The ins and outs of GROW­ING HERBS

Whether you long for a for­mal herb gar­den, a chamomile lawn to loll upon or just a few con­tain­ers dot­ted around your back­yard, it’s all pos­si­ble! Here’s how to make it a re­al­ity.

Herbs & Superfoods - - Grow Your Own Herb Garden -

There is some­thing very sat­is­fy­ing about grow­ing your own herbs, whether for culi­nary pur­poses, medic­i­nal pur­poses or for mak­ing your own clean­ing and beauty prod­ucts. You don’t need a large back­yard – a deck, bal­cony or even porch steps are suit­able for grow­ing herbs.

But for herbs to thrive, they need plenty of sun­shine. Most herbs re­quire at least six hours of di­rect sun­light a day, although some herbs, such as chervil, co­rian­der, chives, lemon balm and mint, will grow in par­tial shade. Herbs that come from the Mediter­ranean, such as rose­mary, laven­der, thyme, mar­jo­ram, oregano and bay, grow best in full sun.

Wa­ter­ing is crit­i­cal to your herbs’ sur­vival too – not too much but not too lit­tle. Prob­a­bly the big­gest cause of death is con­tin­u­ous over­wa­ter­ing. Most herbs hate wa­ter­logged soil, so en­sure your potting mix or soil medium is free-drain­ing.

Herbs don’t need a great deal of fer­tiliser ei­ther, and too much will di­lute their flavour. Most Mediter­ranean herbs do best when they’re starved for at­ten­tion, so go easy on the food. Chives and basil, on the other hand, do well when fer­tilised reg­u­larly. Most other herbs will ben­e­fit from a liq­uid feed once a month.

Like all plants, herbs are ei­ther an­nu­als, bi­en­ni­als or peren­ni­als. An­nual herbs, which last for just one year then die, in­clude basil, co­rian­der, chervil and dill. Bi­en­nial herbs such as car­away last for two years. They are sown one year, flower and fruit the fol­low­ing year, then die.

Pars­ley is a bi­en­nial, although it’s of­ten thought of as a peren­nial be­cause it can ac­tu­ally sur­vive more than two years if you cut off its flow­ers. How­ever, the plant starts to lose its flavour and vigour af­ter two years, so it’s best to grow new plants ev­ery two years or plant new pars­ley plants ev­ery year if you’re af­ter top flavour.

Peren­ni­als last for sev­eral years. They can be­come leggy or spindly if left un­pruned, so give your peren­nial herbs a hair­cut in late sum­mer to en­cour­age strong, new, com­pact growth. Peren­ni­als in­clude sage, thyme, rose­mary, oregano and chives.

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