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Growing Herbs

Herbs are a great addition to gardens and kitchens alike. Learn how to care for your plants here!

Herbs are carefree, interesting plants that serve many useful purposes. They have a history as old as mankind, and have been used to nourish, heal, and to make our world a more attractive place.

There are both annual (replant every year) and perennial (survive over winter) types of herbs. Herbs often do best in spots that are difficult for more fragile plants. Many will tolerate dry, infertile soil once they are established. Some herbs have better flavor if they are grown on the dry side – oils seem to intensify. Be careful not to over fertilize herbs because it may take away from their flavor.

PLANTING: Most herbs need full sun to do their best. They also need room to sprawl and grow. Pay special attention to the herbs that creep (like mint) because they can become rampant and easily take over a small garden. Consider growing these types in containers to control them.

Some herbs like thyme, oregano, rosemary and pennyroyal can be grown in rock gardens.

SOIL: All herbs appreciate well-drained soil, and most have better flavor if grown in soil that dries out a bit. The oil that is produced in the leaves, flowers, and stems is what gives herbs their flavor and scent. Herbs taste and smell best when they grow slowly because the oils become more concentrated. Do not plant herbs in soil that hardens like concrete. To soften this type of soil, amend it with additives like spaghnum peat moss and organic matter that will help with root growth.

HARVESTING: Generally speaking, leafy herbs can be harvested any time that there are enough
leaves to harvest. Herbs that are grown for their flowers, like lavender, should be harvested just
as the flowers begin to open. Seeds should be harvested when they have lost their greenish
color and are ready to drop.

DRYING: There are many ways to dry herbs after harvesting, including hanging in bunches and
microwave or conventional oven drying. Store dried herbs

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