Herb Gardening

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The Basics of Herb Gardening

Everybody loves an herb garden. The idea of gathering fresh herbs from the garden to use in the kitchen is so appealing. Imagine the fragrant aroma of chamomile tea; the zing that fresh chopped chives add to a baked potato, and the unmistakable pairing of basil and tomatoes.

Growing Herbs

Herbs are easy to grow, easy to care for, and easy to harvest. Most herb plants grow like weeds, thrive on neglect, and are nearly impossible to kill. Even if you don't have a green thumb, chances are good that you can grow herbs. Besides, it is fun!

If you are fortunate enough to have a patch of land large enough to grow herbs, you can choose from an amazing variety of herbs for your garden. You don't need a very big garden plot to get started, but your plot should be in full sun for as many hours of the day as possible. Most herbs love full sun.

Herb Basket

A fun way to get started is to make an herb basket. Visit a gardening store or nursery and purchase a variety of fresh herbs. Look for diversity in the herbs' height, growth patterns, and leaf color. Basil, for example, comes in green and purple leaves; get one of each for your basket. Purchase five to nine herbs, depending on the size of your basket, in 2" or 4" pots.

Take a flat-bottomed, shallow basket, and line it with a plastic shopping bag that has had several slits cut in it for drainage. Fill the plastic-lined basket with potting soil, and place the herbs in the potting soil, starting in the center with tall plants with an upright habit in the center and spreading or creeping plants around the edges.

Water the basket thoroughly and place it in full sun. Clip herbs as you need them, and water the basket two or three times a week.

Herb Topiary

Topiary is the art of shaping plant material as it grows, often with the aid of a wire form. Several herbs, rosemary among them, lend themselves especially strongly to use in herb topiaries.

Working with topiaries is a specialty niche that attracts enthusiasts from all over the world. Nearly every state or county fair has competitions for topiary art.

Herbs in Containers

Container herb gardening indoors is a great way to grow herbs, although you must be certain that they get enough sun. A south-facing window is usually adequate, although some varieties may lose their vigor over winter when daylight is weak.

Herb Gardening