Herb Gardening 101
An herb garden may be a good option if any of the following apply to you:
l you have limited space
l you don’t have a lot of time to devote to gardening
l you’re unable, for physical reasons, to spend a lot of time on your hands and knees
l your garden conditions are less than ideal: poor soil, bad drainage, too much shade or sun (this would require the use of a container garden)
If you want to start small, a container herb garden is the way to go. A few essential elements – the container must have a hole for adequate drainage and be large enough to hold enough soil for mature plants to achieve full growth in. Avoid using black containers in full sun.
Select a soil mixture that drains well but also keeps plants from drying out between waterings. You can mix your own blend of soil with peat moss, vermiculite or perlite, sterile potting soil or composted soil mix, and coarse sand. The pH level for your mixture should be in the 6.0 to 6.8 range, and if it’s not, you will need to add lime to the mix.
Some of the more popular and easy to grow herbs are listed below along with information about each.
Basil: An annual plant, these will need to be replanted each year in the early spring or fall. Germination usually occurs in 7 to 10 days. Has deep red or green foliage and pink flowers. Basil grows well in the garden or as a potted plant.
Chives: This perennial is easy to grow from seed. Germination occurs in about 10 days. When transplanted they wilt slightly. Mature plants grow to 12, inches; space 6 inches apart.
Dill: The seeds as well as leaves are used for flavoring food. Easily grown annual with feathery foliage and small pale yellow blossoms. Grows to 2 ½ feet and germinates in 7 to 10 days.
Lavender: This hardy perennial has grayish foliage and fragrant lavender flowers. Germinates in about 14 days.
Mint: A hardy perennial, mint is probably the easiest herb to grow in almost any climate. Sown indoors seed germinates in 10 to 15 days. Space 12 inches apart.
Sage: This herb is another hardy perennial with beautiful foliage and blue flowers. Germinates in 14 days. Grows to 2 feet and should be spaced 12 inches apart.
Thyme: Leaves are cut for drying before purple blossoms open, otherwise the flavor is changed.