Harvest Fresh Herbs
Fresh herbs are a delight to anyone who loves to cook and if you have the habit of using herbs for nearly all your dishes, then why not grow your own herbs instead of buying them? This way you will always have fresh homegrown herbs accessible to you at any time of the day especially if you harvest fresh herbs. Since most herbs need at least six hours of sun daily, while some can grow healthily with limited or light shade, you can easily grow herbs in your garden or on your kitchen window sill. They are not high maintenance plants as they can grow without any fuss and most importantly, they are very inexpensive.
How To Prepare Herbs For Planting
As you prepare your herb bed in your garden, consider the mature size of the plants so that the larger plants will not crowd the smaller ones and do not forget to choose the suitable locations where perennial herbs can be grown. It is also important to consider the textures and colors of the flowers and leaves of every plant, so you can creatively mix them up to complement each other and have an appealing overall appearance in the garden. If you use sprinklers in your garden, group the herbs up according to their watering needs. Herbs that have smoother and thicker leaves such as parsley and basil need plenty of water on a regular basis, but herbs that are drought tolerate such as thyme and rosemary can grow without much attention and these can be grown on shadier locations. Smooth out the soil to plant your herbs in by removing clumps and adding in organic compost.
How To Grow Herbs
Herbs can be planted from seed, but you always plant them as seedlings. Water all your herbs until they are well established in their new home and once the soil sets at a warm temperature add mulch to prevent weeds and retain the needed soil moisture. Herb seedlings can be protected from larger pests and birds by having the herb bed covered in netting. It is essential to prevent your herbs from being infested and stop pests at the first sighting. Small infestations of mites and aphids can be blasted with water and snails, slugs and caterpillars can be removed by hand, or you can always use beneficial pests. You can also plant flowers and other herbs that have been known as pest deterrents. However larger infestations will need other forms of pest control and before you purchase an over the counter remedy, remember that your herbs will be used for consumption. It will be better if you consult with a pest control professional and have them apply non toxic treatments instead.
Herbs can grow throughout the season and you simply snip off amounts of herbs you will need for your cooking without worrying if they will grow back. In fact, your snipping from time to time encourages growth and prevents them from going to seed. If you end up cutting more than you need, you can simply place them in a glass of water to preserve freshness until they are needed.
How To Harvest Fresh Herbs
Herbs that mature at the end of the season can be dried to last longer. Simply cut edible sections and place them out under the sun until they are thoroughly dried and the leaves start to crumble easily. Then have them stored in an airtight container. However, you need to cut the herbs just when the flower bed are starting to open and during the day when there are no more dew on them. You can dry both stems and leaves by tying them in a bundle and hanging them upside down.
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Valerie Williams is a freelance writer specializing in gardening and natural pest control solutions. She offers various gardening and herb home growing tips.