You will find that herbs are fairly easy to grow, as long as you provide them with the basics of soil that drains well, and at least five hours of sunshine and a bit of compost mixed into their soil they should do well. You can grow herbs in all kinds of different containers, in this book we will look into different vertical ways that you might try to grow them. Most herbs like to be in the ground where they can spread themselves out. Some plants can grow to a large size such as up to six feet.
If you put larger plants in pots they will become stunted and become stressed, which in turn can cause them to become unhappy with their surroundings. So when you are growing your herbs make sure you are planting the right size of plant to suit the growing environment it is in. If that is set up properly then you are well on your way to having happy plants.
You need to grow your herbs in the proper location so that they will flourish. Many herbs prefer being in the full sun as long as the temperatures are not going well over 90° Fahrenheit. If you have warm summers in your area, then you might want to plant your herb garden in an area that gets morning sun and afternoon shade. Or you might want to setup your herbal garden in an area that receives filtered shade, this could perhaps be under a tree. Just try and set up your herbal garden in an area that will get at least five hours of sunlight.
When it comes to planting herbs you are going to need about one to four feet in diameter for each of your plants depending on how large the type of plant tends to grow. Below are some guidelines for herbal plant sizes:
One Foot- Parsley, Chives, Dill, Cilantro Two Feet- Savory, Tarragon, Thyme, Basil Three to Four Feet- Oregano, Marjoram, Sage, Mint, Rosemary
Once you have gotten past the stage of growing your wonderful herbal garden it is now time to take a step further in learning how to harvest and preserve your herbs so that you and your loved ones can continue to enjoy them through the winter months—happy preserving!
Time to Harvest Your Herbs
When it comes to harvesting your herbal garden it is very important to get the timing right for this. It is always a good idea to choose a nice cool morning to do this. Plants that are covered in dew are going to take longer to dry, thus extending the drying time. When you are harvesting your herbs always choose to do this early in the morning, right after the dew has evaporated from your plants leaves and before the sun has had time to warm your plants up. What gives your herbs the lovely aromas and smells is essential oils.
When these oils are exposed to heat they can lose their quality and evaporate. In order to get the best flavor from your herbs harvest them before the flower buds open. With your perennial herbs just harvest them lightly in the first year. Give your plants some time to get themselves established and growing vigorously, then you can go ahead and harvest two-thirds of their foliage at one time. In the fall cut back your harvest to one-third, this will give your plants a month or two to gather strength before frost hits.
Obviously annual and biennial herbs have only limited season for growth, so you are going to want to harvest as much as you can before the frost kills your plants. Once you have gotten established plants you can harvest throughout the growing season, removing half of their growth at a time.
This pruning will help to encourage new growth in your plants. By clipping your plants just above a leaf junction this is going to encourage bushy growth in your plants. When it is time to cut your annual herbs before the frost hits, make sure to cut them right to the ground before frost strikes.
When you are harvesting bushy plants such as basil make sure that you harvest from the top of the plant. With plants such as chervil or parsley cut off the outer leaves first. Take the herbs that you have gathered and swish them in cold water to clean them. You can then allow them to drip dry or use a towel to pat them dry. Now your herbs are all set to preserve.