once the plant is in the ground, press it firmly into the hole so that there are no air pockets left around the root system.
Place mulch around the base of the plant and water thoroughly.
Again, protect the plant from being smothered by ensuring that the mulch does
not get piled around the base of the plant and stem. Leave just a bit
of breathing room around the stem so that there is some air circulation.
Annuals will need regular water throughout the growing season as their root
systems are very fragile and closer to the surface of the soil.
Perennials, once they are established, tend to have rather elaborate
root systems that can dig down for water even during drying periods.
However, as both of these plants are establishing themselves, they will need a
good amount of water for the first few weeks. When a plant is placed in
the ground, many of the tiny root structures that are responsible for
taking in water are damaged. This limits their ability to take in water
until they can be regrown.
Over the first several weeks start to increase the amount of water you give to the plants in your basic herb
garden, while decreasing the frequency with which you water them. This
encourages roots to dig deeper to find water.
Never overwater your plants, or leave them in standing water. This will kill them faster than withholding water from them.
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