Creating your own herb garden can be one of the most enjoyable hobbies you will ever engage in, especially if you enjoy living a natural lifestyle. Not only will you be blessed with flavorful herbs and spices that you can use in your cooking and herbs that can be used to make your own herbal products, but you will also be participating in what is a very meditative practice. Gardening, especially organic gardening can be very relaxing and peaceful, and it often helps you feel a stronger connection with nature and life. You will most likely find yourself living in more healthy ways as a result of practicing organic herbal gardening. As you can see, the benefits of having an herb garden are vast.
Types of Gardens
There are many ways to go about starting your herb garden, and the best choice will be the one that suits your personality and your lifestyle best. Here are some ways to begin:
You can start your herb plants from seeds in small pots in your kitchen, or you can even buy small plants if you prefer not to start them from seeds. This is very easy and convenient as long as you have a nice sunny window to set them by. It will allow you to have easy access to your herbs when you are cooking, and growing herbs indoors means that you can often enjoy them year round.
Outdoor Garden in Pots
If you want to be able to grow a larger quantity of herbs, you can always grow them in pots outside. What’s nice about this option is that you can bring them inside when the weather gets colder or if you are going to be experiencing heavy storms. This also works well for people who either don’t have good soil or don’t have a good location in their yard to plant a garden in the ground.
Outdoor Garden in the Ground
This method is usually chosen by people who are a little more advanced and who have tried some gardening in pots already. With this option, the amount that you can grow is only limited by the dimensions of your garden, allowing you to plant many different varieties and larger quantities of each. You will need to be more careful about maintaining your garden and keeping it safe from pests. There are many options for getting rid of pests in a natural way. The last thing you want to do is spray chemicals on herbs you are going to eat or use on your body!
There are so many different size greenhouses available today that just about anyone can afford one and just about everyone can find room for one. With this option, you can choose to either plant your herbs in the ground inside your greenhouse or in pots. The greenhouse will help protect your herbs from animals and the elements. It also helps herbs grow faster, and it prolongs the growing season (sometimes removing the need altogether for closing up your garden for the year if you install a heater).
Don’t stress over how to begin your herbal gardening experience. You will find that it is in fact an experience; therefore you might tip your toe in the waters by starting out small and simple, but if you fall in love with it, as I have a feeling you will, you will end up trying new and more complicated techniques. Start with whatever you are comfortable with and allow your knowledge and skills to grow over time.
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I urge you to strongly consider organic herb gardening. It’s no harder than using chemicals and it is often even less expensive. The reasons this is so important are so vast that I can’t go into them in depth here, but I have included links to other websites that will give you a better understanding at the bottom of this page. For now, let me just say that the repercussions that come from using chemicals in your gardening will hurt you, your family, your neighbors, your pets, wild animals and the world at large. If you want to enjoy the natural beauty and the healing abilities that come from herbs, don’t introduce chemicals. Here are the simple steps you need to take to ensure you are practicing organic gardening at every step of the way:
- Start with organic soil. You won’t get a healthy plant by starting with low quality soil, and especially not with soil that has been treated with miracle grow or other chemicals. Plants get their nutrients from the soil. If the nutrients aren’t there for the plants, they will not thrive, and if there are chemicals in the soil, the plants will take those chemicals into themselves, which means they will be transferred to you when you use or eat them.
- Practice natural pest control. Why would you want to spray chemicals on plants that you are going to put in your body or use on your body? The type of pest control you will need will depend on the pests you have. A good resource is: Organic Pest Control by Mother Earth News
- Use organic fertilizers. If your fertilizers have chemicals in them, they are not organic. Good choices are organic compost, peat moss, horse or cow manure, sea kelp, fish meal and limestone.
Herb Gardening Tips:
- Most herbs prefer well drained soil. While it is important to read about each herb you will be planting to find out what it needs, the majority of herbs do not like to sit in soggy soil. Some herbs will like more water than others, but the ability for the water to drain well is important. To help with this, be sure there are adequate holes on the bottom of your pots and use a 1/2″-1″ layer of gravel in the bottom of your pots to help drainage even further.
- Most herbs prefer at least 6 hours of sunlight. Again this will vary for every herb, but this is a good rule of thumb to start with.
- Start your herbs from plants if you are new to gardening. Unless you plan to do a lot of research, growing herbs from seeds isn’t always easy. Each herb has its own idiosyncrasies and unless you know what each herb needs, you might end up getting frustrated when your herbs don’t grow. Organic herb plants are hard to come by, though, in typical stores, but they can be purchased at local farmer’s markets or ordered online.
- Seeds should typically be sown under the soil about 2 times the length of the seed itself. If your seeds are extremely tiny, they should only have a dusting of soil on top of them, if that.
How to Grow an Herb Garden from HowStuffWorks.com