Herbs and spices really do spice up our lives, without them our food wouldn’t be as good and as exciting. The great thing about herbs, though, is that they’re so much more than aids in the kitchen, they also make great teas that help with various conditions, they can repel bugs and even act as room or body deodorants. If you love herbs as much as we do and you have a patch of land to spare, then maybe you should consider growing an herb garden. It’s not too much fuss and we’re here to help you with some tips on how to grow an herb garden. Read on and write it down, because you’ll need it!
10. What are Herbs?
What is an herb, really? Well, the dictionary thinks that any plant with leaves, flowers and seeds that is used for food, perfume, flavoring of medicine should be considered an herb. And by that definition, trees, bulbs, shrubs, seaweed and even fungi fall under the title of herb. It really doesn’t matter what you’re calling herb, as long as you’re enjoying it.
9. Rosemary Beetles
The rosemary beetle you’re seeing in the above picture is a native of Europe and considered a pest in the U.K. Its hosts include rosemary, sage, thyme and lavender. If you are using the herbs for food, avoid pesticide altogether and simply take care of the plants manually and shake the bugs off the leaves and kill them. If you do want to spray your herbs with pesticides, then avoid doing it when they are in flower to protect the darling bees. EverythingBackyard.net has instructions on how to make your own homemade natural pesticide as well.
8. Control Your Mint
Mint (both spearmint and peppermint) are quite invasive, so if you don’t want them to take over your entire garden, you should either grow them in containers or plant them in the shade to minimize their growth. Mint plants basically grow themselves so all you’ll need to do is make sure they don’t overgrow.
7. Choose the Right Coriander
Coriander tends to make seeds as soon as it shoots up and if you want to avoid that and have a little more time with its delicious leaves, then you should choose a variety that is slow to flower, such as the confetti coriander. Sow regularly through the summer and you’ll have fresh leaves for a long period.
6. Herbs in the Shade
Many Mediterranean (in origin, at least) herbs do well in both shade and sun: thyme, sage, oregano, rosemary and basil, but there are some herbs in particular that thrive in the shade. They are parsley and coriander and their leaf production will go on for longer. Also, plant those herbs that tend to be quite invasive in the shade, such as mint and lemon balm.
5. Herbs and Flower Borders
Many herbs belong in the flower border: bronze fennel, chives, parsley. Red orach and angelica make lovely tall plants that protect your gentler flowers. If you want to learn how to grown an herb garden you should start to learn how to blend flowers with herbs.
4. Edible Herb Flowers
Some herbs make such pretty flowers that sometimes you get an urge to eat them right then and there, or at least use them in salads. Here are some herbs whose flowers are edible: borage, sage, anise hyssop, lavender, rocket, pot marigolds, chives, nasturtiums, rosemary and thyme.
3. Germinate Parsley
It’s not easy to germinate parsley and it does take from two to four weeks, so don’t give up on your parsley if you see it has still not sprouted yet. Always make sure the soil is moist, but don’t overwater. Some gardeners believe that putting boiling water over the seed will help it sprout faster, so you can try that too. Transplant seedlings when they are about one inch tall.
2. Cutting Herbs
The herbs that you grow for foliage (lovage, chives, mint) need to be cut after flowering, as to encourage the growth of more shoots. Woody herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage) need but a light pruning to keep their shape and prevent them for turning too woody. This should be done in the autumn or after flowering.
1. Harvesting Herbs
Here’s the best tip you need to know about harvesting herbs: herb foliage is at its tastiest before the plant begins to flower and obviously, set seed. Also, if you want to pick herbs for freezing or drying, you should do the harvesting early in the morning, before it gets too hot outside. Pick regularly and remove flower stalks to encourage the appearance of fresh leaves.
Did you enjoy our tips on how to grown an herb garden? If there is anything more you would like to know about growing herbs or if there’s something you would like to share with us, drop us a line in the comment section below! We love hearing from our readers!