by Angad Verma
October 23, 2014
Planting herbs- for beginners[/caption] If you are a foodie or simply enjoy the fruits of gardening, the idea of growing your own garden is probably not a farfetched idea. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about growing your own herb garden but haven’t a clue where to start. Or maybe you are currently in the initiation process of growing one. Whichever situation you currently find yourself in, here is a list of useful information you may want to consider. This will help give a boost to those with wishful thinking to start making it happen and those who are already moving to making it happen with practical and useful advice to making their first herb project a success. These tips reveal the most common mistakes people make in attempting a successful herb garden and learning how to avoid them.
  1. Growing using seeds. As your first tryout, begin first with growing your fresh herbs from seedlings versus planting your own seeds. Seedlings are small starter plants that can be found in grocery stores usually during late spring and usually cost about the same price as a packet of herbs in the produce area. This is recommended as many things can go wrong during the transition from the seeds growing into the seedling, including a failure to thinning out plants accordingly. It is a safer choice to avoid the hassle otherwise it is a recipe for a wipeout.
  1. Begin with fresh basil. As a starter, begin your task by growing fresh basil. Basil is an easy herb to grow and hence the perfect herb to begin your training. Basil grows quickly and this helps you become aware of your habits involved in its care and the effects. Furthermore, its leaves wilt in an obvious way when they are not watered enough but can recoup if the wilted plant is watered. This is helpful in determining how much water is needed and a great way to tend to future herb plants.
  1. Inconsistent watering. One problem in watering herb is most people water them in the same manner they water their house plants, or in other words not watering them regularly. Most house plants can survive just fine with one watering a week. Delicate herbs instead should be watered regularly everyday using a reasonable amount of water. Plant them in pots that have drainage at the bottom. In doing so, it will be hard to water herbs too much.
  1. Poor soil with lack of nutrients. Weary soil that has been in your lawn for a long time looks gloomy and miserable looking. It is not exactly the kind of environment any living organism will thrive in nor would want to live in. You want to give your plants a healthy natural setting. You will reap the benefits later. For a simple task, try growing it using Miracle grow or some other nutrient which will nourish the soil. Some like to grow them using potting soil along with used coffee grounds and some organic compost.
  1. Cut early and frequently. As a beginner, you may think your tiny scrawny plant is not ready for the blade. As mentioned previously, basil is the perfect plant to practice on and this includes not just watering but clipping and thinning them out. Like all herbs, you want to trim the herb just above a group of growing leaves. Doing so means the original trimmed stem won’t grow however, two new stems will sprout around the original trimming forming a “V-shape. Not trimming basil assertively, the plant will grow quite vertically and will become too tall and heavy from the top. To cultivate a sturdy plant, your first trim should be about 3-4”above the soil. A reminder is to always leave a few good leaves on the plant. As it grows, continue to trim it every 3-4” to have a nice basil plant.
  1. Cut off flower buds. Trimming regularly is a good thing so it is necessary to cut off the small flower buds when you see them. If you wait until you have flowers on the top of each plant, you won’t produce enough leaves. Make sure to cut herbs before they start growing flowers. Cutting off the small flower buds will ensure your plant focuses on growing more leaves.
  1. Take leaves from the top of the plant. A common mistake when pruning the plant is picking off the large leaves from the bottom and letting the smaller leaves at the top to grow. Instead, leave the large leaves at the bottom and take from the top. The large leaves at the bottom aid and support your plants growth. As your plant gets big enough, continue taking from the top so you acquire young delicate tasty herbs. In addition, plucking from the bottom will give you a full top plant causing it to flop to the side from the weight that is accumulated from the top.
  1. Choose herbs wisely. When picking your herbs, be sure to read the labels carefully. For instance, there are two kinds of oregano: Mediterranean and Mexican. Each is used for specific types of dishes and brings out a different flavor. Like oregano, there is a variety of mints. Be sure you know which flavor you are looking to buy otherwise you will go home with a mint that will not bring out the intended flavor you had in mind.
  1. Rapid growth of herbs. If you plan on planting your herbs in soil versus pots it should be stressed that the herbs can grow into a giant plant and cause major growth around your property- this is true of oregano and mint. Consider potting these herbs and if you wish, you can bury the pots into the ground if you are looking to have your garden outside. This will help you gain control of the roots and thus avoid your herbs taking over your property.
  1. Branch out and experiment. It is easy to get into a habit of doing something, getting good at it and falling into a pothole. If you really wish to get good at it, it is important that you feel recompensed. Don’t hesitate to try out other simple and basic herbs that you can use in your cooking. Don’t stay too long tending to just only one or two herbal plants because you’ve successfully mastered at tending to it. As you become comfortable with the basil plant, try growing oregano, thyme and rosemary. They are popular herbs used in the kitchen and are quite simple to grow. With your basil experience, you will become more comfortable and savvy tending to your new herb collection.

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