Most Herbs Are Easy To Grow At Home

Garden herbs for your fresh seasons or medicinal purposes without leaving home. Growing herbs is reminiscent of our ansestors who grew their own.

Our American ancestors grew herbs for pharmaceutical use as well as for seasoning. Before the age of refrigeration, herbs were used to cover the strong tastes of meats, as well as general seasoning. We conveniently purchase our seasonings at the local market, however our predecessors grew there own. Theirs were the most potent with unique flavor more than the processed herbs we buy today. Herbs are herbaceous (plants that produce flowers and seed from the same root structure year after year.)

-Most herbs need a sunlit location with at least 6-8 hours of sun per day, which encourage production of oils in the plant, this is of major importance to enhance the flavor. Many herbs will grow adequately in partial shade, however lose some flavor.

-A neutral soil is best for growing herbs; you can probably trust any good loamy garden soil to produce a bountiful harvest. Soil that is very rich may produce an abundance of foliage, which lacks in tastiness.

-Add peat moss to your soil, to retain moisture and improve soil condition. A raised bed provides good drainage.

-Most of the valued herbs do not tolerate damp soils however these few do enjoy moist soil. Lovage, angelica, and mint do well in somewhat moist soil.

-Select a site, remove the top soil, work the dirt loosening the soil down to at least 12 inches. Add organic material. Mix the subsoil with the organic matter, and topsoil.

Controlling insects should not be too much of a problem with herbs; they are noticeably disease resistant nonetheless you might watch for:

1. Spider mites in very hot and dry periods.

2. Aphids will assault anise, caraway, dill, and fennel.

3. Certain circumstances will bring about the assault of grasshoppers, and a few caterpillars.

Grow herbs from seeds, in pots or flats in a sunny window in late winter. Plant after danger of frost is gone. Check seed packages for depth of planting and soil medium. Anise dill fennel seed should be planted directly into the garden since they do not transplant well. Plant outside when all danger of frost is past; sow seeds generally, at a depth of twice their diameter.

In most cases harvesting the leaves of herbs are customary, it could however include other portions of the plants, as in seeds, or roots and flowers. Herbs will last up to 2 years, after that length of time the essence begins to diminish. When the plants have the most essential oils, they will have the best scent or flavor consequently, this is the time to harvest. Harvest in mid-morning when plants are dry and during arid, sunny weather.

When gathering an plentiful crop, place them in a basket that "breathes," plastic bags can cause herbs to decline. Cut the perennial herb back to about ½ of its height, and an annual to a few inches.

Wash the plants, spread on absorbent cotton cloths such as towels, and gently pat them dry. Choose an area for drying that is dark and well aerated, and temperature of no more than 90 degrees. Metal window screens, or frames with netting can be used for drying, cover these with thin porous cloth.

Within a few days perhaps 3-4, the plants should be dried if the weather has been humid you may need to place the plants on a cookie sheet and place them in the oven at 125 degrees for 5-10 minutes before placing in an airtight container for storage.

A few favorite herbs are:

-Basil: Annual several varieties available, Spicy leaves.

-Bay, sweet or Laurel: Evergreen tree that may be picked and dried.

-Chives: Onion like, with light purple flowers, used much like onion with a subtler flavor.

-Lavender: English lavender is the choice although several kinds may be grown. Bushy with small grayish light green leaves. Bluish spikes of flowers. Scent is prominent in the flowers however permeate the entire plant.

-Parsley: A biennial (lasts two years) plant. The foliage is curly, dark green. Everyone has heard of parsley, it is one of the best known herbs.

-Sage: The leaves are elongated with a furry gray-green coating. Grows up to 2 ft. in height and will spread out. Choose from several varieties. Needs a sunny location and well-drained soil.

-Spearmint: Wrinkled leaves, somewhat light green in color. This plant is very tough. Pick the leaves and stems as needed. Delicious in cold drinks.

-Anise: This is a petite annual with notched leaves and small white flowers in even clusters. The taste of anise is somewhat like licorice.

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