Choosing Herbs to Grow

For some reason when we first start growing herbs we don’t put the same importance on tending and care as we do for other edibles

Container-Herbs by Midwest Gardening.jpg

If you popped some herbs into your garden or containers last year and achieved disappointing results, you may have made some common mistakes.  It is easy to do unless you are really into culinary herbs and committed to a whole batch of new plants at once.  But when you start producing excellent herbs, you will be amazed at how easily they can enhance your meals.

If you are serious about learning to grow herbs, here are a few pointers to prevent common mistakes:

  • Start with one or two herbs you regularly use so you are properly motivated to learn
  • Do not start from seed, buy bedding plants.  I know I know, I am all about saving money and growing from seed when it makes sense, but you can learn that part later.
  • Pay careful attention to the needs of the herb just like you do with all your other plants.  Group them with plants of similar needs so they get the right amount of moisture and feeding.
  • Make sure the soil you use is nutrient rich by digging in some compost before planting and side dressing or lightly fertilizing throughout the growing season
  • Cut, pinch, trim all the time!  Seriously, good herb production usually requires early and frequent cutting.  That work out well, since we love herbs snipped fresh.
  • Snip and use those tiny, tender, mild but full of flavor leaves first.  It encourages constant new growth of those beautifully tender new leaves.  Let those bottom leaves get big so they can do they solar collecting job to feed the new growth.

After you have mastered one or two favorites, be sure to experiment with new herbs.  Try new herbs or new varieties one at a time so you don’t become overwhelmed with too many needs and instructions.

Sharon Dwyer