Gardening for produce can be a really enjoyable hobby, but a lot of people are put off by the amount of work that is needed for both fruit or vegetable gardening. And that may even be the case for you. If so, think about a herb garden for a second. What you get in return might not seem like a whole lot at first, you’ll be able to take pleasure in the constantly available fresh and delicious herbs to bring added flavor to your meals. (What better way than with your own herbs, right?)
Choosing Your Garden Herbs
Before you rush out to the nearest garden store, you’ll need to decide on what herbs you’ll be planting. Which can prove difficult at first, since there’s a huge variety of herbs currently available? But if you do a simple thing, you’ll find the right herbs in an instant. Look in your kitchen as to what herbs you’ve got. Growing those garden herbs yourself will save you money and will be more pleasurable for you. Plus you’ve got the extra benefit of knowing that you’re using fresh herbs. Rosemary, basil, dill, mint, parsley, chives and sage are among the popular ones to be grown.
Step By Step Herb Gardening
You’ve got your herbs, brilliant. Now you’ve got to find a spot ideal for the herbs to live in. Above all things, make sure that there’s enough drainage for the water. If the soil stays saturated of water, your plants won’t have a fighting chance of growing and staying healthy. A quick way of improving the water drainage is digging a foot deep into the ground and placing a layer of crushed rocks. Then replace the soil and you’ve just successfully improved the drainage of your soil. Congratulations!
You’ve picked which herbs, improved the soil’s drainage capacity and you’re ready to go out and get your herbs. Wonderful! But don’t be tempted to get the pricier plants instead of the seeds. In fact, it’s easier with herbs to grow them from the seed up than with any other plant. By knowing this you can save yourself a bit of money by buying the seeds instead of the more mature herbs. Some herbs are known to grow at an enormous rate. Take for example a mint plant. You plant that in an open area and in a matter of days it will have taken over your entire garden. To prevent this, put the aggressive herbs in plastic or earthen pots with holes in the bottom so the soil won’t get saturated.
You’ve picked, bought, planted and grown the herbs, now you think it’s time to harvest them!
Hold on! Not so fast. First, you must know that it’s harmful to the plant if you take away too many leaves. And especially when the plant is a rather young one. You should wait a few months before doing any harvesting whatsoever. This will make the herb stronger and it will make the possibility of a healthy plant a lot better.
After a few months (or by completely ignoring my advice, after a few weeks) you’ve harvested some home-grown herbs. Beautiful! Let’s get them ready to be used in your dishes. First, though we need to dry them. And the quickest way to do that is by putting them on a cookie sheet and baking them in the oven at 170 degrees Fahrenheit for about two to four hours. When they’re dry enough you can use them in your dishes. And the best way to do so is by checking a cookbook for some great dishes you can use them in.
You’ve got too many herbs to use in your dish? Just store them, then! Store them in a glass or plastic container, but don’t put them in a paper or cardboard one. These will rob the herbs from their taste. Also during the first few days, check the herbs regularly to see if any moisture has been piling up. If you see moisture, do the drying process once again. If you leave the moisture then you’ll end up encouraging mildew and I don’t know anybody that likes Mildew.
Last Advice on Herb Gardening
Right now, you’re all set to start off with herb gardening. It’s only an initial investment of effort, in terms of choosing which ones and improving the drainage of the soil. After that, it’s just a matter of harvesting them and drying them. Enjoy your homegrown herbs!