Read these 32 Herb Gardening Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Herb Supplements tips and hundreds of other topics.
Fertilize your plants once you see their "true" leaves
sprouting. Dilute your fertilizer to half strength, at
the most, and feed the plants whenever you water them.
You want to use a fertilizer that will stimulate root
growth. This is important in herb gardening! Look for
a high number on your fertilizer, as the middle number
shown. That means it's good for root growth.
Something such as a 10-52-10 ratio.
Your everyday packet of seeds will no doubt contain
more seeds than you will require to begin your
garden, unless you've decided to feed your county. :)
Save at least half of those seeds, as a rule, for
another planting, as they can be stored for several
years without a problem.
Once your herbs begin to sprout, if they get too
crowded in your little pots, thin them out. You can
buy "peat pots", which can then be planted directly
in the ground or your larger containers, to replant
the transplanted sproutings in. This is a very good
way to go about thinning your plants, it won't disturb
the important roots of the plant, and you'll benefit
by having more of what you want; herbs!
"Companion planting" is an excellent way to keep the
pests down to a low roar. Lavender contains a natural
insecticide and will help to bring down the number of
pests on nearby plants in your garden. Basil is known
to repel flies and mosquitoes. Plant garlic, chives,
coriander, anise, nasturtium and petunia to help repel
aphids. Chives are also good at repelling mites.
Marigold and nasturtium will help to keep the white
flies at bay. If you're having a problem with a
particular herb garden pest, please email me at
email@example.com, and I
will try to help you find a quick solution!
If you are unfortunate enough to have a heavy-duty
infestation problem, it's almost always best to just
be rid of the plants themselves, so they don't infect
everything else in your garden. Cut off the afflicted
leaves, or take the plants entirely if they are
completely inundated and sprays are just not working,
and start again.
The most common herb pests are aphids, spider mites, and white flies. Aphids are green or black in color, some have wings and fly while other aphid types don't. Spider mites leave a spider web calling card; you can't usually see spider mites, but they're most likely around if you're seeing the very thin, spider web-like grids they construct while destroying your herbs. White flies will appear as tiny white bugs that fly away when you move or jiggle a plant.
Dig a hole slightly deeper and wider than the pot the
herb came in. Gently remove the herb from its pot,
taking the soil around the roots with it.
Set the herb in the prepared hole, and fill in with
the surrounding soil, gently tamping the soil with
Leave an inch or two of bare stem under the leaves
and above the soil to make room for mulch.
Apply about an inch of mulch to help keep soil
temperatures even and evenly moist. Mulch keeps out
Water with a gentle drizzle.
Seeds will require sterilized soil. You don't want to
begin your plant's life with bugs at the root! Using
small pots with good drainage holes and a few pebbles
strewn in the bottom of each, simply fill the pots
loosely with soil and dampen it nicely, then shake
some seed onto the top of the damp soil, pressing down
firmly but not too hard on the seeds. Give them a
little pat. This is the way I've grown my seedlings
for years, and it works quite well.
Vigilant pest control is vital. Catching a minor problem before it creates havoc is key. Check the underside of leaves and foliage, as this is a favorite spot of pests. Note any sticky areas on the stems and stalks, this can mean that pests are sucking the sap from inside the stems.
Select a very sunny window to set your little pots on.
This does not mean a hot windowsill! Indoor heat will
destroy your herbs; find a spot that's very sunny, but
cool. Try your attic, try your basement, both areas
should provide less heat while in the sun. Keep the
plants away from indoor heating systems.
Use an organic fertilizer, such as liquefied seaweed. Fish fertilizer is probably going to be more readily available for use, but it will need to be diluted before using to avoid burning the roots of the plant and imparting a very fishy smell to your garden or potted herbs.
The best way to pick herbs is to keep in mind their
dignity. Don't just hack off careless handfuls, roots
and all, or you'll traumatize the plants.
Use scissors, shears, or sharp fingernails to snip
two- to three-inch springs from herbs such as thyme,
oregano, marjoram and rosemary.
-- "The Good Herb," by Judith Benn Hurley
How will you be using your herbs? Mostly for cooking?
For medicinal use? Both? Thinking about a tea garden?
Or do you just want to integrate some beautiful herb
plants into your flower garden for added color and
beauty? Think these questions through and you will find
your answers. I have an A - Z list of herbs to help
guide you on this site!
There are some very powerful insecticides on the market, which will all attack these pests nicely.
However, they are also quite toxic, and I recommend against using any of them.
Instead, try using something made from nature itself,
such as pyrethrum spray, made from daisies, which is quite effective yet completely nontoxic for mammals.
It will harm fish and birds, however, so please don't use pyrethrum spray near these types of pets.
Insecticide soaps are wonderful organic pest controllers, and cause no harm to anyone, fish and birds included.
The key to using these soaps is to be aware that they must be sprayed onto the plants very, very thoroughly, and very, very regularly, to be effective.
Even ordinary household dish soap that has been diluted in warm water will kill many garden pests if sprayed very completely
over the leaves of your plants.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|