Tips for growing your own herbs

Posted by Miranda Marquit on August 07, 2014 (0 Comments)

I love my herbs. During the summer, all I need to do is head out to the patch outside my back door and find the perfect fresh seasonings. Since I harvest and dry my herbs as autumn draws to a close, I still have my own spices during the winter.

Growing your own herbs can be rewarding, inexpensive, and fun. Best of all, with the right approach, it’s also easy. Here are a few tips for growing your own herbs:

Prepare for your plants

The first step is to prepare for your plants. Make sure you have good soil, whether you plant outside, or in a pot in the house. You should also identify a location that gets adequate sunlight and has good drainage. I like using a raised garden box outside, and, inside, I like pots of different sizes kept near a sunny window (growing inside means fresh herbs year-round).

Figure out what you’ll use

Focus on herbs that you will use the most. I like basil, rosemary, thyme, and oregano, because I use those herbs the most. Also, realize that there are different types of herbs. I love growing lemon thyme because it’s a nice addition to poultry and fish dishes, as well as rice. Mexican oregano is a little spicier than Greek oregano, and can add kick to your food.

Use starter plants

You don’t need to grow from a seed to be successful. Indeed, it doesn’t cost that much more to buy starter plants than it does to buy a packet of seeds, and it’s much easier to get the hang of things if you use starters.

Properly cut your herbs back

Some plants will grow and spread quickly. Oregano and mint are prime candidates for this spread, and thyme can grow quickly as well. Understand this, and get fewer plants to start with.

You should also cut your herbs back early. Make your cuts just above a set of growing leaves on your plant. Making these cuts regularly encourages the plant to keep growing. This is especially true of basil. You want to regularly cut basil, since it can grow to be too tall rather quickly.

Leave large leaves at the base of the plant, since they will gather more sunlight. Instead, focus on cutting leaves closer to the top of the plant. Do a little experimenting with the right way to trim.

Don’t let the flowers get out of control

Pick of the flower buds, or you’ll soon have a plant that is procreating rather than growing. Nothing destroys yield -- especially with basil and oregano -- like flowers. Carefully get rid of flower buds whenever they appear, and you’ll have more leaves.

With planning and care, you can have a great herb garden that spices your life year-round.

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