How to Maintain an Herb Garden

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If your herb garden is thriving, you can ensure that it will stay that way by taking a few precautionary measures at the end of each growing season. Here are some pointers on maintaining your herb garden year-round.

Step 1

Remove sickly looking plants and stems from your herb garden. Cultivate around the plants, or use organic mulch to protect the soil over a larger area. Because lawn cuttings can be too absorbent, use gravel when mulching herbs, such as lavender, thyme or rosemary, that thrive in drier soils.

Step 2

Water mint, chives or basil, and any herbs that are in small containers, but only minimally unless the weather is very dry. For herbs planted in the ground, use about half of the amount of water that you would use for other plants, as herbs are drought-resistant and are able to withstand drier conditions better than damp ones.

Step 3

Create your own non-toxic pesticide for your herbs by picking leaves from plants that are unaffected by pests--mint plants are a good example--and boiling them in three parts water to one part herb. Allow the mixture to stand for 15 minutes, then let it cool, and strain it through a piece of cheesecloth. Pour the mix into a spray bottle and spray on affected plants. Store the spray for up to a week for reuse, then make a new batch, if needed.

Step 4

Bring frost-vulnerable herbs, such as bay, lemon verbena, scented geraniums or rosemary, indoors during cold winters. If replanting them every year is an inconvenience, you can keep them potted for easy transport.

Step 5

Cover frost-resistant or perennial herbs with a thick layer of mulch, including tree branches, leaves, straw or newspaper, when the ground freezes. Leave the covering on the herbs until the danger of frost has passed in your seasonal zone. To prevent rot, check on the herbs in mid-April, and uncover them on sunny days when new growth appears. Recover them on cold nights to prevent freezing.

Things You'll Need

  • Pots
  • Organic mulch, newspapers, branches, clippings
  • Plastic spray bottle

Who Can Help

  • More on Herb Gardens
  • More Helpful Hints on Herb Gardening
Keywords: herb, garden, maintaining, gardening, growing

About this Author

Tammy Quinn McKillip is a writer living in New York City. Since graduating from Columbia University in 1999, she has written extensively about pets, parenting, theatre, design, health and environmentalism. She is the publisher and editor of "Macaroni Kid," an events newsletter and site for parents on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

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Article provided by eHow Home & Garden | How to Maintain an Herb Garden