An herb garden is a wonderful way to satisfy both the desire to dabble around the garden and to add the right exotic dash to a culinary masterpiece. Experimenting with different flavors is easy when you grow your own fresh garden herbs. But if you live in tight quarters or don’t have access to a lot of space for planting an herb garden, you’re probably wondering what is the best way to grow herbs?
Lack of gardening space shouldn’t deter you from enjoying the benefits of growing herbs. An ideal way to grow herbs is in containers. Container herb gardening is both practical and convenient. Imagine having a variety of fresh herbs at your fingertips without the mess and hard work of getting on hands and knees to plant your herb garden. Growing herbs in a container allows greater control over light, temperature and soil conditions. If you add wheels to your container, you can easy move your herb garden around to get the optimal sunlight or shade as needed.
To get the most out of your herb garden, you need to take into consideration the type of herbs you want to grow and their growing needs. Start off by selecting a container large enough to hold all your plants, allowing for about one gallon of a premium planting mix to each plant. It is important to use only bagged potting soil from a gardening center, as regular outdoor soil may harbor bacteria that is harmful to your plants. Keep the planting mix fairly loose, packing it down tightly will only restrict drainage and aeration, neither of which is good for your herb plants.
If you’ve used a premium planting mix, it already comes pre-fertilized. If that is not the case or if you’ve used just a plain potting soil, you can add a small amount of slow release fertilizer to the potting mix. Don’t overdo it, follow the package directions. Usually this single application at the start will be enough to last the entire growing season. Using too much can burn the plants and adversely affect the taste of your herbs.
Once your herbs are nicely settled in their container, add enough water until the soil feels moist but not soggy. It is important to water your container herb garden only when needed. A general rule of thumb is to check the soil about two inches deep to determine whether it’s still moist before watering. Smaller plants won’t need as much water, but with mature plants, you may need to water every day while growing in hot weather. Don’t let your container herb garden sit in water, drain off any excess.
Once your herbs start growing, don’t forget to harvest regularly throughout the season to keep your herb plants growing lushly. The best time to harvest is usually in the early morning (after the morning dew but before the full sun hits) to preserve the volatile oils that give the herb its full flavor. Pick only what you can use within a day or two. Wrap freshly picked herbs in a damp paper towel and store in the refrigerator if you’re not going to use them right away.
Fresh garden herbs can impart a nice flavor and add the right touch to your favorite dishes. Growing your own herb garden is great way to exercise your green thumb and tantalize a discerning palate. What is the best way to grow herbs? In a container garden of course!