An Introduction to Home Herb Gardens

Although the use of herbs seems to have exploded in recent times due somewhat to the trendy cooking shows of today, Herbs actually go back quite a bit further than most people think. Look in the bible and you will find they were quite the household staple. There are also many herb references especially those used in healing which are reported throughout some of our most ancient civilizations.

Herb growing is not limited just to gardeners and chefs as there are many, many uses and purposes for herbs. From flavoring food to medicinal treatment, decorative gardens or even partnering them up with specific plants in your garden to fight pests there really is no end to the use of herbs. They can be used fresh or dried if you prefer.

There are many ways to grow your herbs and this can vary depending on what you will be using them for. For cooking, from a few of your favorites growing in an indoor garden, or a small pot just outside your windowsill to fully fledged, multiple variety garden plots in your yard! Also do not disregard the decorative beauty of many herb varieties which look (and smell) great especially when in flowering stages.

Herbs love and thrive on quality well drained soil and apart from that, they are pretty hardy and don’t require a lot of preparation. Depending on the variety they can be grown as shrubs, trees, annuals and perennials. Due to their pest controlling properties, herbs are hardly ever affected by diseases or insects. There are a few exceptions however they mainly occur in extreme weather conditions or a few low growing varieties. Again, it depends on the herb variety as to whether they love the sun, which most do, or those “softer” types that prefer the shade!

Herb seedlings and established herbs can be found in any nursery and even many supermarkets of today however the true joy of herb growing (and of course any home grown product) is to plant from seeds. If you have the time, care and interest, nothing beats the satisfaction from taking a single seed and planting it, nourishing and caring for it until it is ready for use as a fully matured, fresh herb. In this age of growing your own and “green” ideals, it is also great to do your bit for the environment by growing your own food. You will also find the variety of herbs available as seeds is much greater than what you can buy ready-made and you can take advantage of some very old heirloom varieties that you just can’t buy already growing.

To grow your own herbs from seed is relatively easy but there are a few tips to follow: Use a good quality, well drained soil in either seedling trays or shallow pots. Herbs roots don’t have much interest in growing deep so make sure when you sow them, you don’t cover them too deep. A general rule of thumb is the finer the seed, then the shallower you must sow it. The best time to plant is nearing the end of winter. You can then “prick them out” for full outdoor planting in the spring. You can grow the majority of herb varieties from seeds however some of them like dill and coriander don’t like the transplant process so these are best planted straight into the ground or directly into their permanent pots.

A Home Herb Garden in Your Backyard

A home herb garden grown right in your own backyard can be a source of immediate relief in times of medical contingency. I will outline how you can cultivate your own herb garden at home. Are you ready? Okay, let’s start the ball rolling.

Let’s first discuss how to cultivate a home herb garden outside your home. You can put up your garden either in the backyard or in the front yard; the location would entirely depend on you. Of course, you must also consider how many herbs you are going to plant.

A typical kitchen garden measures 20 by 4 feet. This is the kind of herb garden that cook Jamie Oliver uses in his TV shows. Here, the ideal plot is around 12×18 inches in area. It also helps that you separate the seasonal herbs from the perennial ones.

When you are planting herbs or any plant, you should consider if the area can provide ample drainage. Your home herb garden must neither be too wet or too dry. A garden that is too wet will drown your herbs. Obviously, you know what will happen to a dry garden.

Here’s a tip to improve the drainage of your garden at home. Remove the soil to a depth of 18 inches and on its place, put a 3-inch layer of crushed stone then mix in with compost. Then refill with the excavated soil.

Once your garden grows a little bit thick you must trim the branches. Some herbs only need to have their branches divided, others require some careful cutting. Lavender is a plant that needs cutting, while mint is a good example of a herb which is merely divided.

Just like people, herbs also need winter protection. If you don’t want your herbs to wither and die during this period, then follow this useful tip: Cover your beloved herbs with oak leaves, straw and evergreen boughs so they won’t heave during storms.

How to Have a Superb Home Herb Garden

You don’t need to be an editor at Better Homes and Gardens to have an amazing home herb garden. It’s really not that hard to accomplish. While you may think that you need to be a world class botanist, growing a home herb garden is one of the easiest types of gardens you can grow.

Growing a home herb garden is rewarding in so many ways. Research has shown that gardening can help people recover after a long illness, such as cancer. Studies continue to be performed, but researchers are trying to find out why it is that people recover faster if they participate in an activity that has them communing with nature, such as having a home herb garden. If your home herb garden is outside, you will also benefit from receiving a dose of vitamin D from the sunlight. It’s been estimated that a large percentage of adults do not receive enough of this vitamin, due to the fact that most people now spend the majority of their time inside buildings.

So now that you know why you should have a home herb garden, how do you have an herb garden that your neighbors will envy? Well there are a few things you can do to help your home herb garden along.

The first thing you can do is decide whether you will start your herb plants from seed, or if you will purchase seedlings from your garden center. Opinions on this differ, and really it’s a matter of personal preference. You can start your own seedlings with little effort, just by getting a special tray that works like a small greenhouse. This will give you a little more control over your plants than if you just get them at the store.

Once you’ve made the choice about whether or not you will start seeds or buy seedlings, then you should look at the containers you will plant them in and your potting soil. Be sure that you’re pots allow drainage to avoid drowning your plants, as herb plants can be quite sensitive to over watering. The best all around pot for herbs is the style that has holes in the bottom for drainage, but sits in a saucer like tray. This way the plants can absorb the water that they need when they need it, since plants use water from the roots up. You can find these at a very low price for the basic plastic styles. You should also use a high quality potting soil. Regular old top soil just won’t cut it. Most potting mixes have fertilizer and plant food in the mix, which is vital for potted plants. Some even have special fibers in the mix that help water the plants more evenly.

Having a home herbal garden can be rewarding physically as well as emotionally. Not only is gardening good for you, but you’ll end up with beautiful herbs to add flavor to all your dishes without adding things like fat, cholesterol and sodium. So give herb gardening a try and see if you don’t find it enjoyable as well.