5 Common Herb Gardening Mistakes to Avoid for Beginners
Have you ever tried a recipe with fresh herbs once, and then dried herbs the next?
Fresh herbs make all the difference. But running to the store every time you need fresh herbs is a huge hassle.
So why not grow your own herb garden? It’s not that hard. Just try to avoid the following five herb gardening mistakes.
Beginning with Seeds
Leave the whole “growing from seed” to expert gardeners.
Seeds require an exacting environment in order to germinate and grow. Plus, they must be planted early and kept indoors while they grow. For novice gardeners, there’s simply too much that can go wrong with this scenario. And you may end up with just a few (if any) plants in the end.
Starter plants, on the other hand, are established and healthy. Then as soon as the weather permits, they can be put outside in a pot or planter or into the ground.
Use the Wrong Soil
First things first – you need fresh soil. Or at the very least, if you’re working with spent soil on the ground, be sure to turn it over and fold in some digested compost. Your herb plants need nutrients.
Meanwhile, if your herbs are in pots, avoid garden soil. Topsoil and black earth might look rich, healthy, and inviting. But they’re heavy and take a long time to dry out after a rain. Use potting soil instead. It’s much lighter and perfect for growing herbs.
Be sure to water them twice per month with a 20-20-20 water-soluble fertilizer to restore any lost nutrients.
Improperly Placing Plants
When you start shopping for starter plants, it’s very tempting to envision a patch full of a wide variety of herbs all just ready for the picking.
The reality is, you need to pay close attention to the specific needs of each different herb. For example, basil will thrive in full sun, but cilantro is quick to go to seed in the same environment.
In addition, be aware of the anticipated height and width of each herb and space out your plants accordingly. Otherwise, your herbs will crowd out one another and never establish a healthy root system.
Watering Too Little or Too Much
Most herbs are fairly easy to grow and not terribly needy. Even so, it’s important to stick to some sort of regular watering schedule.
It’s best to water your herbs in the morning before the sun rises and evaporation becomes an issue. And to avoid mildew and disease, be sure to water the soil around the herb rather than the leaves. This is especially important if you’re using your herbs in remedies.
Letting Herbs Flower
It’s important to continually cut back your herbs.
As soon as there is 3-4″ of growth above the soil, you’ll want to start pruning them. Because once they start to flower and go to seed, the plant will devote its energy to procreating and this will negatively impact the flavor of the leaves.
So leave the flowering to your annuals and perennials.
Avoid Herb Gardening Mistakes
Take advantage of all the benefits of having fresh herbs by growing your own. Simply steer clear of the above five herb gardening mistakes, and you’ll be well on your way!
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