Planning a Late Spring Herb Garden
When winter starts to wane, many of us anxiously start looking forward to warmer weather so we can start planning our spring herb gardens.
Herbs are wonderful little plants that can be used for food and flavoring and they even medicinal uses. Yes, herbs like basil, thyme and parsley can add a definite flare to your cooking while cinnamon (lowers blood sugar), garlic (lowers cancer risk) and ginger (helps with nausea) are all proven home remedies.
When planting a spring herb garden, first choose an area that gets full sun for several hours a day, then clean it out. Herbs do well in both ground beds as well as raised containers, windows boxes, etc., so there’s always a spot for herbs. Most get larger that most realize so prepare yourself for their adequate site. If you’ve planted a garden before take care to clean around perennial herbs, like chives, lavender and spearmint, because they should come back due to their perennial habit.
Also, making sure you loosen the compacted soil by tilling or digging is crucial. That will allow the right amount of water to get into the soil, which makes the roots grow deeper and spread while also getting enough oxygen to them.
Before planting your herbs, you’ll want to check to make sure the soil is healthy and if you’ve already had a garden in the past, chances are it is. Still, the addition of organic compost, such as Daddy Pete’s Composted Cow Manure, which feeds the soil and helps with water retention and drainage, during the spring planting will only increase the chances of having a flourishing crop of herbs. We also highly recommend Fertilome Gardener’s Special granular fertilizer to incorporate into the soil when prepare for your herb planting.
To grow herbs you’ll need about one to four feet in diameter of space for each plant, depending on the plant. For instance, chives, dill and parsley need only one foot while rosemary, sage and oregano need up to four feet.
Once in the ground, don’t let the plants become too dry. Many herbs require water once the soil a couple inches down becomes dry so check it regularly but be careful not to water them too much. Also, mulching, which gives your plants more nutrient-rich materials, is important.
When your plants reach about six feet tall, cut off about a third of the branches, which will help them grow back quickly. Some plants grow new leaves from their core, which means the oldest branches should be removed. Pruning herbs often helps to remove old spend branching or flowers heads and creates new flourishing growth for more yield. Ask any of our greenhouse herb experts for more directions.
The best time to pick herbs is early in the day, after the dew has dried and the plants’ volatile oils, which give it its taste and aroma, haven’t gotten too heated.