A. Anytime is a good time to start a herb garden.  Springtime, March-April is a wonderful time to start putting out seeds and plants.   The months of October and November are also an excellent time for herb gardeners.   However, very hot weather is not the best time for planting herbs.  Whether you are going to start a herb garden in the ground or in pots, it's time to get started.  So, get out your gardening tools, clean and sharpen them and get started.

An old wife's tale is, "grow herbs where nothing else will grow."  But, keep in mind when soil conditions are right; your garden will flourish. In planting a herb garden or vegetable garden it is a good idea to know your soil's analysis.  Herbs like a soil with a pH of 6.5 to 7.  If you don't know your soil's composition, you might want to have a soil analysis done.  It is easy and the cost is very reasonable.  Contact your county agricultural extension agent for help.  Good soil drainage is the most important factor to good healthy growth.  Adding sheep manure and compost to a herb bed is very beneficial to a good garden.  But, good soil with poor drainage will produce poor results.  Since most herbs have shallow roots, mulch well around the plants.  Use at least two inches of mulch to protect tender vegetation from the heat.  The mulch will keep weeds to a minimum and will make weeds easier to pull.  As the mulch breaks down, it will add additional humus to the soil.

When choosing a site for your herb garden, select a site that receives at least six hours of sunlight a day.  Accessibility is of primary importance in making your selection.  If you plan to use herbs in food preparation, then having the garden in view of the kitchen is a good idea.  Use those herbs for arrangements for the dining table as well as for food additions.  When designing your garden, keep in mind the growing season for each herb and the required space for each variety.  A schedule for warm weather herbs and cool weather herbs can be obtained from your local herb grower or from your county extension agent.  Lay out paths that allow you to harvest and care for them easily.  Keep a notebook on all the varieties that you plant and when they are ready to harvest.  Try a few that may be borderline growers for your area.  They may surprise you.

If you want to try herbs but are not ready to commit to a herb garden, plant herbs in pots.  They can be moved into and out of direct sunlight as needed.  Place them in a spot that receives a half day of sunlight and a half day of shade.  Potted herbs need frequent watering.  Since frequent watering leaches the nutrients away, be sure to replenish with a good balanced liquid fertilizer.  To prevent burns, water each time with a diluted fertilizer mixture.

Herbs don't mind company.  So if you don't have a designated spot for your herb garden, or you want to experiment with a few of your favorite herbs, plant them in flower beds.  Globe basil makes a wonderful border plant during the spring and summer.  I have French thyme cascading over a rock wall in my vegetable garden.  Rosemary (Rosemarinus prostrata) is another border compliment to a rose garden.

Growing herbs is fun and lifts your spirits.  Herbs attract bees, butterflies, birds and people.  Using herbs for cooking, flower arrangements and drying is food for the soul.  There are no failures in herb gardening, just experiences.  Have fun.

 


This web site is maintained by Master Gardener Laura Bellmore under the direction of William M. Johnson, Ph.D., County Extension Agent-Horticulture & Master Gardener Program Coordinator.

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