Tips & Techniques for Growing Herbs

Easy to grow herbs can be planted almost anywhere--in the vegetable garden, flower garden, rock garden or in containers. They grow well in the kitchen, back yard or on the patio. Herbs can be tucked into any sunny, well drained nook or cranny or grown in masses for fragrance and color. Many gardeners use herbs in the landscape as a backdrop for other flowers. Some low growing herbs are used as borders for walks and gardens due to the variety of textures and fragrances.

Weed Control for the Herb Garden

Young herb plants are vulnerable to encroaching weeds, which will easily choke them out. A friable soil, one that will easily crumble in the hand, is a good deterrent for the weeds. After the herb has become established in its new home, add 2 or 3 inches of mulch to further protect the herb plants from weeds.

Best Soil for Growing Herbs

Plant herbs in good garden loam, and they will thrive. Most herbs like a soil slightly more alkaline than neutral. If the pH is less than 7, add a little lime. The soil in the herb garden needs to be well drained. Organic material and sand worked into the soil will improve the drainage.

Fertilizing Herbs

Herbs used most often are parsley, chives and basil. These heavily harvested herbs will benefit from an occasional feeding with fertilizer. Too much fertilizer will cause the herb to have a low oil content. Since the fragrance and flavor of the herb comes from the oil, the added lushness of the foliage that fertilizer gives the herb will not compensate for the oil lost.

Harvesting Herbs

Snip the tops or leaves of the herb while they are fresh and green, before they are in full bloom. Once the morning dew has dried, snip the herb and use. When drying the herb for future use, or as a decoration, hang them upside down or spread on wire racks until completely dry. The dried herb can be crumbled and stored in airtight containers.

Starting Herbs

French tarragon and true oregano are difficult to start from seed. They can be started by cuttings or divisions from other plants. These herbs are also available at most garden centers. Most other herbs are easily grown from seed. Since most herbs have the same requirements to grow, it's easy to grow as many different herbs as you want, or as few as you need in the same area of the garden or in the same container.

Keywords: growing herbs, herb growing techniques, herb garden

About this Author

Patrice Campbell, a graduate of Skagit Valley College, has more than 20 years of writing experience including working as a news reporter and features writer for the Florence Mining News and the Wild Rivers Guide, contributing writer for Suite 101 and Helium, and promotional writing for various businesses and charities.