Growing Your Own Herbs
If you’re not the type of person that wants to spend their time managing an elaborate fruit or vegetable garden but you’d still like to grow some plants, you might consider planting and maintaining a herb garden. You’ll enjoy the constant availability of fresh, delicious herbs to flavour your meals with as well as have a nice looking garden that can fit on your balcony or on your window sill.
First you’ll want to choose the herbs that you’ll plant. You might have a hard time doing this because of the huge scope of herbs available. But the best way to choose is by looking at what you have on your kitchen counter. What herbs do you use most when you cook? Do you have a family favourite? By planting your own collection of these herbs, you can save money on buying them from the grocery store while having the added benefit of freshness. Most of us use a lot of rosemary, sage, basil, dill, mint, chives, and parsley among others.
When choosing an area to put your herb garden, you should remember that the soil should have extremely good drainage. If the soil gets watered and stays completely saturated, you have no chance of ever growing a healthy plant. One of the best ways to fix the drainage problem is to dig a foot deep in the soil, and put a layer of crushed rocks down before replacing all the soil. This will allow all that water to escape, thus saving your plants.
When you are ready to begin planting the herbs, you might be tempted to buy the more expensive plants from the store. However, with herbs it is much easier to grow them from seed than it is with other plants. Therefore you can save money by sticking with seed packets. Some herbs grow extremely fast. For example, if you plant mint in an open space, it will take over your entire garden in a matter of days. The best way to prevent this problem is to plant the more aggressive plants in pots (with holes in the bottom to allow drainage, of course).
When it comes to harvest the herbs you have laboured so hard over, try to resist taking off too much. If your plant is still young, it isn’t healthy to take any leaves at all, even if it looks like its not using them. You should wait until your plant has been well established before taking off any leaves. This wait will definitely be worth it, because by growing unabated your plants will grow healthily for years to come.