Thursday, November 7, 2013

Start to Grow Herbs Today

Why not start growing your own fresh herbs? Mainly, because fresh herbs are so much better than the dried ones you buy at the grocery store. For one thing they are stronger so their flavors are better. You will notice that difference immediately.

There are other reasons to take the plunge of growing them. For example, there is cost. The dried herbs you buy at the grocery store are at best a bit costly. Also, the longer that you have these dried herbs sitting on your shelf, the less potent they become. Dried herbs have an average shelf life of just one year. With fresh herbs, you always have them on hand and you can rely on their potency.

Two more reasons to grow fresh herbs are: 1.) it is a learning experience; and 2.) it is fun. You will learn how easy it is to grow your own herbs, indoors or outside. Also, you will learn new ways to use the herbs you grow as well. Actually, you will experience the joy of planting your herb, watching it grow, harvesting its leaves, seeds, or roots, and learning how to use them often in many different ways.

You can get started immediately regardless of whether or not you have space in a yard that you can use for an herb garden. How? Simply start an indoor garden. The good news is that you don't have depend on the weather, either. You begin anytime you choose. So, follow me along and I'll show you how.

The first thing to get started is to select where you will have your indoor garden. Do you have a sunny window location that you can dedicate to it? If you don't have such a location, that's o.k. You can use a grow light.

Once you have determined the site for growing herbs, you need to select which ones you plan to grow. My suggestion for beginners is to start small. Plan to grow only three or four different herbs. Once you have success with growing and using them, you can select others to add to your garden.

How do you select the herbs to grow? Ask yourself, "what are my favorites?" Usually, beginners will select three or four from this list.
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Thyme
  • Mint
  • Sage
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • French tarragon
  • Dill
  • Lemon balm
  • Lavender
  • Lemon verbena
  • Chervil
  • Cilantro
  • Marjoram
  • Savory
  • Bay
  • Fennel
  • Lovage
  • Oregano
The more popular ones are basil, chives, parsley, thyme, French tarragon, rosemary and mint. Years ago, as a beginner, I started with basil, thyme, rosemary, and mint.

Next, you'll need to buy three or four pots for planting. The size of the pots will depend on the size of the herb plant and the space you have chosen for them. Be sure to get a pot big enough for each plant. Also, be sure to get some saucers to go under each pot. The saucers will capture any excess water from the pots when you water the plants.

There is one elegant solution to pot selection. That is to find one big pot with pockets for each herb. That way the plants share the same pot and soil, but each have their own space in which they can grow. And often there are more pockets than the number of herbs you plan to grow. So, you have spare pockets to add different herbs later. Or you could use them all immediately. Just plant several of the pockets with the same herbs from the three or four you select.

Then, fill these pots with a good potting soil. Find a potting soil that drains easily and has plenty of good nutrients in it. Generally herbs do not like to have their roots kept in moisture because many of them experience root rot when their roots are left in standing water. That is the reason that the potting soil should drain easily.

If you don't have a sunny location for your herb plants, buy a grow light. There are several inexpensive ones available. You can buy a fluorescent tube type, or a round reflector with light bulb type. Whatever the type of grow light you buy, be sure, also, to purchase a timer. Set the grow light's timer to remain on for 14 to 16 hours a day. Thus, the timer is the best way to ensure that your plants get sufficient light each day. The grow light is turned on and turned off on a regular schedule.

You can start to grow herbs either from seed or plants. When you want to start herb plants from seed, one of the easiest ways to do it is by purchasing an herb kit. These kits usually come with everything you need to get started -- seeds, pots, soil and instructions for how to get going. It does take you longer to get to the point where you can begin harvesting from your herb plants, however.

It is much easier to start with small plants which can be found at a local nursery or on the internet. Also, herb plants are not available year round, especially during the fall and winter months.

Once you have the herb plants, the pots and the potting soil, you're ready to begin you new garden. Fill the pots to within two inches of their tops. Carefully dig a hole wider than the roots of the herb plant you are potting. Pour a small amount of water in the hole and let it settle. Carefully remove the herb plant from its small nursery pot. Then, gently place the herb plant's roots and attached soil into the hole. Gently fill in around those roots and press the soil gently but firmly down. When finished, water the plant until water starts to come out onto the saucer under its pot. Then, stop immediately. Remember this procedure and use it each time you water your herbs. It is important not to overwater them.

Other important factors to keep in mind when growing herbs indoors are air temperature and air flow. The ideal temperature for growing herbs indoors is between 60 to 70 degrees. Also, be sure there is good air circulation in the room where you grow them.

Keep in mind, too, that the air inside is much drier than the air outside. So, you need to check your herbs frequently to be sure whether or not they need to be watered. If the soil in the pots is dry to the touch, then water them. Remember to water them only until the water begins to drain out of the pot onto the saucer below it. Then, stop immediately.

Also, at least once or twice a week, use a bottle sprayer filled with water and spray your herb plants. This action will protect them from the dry air indoors and refresh them.

When you start an indoor garden from small plants, you will be able to harvest herbs from your garden within a few weeks of starting. When you are ready to harvest, just snip the tops of your plants and use the leaves from them. This action will stimulate your herb plant's growth and give you more to harvest for use later.

In this article, I have shown you how you can start to grow your own herbs immediately. I have walked you through the process for getting the materials you need to get going and shown you exactly how to start an indoor herb garden, today.

Sanford H Kirkland is the owner of SHK Enterprises, LLC, the operator of the website Plant Your Herbs. He has been growing, using, and learning about herbs for the past 39 years and is an At-Large Member of the Herb Society of America. Want to learn more about growing herbs indoors? Then, visit the Plant Your Herbs website, today.

Article Source:

No comments:

Post a Comment