Herb Gardening Tips for Beginners

Herbs are used for many purposes. Mostly, we use them for adding delicious aroma and flavor to different recipes. You can also use them to garnish different recipes or add a strong flavor to a drink. Herbs are also used in many home remedies like you can use garlic, ginger, and holy basil to get rid of throat infections. Some herbs when planted, act as a natural insect repellent like lemongrass. You can also use various herbs from your garden and use them to infuse oils. Simply put, you can use and enjoy herbs for many purposes.

Selecting the Herbs
Assuming you are interested in growing herbs you must already have some kind of herbs in mind you wish to grow in the garden. But, before you plant your herbs in the garden soil or containers it is very important to place the herbs in a group where they are compatible with each other. To plant many herbs in a group, you need to consider the space between the herb plants, their light requirement, and check if they can grow with each other in harmony. So, first of all make a list of the herbs you wish to grow, then form groups according to the common light requirements and the compatibly factor. Some herbs prefer full sun, some do good in partial shade.

For herbs that prefer partial shade, you can plant them on a patio, or under a tree, or create a shade so that the herbs get filtered light. If you are learning herb gardening then go with herbs like basil, lemon thyme, and chives and place them in a box near a sunny window. If you want herbs that have beautiful fragrance then lavender, rosemary, and sage are great choices which can be grown in full sun. Mint can be grown in a shaded area or in a container. Certain herbs like bergamot, catmint, and sweet marjoram attract bees which can be grown in sun or partial shade. If you want to grow insect-repelling plants than consider citronella, lemongrass, or sage.

Preparing the Soil
After you are done selecting the herbs, it is time to prepare the soil. If you are planting herbs in the ground soil, then pour a layer of compost on the soil. Then loosen it up, so that the soil becomes well-drained and the composting fertilizer gets mixed in it. Herbs prefer a well-drained soil and a good fertilizer. For container gardening, select pots which are big and made of clay and have sufficient holes in it to allow drainage of water. It is important that you select big containers because smaller containers can stunt the growth of plants.

Planting and Caring for the Herbs
Select healthy and strong plants, bulbs, or seeds of the individual herbs. Plant them by maintaining approximately 3 – 4 feet diameter distance between each herb. Plant the herbs in their particular season and use a water can or hose for supplying water to the plant. Make sure you don’t over water the plants as it can lead to diseases. To check for the watering time, use a wooden rod or pencil and insert it in the ground, if you find the top 2 – 3 inches of the soil layer to be dry, then provide water. Also keep in check the temperature and humidity levels.

Follow the above steps you can grow herbs of your choice in containers or on a bed. For harvesting wait till the plant has reached to a height of six to eight inches, and then cut one-third of the branches.
Read more at Buzzle: http://www.buzzle.com/articles/herb-gardening-for-beginners.html