Herbs can be traced back to ancient times, when Egyptians and Chinese used them for their culinary and medicinal qualities. The Bible and documents from medieval times refer to the use of them in most households. They can be used for many purposes, and gardeners get many benefits from growing them. Herbs are widely used as food flavoring, in potpourri, with tea, for medicinal reasons, and even as a form of garden pest control. You can customize your herb garden for any of these single purposes, or mix many different herbs to meet all of your herbal needs. Herbs are versatile: they can be grown outdoors alongside other types of plants or in containers indoors.
You can even grow your herb garden in the kitchen, or in a special section of your garden. You can grow enough of them to satisfy the needs of a small family in a garden plot four feet by six feet. Herbs used in cooking, known as culinary herbs, are some of the most popular types. Other herbs are favored for their aromatic foliage, and still others for their beautiful flowers and leaves. Another useful feature of herbs is that they can be used fresh or dried. Restaurants use herbs as a garnish on plates or in salads, while culinary herbs can add zest to a meal.
Herbs, like other plants, are available in annuals, perennials, shrubs, and trees. Well-drained soil should be used for planting herbs. Organic matter should be added to soil that is thick or dense. It is not necessary to use fertilizer in herb soil. Most herbs grow best in sunlight, though there are a few that require full shade. Many herbs flourish in afternoon shade. Unlike other plants, herbs are not prone to disease or insects. Occasionally red spider mites turn up on low-growing plants in dry, hot weather, and dill, caraway, anise and fennel sometimes get aphids. Interestingly, mint plants can be damaged by rust.
You can buy full-grown herbs and transplant them into your garden, or grow your own from seeds. It is truly rewarding to watch an herb plant grow from a seed. When this happens, you can experience every step of its growth -- from birth to death. The experience of growing an herb from a seed is especially satisfying because herbs have so many uses. Nearly all varieties of herbs can be grown from seeds. Herb seeds should be planted in late winter, in a shallow pot or box. Lightweight, well-drained soil is best for planting herb seeds. Herbs do not grow deep roots, so be sure not to cover the seeds with too much soil. Plant them just under the soil surface. Here is an herb planting rule of thumb: the finer the seed, the shallower it must be sown. Herb seedlings can be transplanted outside in the spring. Some herbs can not be transplanted successfully, but most can grow well from seeds. A number of seeds can be planted straight into the garden, such as dill, fennel, anise, and coriander.
Growing herbs in a home garden is quite easy and gratifying, but there is a lot you need to know about them before you get started. Now that you have read some basic guidelines on how grow them, you should be inspired to continue your journey. All of the information you need is right here! Have fun with your herbs and good luck!
Rosemarie Jones, is an herb expert and an enthusiast lover of plants.