How to Grow Herbs

How to Grow Herbs

How to Grow Herbs

In this article, we share a comprehensive guide to growing herbs at home.

One of the most rewarding parts of having a garden is the abundance and easy availability of fresh herbs. Afterall, fresh herbs add a transformational punch to any meal, far superior than their dried counterparts. Not to mention most herbs are easy to grow and take up little space in your garden. Many herbs also make great companion plants that can help repel pests and improve the health of your plants.

Propagating Herbs by Cuttings

While you can purchase herbs in any nursery and even supermarkets, they are also easy to propagate by cutting. Most herbs make good candidates for this method, especially all that are in the mint family (Lamiaceae).

1. Take a fresh cutting about 6” long of healthy growth free of any disease.
2. Place this in a small jar or cup full of clean filtered water.
3. Wait 2-4 weeks until roots develop.
4. Once rooted, place cutting in loose soil well amended with worm castings. Keep soil moist, adding a fine mulch can help reduce evaporation.
5. Alternatively, you can skip steps 2 and 3 and root directly into soil. This often works better for woody herbs like rosemary.

     

    Sweet Basil Quick Guide Information

    Common Name: Sweet Basil

    Scientific Name: Ocimum basilicum

    Family: Lamiaceae

    Life Span: Annual or Short Lived Perennial

    Optimum pH: 6.0 - 7.5

    Planting and Maintenance

    Basil does great in pots and may be a better option in extremely wet climates or clay soils with bad drainage. Alternatively, you can plant basil directly in the soil. Basil prefers warmer weather but can be planted outside in the spring 2-4 weeks after the threat of last frost. Amend soil with worm castings to help stimulate vigorous growth.

    Basil flowers should be cut back as they develop to help promote vegetative growth. Regular harvesting is also beneficial for the plant, so don’t be shy! If you have too much Basil, making a pesto is a great option for preserving. Try to harvest from the inside to promote airflow and reduce compact growth. After flowering plants will reduce in vigor and no longer produce in the same way. At this point you will need to renew your plants. If you are experiencing rot or seeing signs of disease on the foliage you can cut back your plant and wait for new growth.

     

    Oregano Quick Guide Information

    Common Name: Oregano

    Scientific Name: Origanum vulgare

    Family: Lamiaceae

    Life Span: Perennial

    Optimum pH: 6.0 - 8.0

    Planting and Maintenance

    Oregano does best in warm weather, full sun, and should be planted in the spring 2-4 weeks after the last frost. In climates with mild winters oregano can grow as a perennial. Oregano can be overwintered in some cases by cutting it back and covering it with 5-10 cm of mulch. Cut flowers back to promote vegetative growth and vigorously.

     

    Rosemary Quick Guide Information

    Common Name: Rosemary

    Scientific Name: Salvia rosmarinus

    Family: Lamiaceae

    Life Span: Perennial

    Optimum pH: 6.0 - 7.5

    Planting and Maintenance

    Rosemary originates from the dry Mediterranean climates. It enjoys well drained soils and full sun. Rosemary can grow great in larger pots and is an excellent option in areas with clay soils. Rosemary doesn’t require much maintenance, but proper harvesting can help promote better growth. In general, it is best to harvest tender shoots and avoid cutting woody growth. You can prune the plant from the centre to promote access to sunlight.

     

    Culinary Sage Quick Guide Information

    Common Name: Sage

    Scientific Name: Salvia officinalis

    Family: Lamiaceae

    Life Span: Perennial

    Optimum pH: 6.0 - 7.0

    Planting and Maintenance

    Sage is another perennial herb adapted to hot and dry climates. It should be planted in the spring in full sun after threats of frost. It prefers well drained soils and does well in pots or raised beds. In the winter it will have to be protected from cold weather and frost. Powdery mildew is common on Sage when planted in an area with not enough sun or too much moisture. In this case you can prune the plant to promote more airflow or move it to a new location.

     

    Mint Quick Guide Information

    Common Name: Mint

    Scientific Name: Mentha sp.

    Family: Lamiaceae

    Life Span: Perennial

    Optimum pH: 6.0 - 7.5

    Planting and Maintenance

    Mint is a great herb to have in your garden. It’s great in teas and can also be used in a variety of dishes. It is a low growing perennial that spreads through its roots. Contrary to the other herbs discussed in this article, mint loves moist soils and does well in partial sun. Mint doesn’t require much maintenance but does well from regular harvesting. It is best to harvest sprigs and not individual leaves. Diseased foliage should be removed.


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