The keys to a successful herb garden - 02. April 2019

Having fresh herbs available is one of the best feelings when cooking. Growing healthy herbs can be easy if we follow all the right steps. 

MAKING A CHOICE

First of all we need to decide what herbs we'd like to plant in our garden/balcony, even if we live in an apartment there are still many herbs that thrive inside. 

The best way to decide what herbs we want to grow, is to look in our kitchen cabinet and see what are our preferred cooking herbs. 

Know which herbs are annual and which ones are perennial: 

ANNUAL HERBS: basil, coriander, parsely, dill, chervil, camomile, majoram, borage, lemongrass, marigold, rocket. 

PERENNIAL HERBS: oregano, mint, thyme, sage, rosemary, chives, fennel, tarragon, lemon balm, meadow sweet, horseradish. 

POSITIONING

Herbs love sun, so whether you decide to grow them indoors on the window sil, on your patio or in the garden, make sure they get at least half day of sun every day. 

Once you decided where you're going to grow them, you should plan out the positiong of each plant according to their size and height. Consider placing larger plants like, for example, rosemary, towards the back of the raisaed bed/garden space. You need to pay particular attention to mint, because it tends to expand quickly and take over the space of other plants, so it would be best to keep it contained in a pot or confined to a space where it won't create damage to other plants. Keep the smaller plants such as oregano to the front of the bed, so they can be easily accessible and they won't be overshadowed by other plants. 

PLANTING

If you are going to plant your herbs in pots, make sure to create the conditons for good drainage, by placing some rocks or broken tiles on the bottom of the pot, herbs like good drainage, then add potting soil on top of the rock, calculate the quantity according to the size of the plant and finally, after having torn apart the bottom of the root system place your plant in the pot and cover with soil up to the level of where it was when it was in its container (where the plant ends and the roots start). Remember to lightly press down the soil around the plant, but not too much and to finish, water the newly planted plant. 

GROWING FROM SEED

If you decide to grow your herbs from seeds, then April and May are the busiest months. If you're sowing before the 15th of May it is best to sow your herbs in small containers and keep them indoors to avoid the last night frosts. However some herbs such as chervil and dill do not perform well when transplanted so it would be best to wait a little longer and to sow them directly outdoors. 

MAINTAINANCE

Regularly water your plants, to know how much water to give, regularly touch the soil and when it feels dry it means that the plant needs water. 
For plants that grow fast such as basil and mint, you need to remember to pinch them back by taking off the top two or three inches, every now and then, by doing so you send signal to the plant to produce new growths.