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Starting a Herb Garden

Herb Garden

Every garden should have an herb patch. Preferably spreading a number of herbs around the place would be more beneficial. Some herbs, such as basil, complement other fruit and vegetables like tomatoes. Others such as lavender and citronella are perfect for sunny patio doorways to add a summer’s evening aroma to proceedings and help keep out the flying invaders.
Obviously most people grow herbs to keep the kitchen staff happy, and the nutritional and medicinal benefit of dietary herbs can never be overstated. Herbs also provide a beautifully rich variation of greens and flowers when grown together. To handle the different water needs it’s a fun idea to plant a multi-level herb rockery where the lower plants receive more water. Either way, herbs should be in every garden for any of these reasons alone.

Basil Seedling

How to Start

Step 1.
Fill your seed tray or pots up to about an inch from the top. Good seeding compost will be fine but if using trays you can always use good quality soilless composts that give the delicate roots the early space they can thrive on.
Use a fine water spray and keep your soil moist not wet.
Gently place 2 or 3 seeds per tray cell, or for pots you can spread liberally and evenly with half an inch gaps are ideal.

Step 2.
Cover your seeds with a thin layer of soil. Just enough to cover them from view should be sufficient. Maybe a sieved layer of seeding soil will do the trick, just don’t bury them too deeply, especially if the seeds are microscopic.
Again, spray them finely and set a plastic cover. If using pots it is a good idea to water from below so stand the pot in a large watered tray.
Label your pots. Knowing their watering needs, even from infancy, will help do things more efficiently, and you should want to know which is which.

Step 3.
Time for cover up. Use old newspaper of polythene for any trays or cover pots in clear plastic bags. Place your containers on a window shelf or a nice spot in the green house.
Check on moisture evidence regularly. You just want moist soil, no wetter. If you have gone the sealed pot route, then you should have no problems as the humidity will be okay.
Take a deep breath and check on your seedlings. They should germinate after a week so check them every day to make sure they have started sprouting or check water if no signs in two weeks.
Step 4.
Once your babies appear then you can take the covers off. Let them breathe.
Choose a good spot to place the trays or pots. Light but not in direct sunlight.

Step 5.
If you are going the seed tray route then look to repot into plastic or clay 3-inch pots when they are looking nice and firm at around 2 inches tall. Make a nice hole in each pot to allow for plenty of root space. Gently transfer the whole root ball of soil and directly drop in whole without disturbing the precious muddy cargo.
Pat down soil gently and fill if necessary before a good dose of water. Now find a bright and ventilated spot to rest your pots. They will need light and regular watering to keep the soil moist.
Once your plants are up to 3 inches or more, look to transfer to a bigger pot and repeat the potting process. Think about an herb container or rockery at this stage once frost is completely over.

Herb Barrel

Herbs when mature usually have different watering requirements if you a lucky to have the space then a rockery is the way to go. Basically this is a series of herb containers arranged very nicely together so water overflow can travel down form the highest section to the next one down et cetera.
This doesn’t have to be a cascading Zen masterpiece but a few old grey blocks placed to hold some moisture in can look effective. These can always be used in conjunction with some discreet plastic tubing to let any water excess leak out of the soil to feed the next below. That way you only have to fill the top section.

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