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How to Start an Outdoor Herb Garden

Herb gardens are simple to plant and maintain outdoors. A small amount of garden space, four foot by six foot, can grow enough herbs for a small family. Herb gardens can provide fragrance and color to a bland garden, and these versatile plants can provide seasoning year-round for cooking. Herbs can be cultivated, picked then dried for use during the winter months for masking odors and use in the kitchen. Planting herbs can be a good start for the beginner gardener.

Planting Herbs

Choose the herbs you wish to plant and obtain their seeds or a partially grown plant from a garden supply store. Choose a location for your herbs. Herbs need 6 hours of sunlight and good soil. Loosen the soil using a shovel and rake to provide proper aeration for the herbs. Loosen soil to a depth of 8 to 12 inches. Add compost to the soil if it is dry or if the soil is poor in nutrients.

If planting from seed, keep the seeds indoors in a small amount of soil by the window until the seeds germinate. Keep the soil moist. Once the seeds have sprouted 3 to 4 inches above the soil, place them outside for slightly longer periods each day. This hardens the plant to the outdoor environment.

Plant your seedlings outdoors in the soil. If planting an herb from a container bought at a garden center, dig a hole large enough to hold the entire content of the herbs container. Make sure the soil stays moist for the first week so the herbs take root properly. Place the herbs in the garden so that it fills unused spaces in between other plants to save room.

Lay Out An Herb Garden

Select a site for your herb garden. Most herbs need at least six hours of full sun per day. Herbs typically prefer to grow in nutrient-rich, well-draining soil. Determine the size of your herb garden. The size of the garden depends on how many herbs you want to grow, as well as how tall the herbs grow or how wide they spread. Use a measuring tape to help you determine the exact size of the garden. This will help you visualize your garden as you plan it. For example, draw a rectangle to represent the garden border. Italian herb gardens may include basil, oregano and parsley. Position shorter herbs, such as parsley and marjoram, at the front of the garden, often the south side.

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