There’s nothing like an herb garden to perk up your spirit in the morning. Herbs are resilient plants that thrive in rugged conditions, making them an ideal addition to your home garden.
You will wake up every, breathe in the fine air of the morning then snip off a few leaves for fresh spices and condiments for all your meals! Unlike store-brought peppers in shakers, herbs carry a zest that can refresh all your senses for all that you have to do in the day.
If there is no snow or frost, you can plant and harvest herbs easily in your garden. You may be lucky enough to have a patch of land to grow herbs in, but you can also propagate herbs in containers to move them around the house. With the right amount of sunlight and a little bit of diligence, you can ensure yourself of a prolific harvest without waiting for a long time.
Here are five herbs that you can easily grow as a novice or seasoned gardener:
Oregano can tolerate a variety of soils for as long as these soils are well drained. It needs only moderate water and grows best in a gravelly loam in full sun. Too much moisture can be dangerous to oregano. Excessive rain, humidity or overwatering eventually leads to root rot, which kills the plant. Add plenty of organic matter to the soil to ensure better drainage. If too much humidity is a problem, encourage good air circulation by giving your oregano plenty of room to spread and space it wide apart from your other plants.
Basil needs full sunlight for 6 hours a day and a warm climate. Basil can be purchased as seedlings in plugs and pots ready for planting. When it comes time to transplant them, lightly wet the plant in the pot before attempting to remove the root ball from the pot, as this will make it easier. Make sure you dig a hole roughly twice the width and depth of the root ball before placing it in. Again, you want at least 12 inches between each basil plant. Fill the remaining space with soil and lightly compact it by hand, followed by a good watering. Make sure you keep pinching off the flower heads so that the plant will keep throwing out new leaves all season.
Mint seeds take a while to germinate, so it is advisable to root them from cuttings. Mint can thrive in most types of soils for as long as it is well-watered and never dries out. Even without full sun, mint will grow in partial shade. However, mint is a very prolific plant so it is advisable to plant it in deep containers lest it spreads around the garden. Trim and harvest regularly to ensure its flavor for seasons to come. Mint can be used in sweet or savory dishes, or as garnish. It is also a valuable addition to cool beverages like lemonade, mint juleps and mojitos.
You can grow dill from cuttings and set them to root in water. After two weeks, they are ready to be transplanted to your garden.
Dill is a low-maintenance herb. Once it’s very long roots, are established, you won’t need to worry about watering it regularly. However, give your plants a drink if a stretch of dry weather pushes though. As a light feeder, dill won’t require any additional fertilizing. In fact, soil that is too rich in nutrients will lead to less-flavorful dill. To keep your dill from getting too tall or leggy, continually pinch out the top buds. This will make for a bushier plant, giving you more leaves to harvest.
You can germinate sage seeds indoors with good quality potting soil. Although it is slow to germinate, sage will grow surprisingly fast after it is transplanted into the garden. For established plants, peg outer branches into the soil in spring and these will root without any additional effort. Rooting takes about four to five weeks in the summer. Separate these offshoots from the mother plant once these have a thriving root system. You can also start sage from stem cuttings that have been dipped in rooting compound, since sage is not a good candidate for rooting in water. Sage is a wonderful seasoning for many poultry and vegetable dishes.
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