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aromatherapy herb uses

how to grow herbs

You decided to start an herb garden? Here are a few tips. Most herbs like full sun (except a few, like mint and lemon balm) and a sweet soil that keeps moist but drains properly. If your soil is acidic, improve it with lime.

If you decide to grow a perennial herb garden, it is easier to start it from seedlings rather than seed, for two reasons. First, some of the perennial herbs, like rosemary and tarragon need to be started from cuttings anyway, germination is not always reliable and very young sprouts are vulnerable to anything from a late frost to dry spells or unseasonably warm weather. Second, starting with fully developed plants gives more control over the overall design and the assessment of proper spacing requirements.

If you are keen on starting herbs from seed, the annuals and biennial herbs are a good choice and will germinate well. Also for the likes of parsley and dill you don’t have to worry about thinning, since they don’t mind growing in compact carpet style.

Herbs are usually grown for foliage and they will seriously cut back on leafing out in order to produce flowers (unlike the plants grown for flowers, which will do the exact opposite in order to annoy you), so if you want, say, your basil to grow fresh succulent leaves, pinch the flowers or it will grow tall and spindly.
Don’t harvest the large leaves that grow around the base of the plant, they are essential to keeping it healthy, they are how the plant stores food and energy. Always harvest the fresh growth, it tastes much better anyway and harvesting new leaves will encourage the plant to make more.

Some herbs, like dill and mint, tend to be invasive, especially in boggy soils. If that is a concern, grow them in containers or restrict their spread by planting them inside buried chimney flutes.

Always grow basil, not only because it is a staple of the kitchen garden, but also because it is easy to start from seed and very sensitive to drought. It will wilt before all the other plants and signal that it’s time to water, and in this way it acts like a home grown living water gauge. Also, tomatoes and peppers taste better if you grow basil next to them.

Herbs don’t need fertilizer. Keep them properly trimmed at all time, otherwise they grow gangly and woody, crowd each other and develop all sorts of diseases, from mildew to black spot.