For those with Green Thumbs… or Not!
All of our plants got their start in the beautiful Black Dirt of Orange County, NY, and with a little help from you, they can thrive in a variety of locations.
Herbs are one of the easiest things to grow as they require minimal care. They are an excellent way for the beginning gardener to “get his feet wet” and fresh herbs add depth of flavor to all of your culinary creations. The FarmGirl Cooks’ Guide to Culinary Herbs can help you. A majority of herbs will grow well under a wide range of soil conditions, with the exception of extremely wet, poorly drained soils. You may want to consider planting in raised beds if this is your situation.
Cut the plants back occasionally to encourage “bushiness” whether you intend to use the herb or not. Think of it like getting a haircut – it keeps things healthy! One smart idea? Dry the cuttings thoroughly and store in jars for off-season use. You’ll never have to purchase store-bought herbs again! Believe it or not, you can cut back over half of the plant if you are using ‘woody stemmed’ herbs or greens such as parsley. Basil can also be cut back to within inches of the base but it’s a little trickier if you’re only taking a few leaves at a time. Be sure to pinch the center of each basil stem rather than snipping off the occasional leaf. This practice tells the plant to make more leaves; pulling off leaves just renders the plant helpless to make itself food.
The soil you use should be loose and well-drained; purchase a packaged mix at any home and garden store if you will be using pots or planters. Note that plants in containers dry out much more quickly than those planted directly in the ground. You may need to water once or even twice a day in the summer. When the soil is dry to a depth of 1-inch, apply a gentle shower of water until a small amount comes out of the drainage holes. Many herbs are perennials and will withstand milder winter conditions.
Be careful NOT to over-water. Doing so will essentially suffocate the plant. Once the fine roots die off, the plant can no longer take in the water and nutrients that it needs and it will turn yellow, brown, and die.
Remember, even with the best soil you should fertilize every few weeks with all-purpose plant food. As you water the plants you’ll be washing valuable nutrients out of the soil and they’ll need to be replaced in order to maintain the health of the plants
We hope these tips help you maintain a beautiful herb garden.