How To Grow Herbs
Herbs are one of Eden’s wonders that can bring delightful taste to your table causing family and friends to keep coming back for more of those scrumptious meals, I have been cooking for almost 30 years and most of those years I have used herbs since the day I got introduce to them. So we will be looking at these fascinating wonders of nature and how we can grow them out of our backyard and how they can make us healthier.
For me basil tops the list I use a few leaves from this herb in soups or when I am steaming foods, you can visit your nursery and purchase the seed or you can buy the plant itself, If growing from seed it will be of great benefit of purchasing garden soil. When planting from seed make sure that the seeds are not pressed too deeply into the soil, plant basil in an area where it can get enough sunlight about six hours is sufficient, make sure that the soil does not dries out completely, water more in hot weather.
Brings a delightful taste to the many dishes that I have prepared, they can be added to salads, soups, steam foods or even when cooking rice. These herbs can be found at your nursery, they can be purchased as seed or can be bought as a plant. Plant herbs in a location where they can get about six hours of sunlight If purchasing from seed remember when planting make sure that the seeds are about one or two inches deep in order for the seed to germinate. These herbs should be planted in good garden soil, chives can be planted year round but they are planted mostly in the fall and the spring. Make sure that the soil does not dry out completely water more in hot weather.
Thyme can give that BANG when cooking, the flavor of thyme is so awesome. I like to use them in soups, gravy and when cooking rice. Choose a sunny location to plant these herbs and make sure that the soil is a good drain soil, thyme hates wet feet so as an added benefit it is good to add compost, organic matter or sand to the planting site. Seeds can be purchased from your nursery, growing thyme from seeds can be a bit of a challenge but with the right care, you can have success.
Plant seeds in early spring, seeds should be planted about 3-6 inches apart with 8-16 seeds in each planting hole. Seeds will germinate in 1-12 weeks. Once the plant reaches 4-6 inches high you can transplant them.
Rosemary has such a strong flavor that care should be taken with the number of leaves that you use, the taste of
rosemary has such a pleasant taste this herb can wake up just about any dish. I like to use a combination of rosemary, chives, basil, and garlic when baking my turkey and the taste is just out of this world.
Choose a sunny location, make sure the soil is a well loamy drain soil. Rosemary succumbs quickly to root rot so do not over water, it is best to purchase this herb from your nursery when they are about 4-6 inches and transplant them to the site that you prepared for them. Wait for about 4-6 months before picking any of the leaves. Once the plant has matured to this point it is ready for harvest.
Entering the wonderful world of garlic. This herb can take your dishes to the next dimension but be careful when cooking with this herb. Garlic can be overpowering, again choose a sunny location and make sure and add compost or organic matter to the soil too. With a pitchfork, loosen the soil while you are incorporating the organic material.
Plant each glove or each plug 4-6 inches apart and about 2-3 inches into the soil. Make sure that the soil does not dry out completely when watering, garlic shoots should emerge from the soil in a couple of weeks. Once a month you can add some blood and bone meal to enhance crop yield. Your garlic is ready to harvest when the long shoots began to turn yellow and brown then withers and fall back to the ground.
Mint has a very delightful aroma its just amazing the kind of aroma that this herb gives off, mint can be used in many dishes that we prepare, even boiling the leaves to make a nice pleasant cup of tea.
In fact in supermarkets mints can be found in tea bags, mint candies, peppermint to help with upset stomach etc… so it is amazing the many products that are made from this herb.
Plant mint in full sunlight with a good drain soil meaning soil structure should be as such that soil does not hold excess water. It would be good to add some compost to the soil, also mint can spread and overtake other planting sites, so make sure and give this herb plenty of room to grow.
If you are planting seeds make sure and plant seeds from 1-2 inches in the soil. Seed germinate in about 12-16 days Or you can purchase the herbs from nursery or garden centers and transplant them in your garden area. When transplanting only the root ball should be in the ground. From the stem up should be above ground.
mint prefer a ph range of 5.6 -7.5 or 6.5-7.0 so make sure that your soil ph is in this range for success.
Water regularly but don’t over water, allow the soil to dry out between watering then give plants a good soaking again. Orange spots on the back of mint leaves are caused by a rust. If this happens, use an organic garden dust.
Most common pest to watch out for are aphids, mealybugs, and spider mite. You can control these pests by using a simple mixture of dish liquid and water, about a teaspoon of liquid to a gallon of water shake mixture well and add to spray bottle.
Spray entire plant make sure to get the undersides, allow mixture to sit on the plant for about 2-3 hours then rinse off with fresh water. Repeat this at 7 days intervals if need until insects is brought under control.
Parsley is famous for its use for decorating dishes. Many years ago I worked in a restaurant and one of the things that I would see the chefs and cooks do at times was to add this nice, healthy, green herb to add color to those delicious meals they prepared.
Parsley is also used to add flavor to dishes such as soups, salads etc….
Location to plant parsley should be full to partial sun, Parsley prefers organic good drain soils, the soil ph range for parsley is around 6.0-7.0. When planting these herbs space plants about 9-12 inches apart.
If planting seeds you should put about 3-4 seeds per hole and plant anywhere from 1/2 – 1 inch in the soil. Water on a daily basis. Allow plants to dry out between watering and then give your plant a good soaking. Parsley seeds will germinate in 21 -28 days.
Use mulch to keep weeds down, keep the soil cool, retain water and as the mulch breaks down nutrients will be added to the soil.
Disease problems are low, insects to watch out for are mealy bugs, aphids, and spider mite. Just follow instruction on how to control these pests, using a homemade remedy that is found in the section on growing mint.
Oregano has a strong flavor and is used in many Italian and Mexican dishes which can really add that WOW too many meals that are prepared. Plant this herb in full sun. Plant seeds in a good drain soil, after the soil has, warmed up from the winter frost.
Seeds should be planted at a depth of 1/2 -1 inch in the soil. If you are planting from cuttings install plants about 8-10 inches apart mulch is not needed because this plant also makes a good ground cover and can hold down weeds.
Allow oregano to grow to about 4 inches then begin to pinch plant. Regular pinching or trimming will not only cause this herb to get fuller but will also cause this plant not to get leggy.
Water plants regularly but don’t overwater allow the soil to dry out and then water again. In order to get the best result from your plant thin out after they reach 3-4 years old in early spring. A common disease of oregano is root and stem root so it would be good to monitor your watering methods.
Pest problems consist of mealy bugs and aphids. Follow simple homemade remedy that is found in the section on how to grow mint.
Growing Bay Leaf
Bay leaf is good for use in foods such as peas and rice, here in the Bahamas peas and rice is one of our favorite dishes. Bay leaves can be also used in steam foods, Bake foods stews, soups etc…Bay leaves have a very good flavor.
When planting bay leaves install in a sunny location because bay leaves love full sun. Bay leaves also loves a good rich well drain soil so it would be good to add some compost to the soil. When planting bay leaves gave it plenty of room to grow. Bay leaves can grow very wide.
When planting ensure that the planting hole is two times that of the root ball. Don’t plant too deeply, the ball from the base of the plant should be in the ground from the stem up should be above ground. Backfill and firm the soil around the plant.
Adding mulch will help keep weeds down, retain moisture, adjust soil ph and as the mulch breaks down it will add nutrients to the soil. When watering plant give it a good soaking then allow the plant to dry out before watering again.
When placing mulching make sure and keep the mulch 1-2 inches away from the tree trunk. Make sure when spreading mulch it’s about 2-3 inches thick.
Best time to harvest bay leaves is after they are a few years old. Make sure that the leaves are dry before use because fresh leaves can be bitter. You can dry leaves by putting them in a bottle with the lid tightly sealed.
Sage is used in salads, stews, soups, to season meats and also to make tea. When planting sage it is best to plant in full sunlight Sage grows best in a soil that is a rich loamy soil, however, sage can tolerate a wide range of well drain soil. It would be best to add some compost.
Sage can grow as tall as 3 ft. and taller therefore when planting sage gave it enough room to spread I would say planting trees about 4 ft. apart. When planting seeds plant at a depth of 1/8 inch and space each planting hole 24-30 inches apart. Germination of seeds takes between 10-21 days. seeds should be planted late in spring
Sage soil ph range is around 6.0-6.5. When watering sage soil should be somewhat dry but not completely dry and take caution not to over water plant. Common pest problems of sage are spider mites, thrips, and spittlebugs.
Use an insecticidal soap spray or an organic insecticide. Sage at times also has to combat mildew so be careful not to water too late in the afternoon where water might settle on leaves and prune plant also for proper air circulation or air flow.
The beautiful thing about sage also is that sage attracts bees which in turn can pollinate other plants that are nearby. Sage can be harvested about 65-75 days after planting.
The final word
Having your very own herb garden is that simple. Just follow these steps for garden success.