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Growing Herbs

Growing herbs can be rewarding, and adds beauty to your landscape. This is by far one of Herbee's favorite sections. He will teach you the secrets to successfully growing your very own specimens.

Did you know many plant forms are actually from this category? Most of us know these species provide wonderful resources for culinary and medicinal purposes. Many of these plants have been around for centuries and used in many English gardens and formal gardens. Today, people are growing their own in beds or in containers. Patio gardens and indoor pots are becoming more popular.

Herbee and I started growing herbs in the northeast in the early 1990's. We had a sand box and decided it would be fun to grow some basil and chives. A sandy soil along with sun will provide a great growing environment. Adding the right ingredients when propagating seeds will allow you to grow in any type of soil.

When we moved south in the the mid 1990's, we built a 20 x 30 greenhouse. Herbee and I had over 5,000 seeds. It was amazing to watch each seedling sprout, develop into a plug, and grow into a beautiful plant.

The process for growing herbs is really very simple when starting from seeds. There are two methods you can use to germinate your seeds. Let's begin by identifying what the options are.

You can start growing herbs from seeds directly into the soil or germinate the seeds in trays or small containers. First, let's talk about putting them directly into the soil. Your ground temperature needs to be at least 68°F (20°C). You will want to look for a sunny location as a large percentage of herbs love sunshine. Your ground needs to be prepared, just like any other landscape project.

If this is your first attempt at growing herbs and you are unfamiliar with what to plant, start out with the basic culinary ones: Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, and Thyme. You can buy the seeds from a wholesale company, or many retail stores provide herb seeds in their flower and vegetable section. Below are a few steps to follow.

Garlic Chives

Garlic Chives

Parsley In A Pot

Parsley In Pot

Germinating Herbs Outdoors In Ground

  1. Decide the size and what shape you want for your bed.

  2. Turn your soil over and work the ground and remove any stone or other debris. Your goal is to make the soil airy and light. This is one area I don't recommend mushroom compost. Combine humus and peat moss in with your soil.

  3. You can grow your seedlings in rows or group them. All of the basic herbs will produce flowers during the warm months. Rosemary flowers will bloom in certain zones in the winter months.
  4. Here is the first little secret to sowing your seeds properly. Take a watering can and fill it with hot water. Hot faucet temperature is fine. Mix the hot water into your soil and work well.

  5. Most of these seeds are very tiny. Once you know where you want to plant each seedling, begin by pouring a small amount of seeds into the palm of your hand. Take the seeds and gently sprinkle in the area you want them to grow. You do not want to plant them deep. I take a hoe and pull a small amount of dirt away. Cover the seeds loosely with dirt.

  6. The first couple of weeks, it is critical to keep the seeds moist, but don't over water. Continue to water with hot tap water. Some seeds germinate better in the dark and some in sun light. Basil will do better in the dark, but will propagate alright in the ground. The dark or light factor is more important if you germinate the seeds indoors.

There are two types of indoor germination for growing herbs. You can do them in small pots or trays in your house, or you can propagate them in a greenhouse. Below is a free video so you can see the process. Herbee and I have done both and they grow wonderful either way.

The beauty about starting your own herbs in your home is you can do it year around. Decide what plants you want to grow. Use trays or small pots. The trays come in a variety of sizes depending on how many plants you want. I use plug trays of 72.

Before you start, it is important to know whether your seeds need sun light or darkness. Most seed suppliers have directions and information on lighting requirements on their packaging. Before I built a greenhouse, I used florescent lights and had tables set up. It is not necessary to use the lights. The lighting helps in the germination process for some seeds. Here are a few simple suggestions.

Germinating Herbs Indoors

  1. You will need to set up an area to work, such as a good size counter top or table. Put newspaper or an old tablecloth on the area.

  2. Take a large bowl and combine peat moss, humus, and a very light potting soil. Don't use potting soil containing bark and other wood material. Mix hot water into the soil mixture and stir well. I use my hands. I have been known to love playing in the dirt!

  3. If you are using a tray you will want to fill each plug three fourths full of the soil mixture. The same method is used in pots or containers.

  4. Take the seeds and put a few in the palm of your hand. Sprinkle the seeds on top of the soil and loosely put a small amount of soil over the seeds.

  5. Place your trays or containers in a sunny location or a dark pantry or closet, depending on the light requirements. Water them with hot tap water for the first couple of weeks.

Each type of herb will germinate on different schedules. It is so exciting to see your first seedling appear out of the dirt. Let your herbs grow and get established in their containers or trays. I put about 3 to 4 seeds for each plug. If you use a small pint container, gather about 5 to 10 seeds and sprinkle them in the soil. If you are using a tray and plan on keeping the herbs inside, transplant to pots as they grow.

Above are very basic steps for growing herbs for yourself. You can do any herbs, flowers, or veggies using these methods. The two secrets to successful herb growing are using hot tap water in your mixture, and using vermiculite and humus along with a light and airy potting soil.

Herbee's Hot Buzzing Resource Book Pick For You

Some Herbs Choices

  • Basil - Dark Opel, Italian, Minette and Licorice - use in a variety of dishes.
  • Parsley - Italian - use in many Italian and American dishes.
  • Greek Oregano - try in scrambled eggs.
  • Lemon Balm - smells wonderful.
  • Catnip - my three cats just love it!
  • Chamomile - great for tea.
  • Garlic and Regular Chives - use on baked potatoes and with vegetables.
  • Cilantro - Great in flavoring of spicy dishes.
  • Dill - Great on fish for grilling and broiling.
  • Lavender - wonderful aroma and great for sachet in drawers.
  • Spearmint and Peppermint - will spread all over.
  • Sage - I use in homemade dressing and over pork dishes.
  • Rosemary - many different meat dishes - pork, beef and chicken.
  • Thyme - English and Mother of - any spicy dishes and great ground cover, too.
  • St. join - pretty yellow flowers, also oil from plant used for joint ailments.

Feel free to watch the this free video on the proper steps of growing seeds. Herbee felt Kimberly should do this particular video. He was helping one of his relatives pollinate flowers that day!

Remember, herbs can be grown year around. Follow these two processes and you can enjoy using herbs to dress up your food. Relax with the aroma of different herb flowers. This plant family has so many purposes for you and your family to enjoy!

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In.

Vegetable And Other Plants --- Vegetable Garden Planning

How To Plan A Garden --- If you're growing herbs, you may want Herb Garden Plans.

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