Site and Soil Conditions
Drainage and soil fertility should be considered first while selecting the
site for herb garden,. Drainage is the most important factor for successful
herb growing. Herbs cannot grow well in wet soils. If the garden area is
poorly drained, it is supposed to be modified. A raised bed is an excellent
solution to poor drainage.
The soil at the site does not have to be fertile.A highly fertile soil
tends to produce an excessive foliage with poor flavor. Adding several
amount of peat or compost per 100 square feet of garden area helps in
improving soil condition and retain needed moisture.
Sowing Herb Seed
Always sow the seeds in shallow boxes in late winter and transplant
seedlings outdoors in the spring. A well-drained light soil is best for
starting the seedlings indoors. Do not cover the seeds too deeply with
soil.The finer the seed, the shallow it should be sown. It should be noted
that different varieties have different germination requirements.
In propagating certain perennial herbs cutting and division are two useful
steps. The best time is early spring or first signs of growth. Excessive
woodiness or bald middles is a sign that it's time of rejuvenation. Bulbous
roots are pulled apart whereas others need to be cut. Discard all the woody
sections and replant and water it as soon as possible. Providing the shading
for the first week or so can be very helpful.
Layering is a fairly risk-free method that can be practiced throughout the
summer and works well on some of the woody or Mediterranean-type plants that
don't have extensive root system for dividing. Select only that branch(s)
that can be easily bent to the ground and strip the lower branches from the
section that touches the ground. Loose the soil and bury the branch just
below the upper surface. Let nature take its tine of course. By the end of
the growing season, roots will be formed and the branch can be easily
separated from the parent and moved to a new location.
Root cuttings follows the same principles. Cutting is a faster process but
is also more prone to failures because the new section should completely
removed from the parent plant and requires controlled conditions and regular
Types of herbs :
Herbs can be classified on various different basis-
On the basis of uses
Culinary herbs are most useful to herb gardeners, because of having a wide
range of uses in cooking. These herbs, because of their strong flavors, are
generally used in small quantities to add flavor to food. These are produced
in largest amount and used mostly as a garnish.
Aromatic herbs have got some novel uses and are not as popular. Most are
pleasant smelling flowers or foliage. Oils from these aromatic herbs can be
used to produce perfumes, toilet water, and various scents. In home, the
plant parts are used to scent linens or clothing. When dried, many aromatic
herbs retain their aroma for a considerable period of time. Some common
aromatic herbs include mint
, marjoram, rosemary, and basil
Ornamental herbs consist of brightly colored flowers and foliage. Many of
them have whitish or light-colored flowers. Valerian has crimson blossoms
while borage and chicory have blue-flowered. Such herbs as variegated thyme
mint, lavender, and chives produce variegated foliage.
Medicinal herbs have thought to have curative powers. But present medical
knowledge recognizes as some herbs have healing properties while others are
highly overrated. Medicinal herbs should be used carefully. Some herbs are
harmless while others can be very dangerous if consumed improperly.
On the basis of life span
Herbs can also be classified as annuals, biennials, and perennials. Annuals
bloom in only one season and then die. Biennials live for two seasons,
blooming the second season. Once established, perennials overwinter and
bloom each season.
Herbs for Beginning Gardeners
Beginning herb gardeners generally have a problem deciding which herbs to
plant. There are numerous herbs from which selection is to be made. A quick
check of any supermarket shelf will give an idea of the types of herbs used
in cooking and will also serve as a planting guide. Many cookbooks also
offer information on uses of various herbs as flavorings.
Ornamental use of herbs on the land scape
Herbs can be used for culinary, medicinal, fragrant or other household
purposes and are thus defined in botanical sense rather than horticultural
sense. These are members of the mint and parsley families (Labiatae and
Umbelliferae) and most of them are aromatic plants. However, gardeners
should not ignore their ornamental qualities. Herbs offer a wide range of
foliage colors that vary widely; The foliage texture of herbs provide an
absolute ornamental contrast; from the needle-like leaves of dill to the
bold leaves of angelica. Few herbs have very decorative flowers, such as
chive or lavender, while few others possess attractive plant forms, such as
the compact form of santolina.
Certain herb plants are well suited to this function For example A vertical
accent herb Angelica archangelica can be used like a sculpture in the
garden, or can be placed in a pot to highlight its bold texture and exotic
appearance. Both Artemisia aboratanum, southernwood and Artemisia pontica
can be grown as a hedge; as they spread rapidly by their roots. The true
lavender, Lavandula Augustifolia, is often used as an infort-nal low hedge
or edging for a garden path: its foliage remains are very attractive well
during the winter for added interest and its cut flowers can be used in