Growing Your Own Herbs

If you’re not the type of person that wants to spend their time managing
an elaborate fruit or vegetable garden, you might consider planting and
maintaining an herb garden. While the product might not seem as
significant, you’ll still enjoy the constant availability of fresh,
delicious herbs to flavor your meals with.

First you’ll want to choose the herbs that you’ll plant. You might have a
hard time doing this because of the huge scope of herbs available. But the
best way to choose is to do what I did; just look at what you have in your
kitchen. By planting your own collection of these herbs, you can save
money on buying them from the grocery store while having the added benefit
of freshness. Some of the herbs you might start with include rosemary,
sage, basil, dill, mint, chives, and parsley among others.

When choosing an area to put your herb garden, you should remember that
the soil should have extremely good drainage. If the dirt gets watered and
stays completely saturated, you have no chance of ever growing a healthy
plant. One of the best ways to fix the drainage problem is to dig a foot
deep in the soil, and put a layer of crushed rocks down before replacing
all the soil. This will allow all that water to escape, thus saving your
plants.

When you are ready to begin planting herbs, you might be tempted to buy
the more expensive plants from the store. However, with herbs it is much
easier to grow them from seed than it is with other plants. Therefore you
can save a bundle of money by sticking with seed packets. Some herbs grow
at a dangerously fast rate. For example, if you plant a mint plant in an
open space then it will take over your entire garden in a matter of days.
The best way to prevent this problem is to plant the more aggressive
plants in pots (with holes in the bottom to allow drainage, of course).

When it comes time to harvest the herbs you have labored so hard over, it
can be fatal to your plant to take off too much. If your plant isn’t well
established, it isn’t healthy to take any leaves at all, even if it looks
like its not using them. You should wait until your plant has been well
established for at least several months before taking off any leaves. This
wait will definitely be worth it, because by growing unabated your plant
will produce healthily for years to come.

Once you’ve harvested your delicious home grown herbs, you’ll want to use
them in cooking. Why else would you have grown them? Well first the
process begins with drying them out. This is easily achieved by placing
them on a cookie sheet and baking them 170 degrees Fahrenheit for 2 to 4
hours. After they’re sufficiently dried to be used in cooking, you can
consult the nearest cookbook for instructions on using them to effectively
flavor a dish.

If you want to store your herbs for later usage, you should keep them in a
plastic or glass container. Paper or cardboard will not work, because it
will absorb the taste of the herbs. During the first few days of storage,
you should regularly check the container and see if any moisture has
accumulated. If it has, you must remove all the herbs and re-dry them. If
moisture is left from the first drying process, it will encourage mildew
while you store your herbs. Nobody likes mildew.

So if you enjoy herbs or gardening, or both, then you should probably
consider setting up an herb garden. It might require a little bit of work
at first to set it up for optimal drainage, and pick what herbs you want
to grow. But after the initial hassle, it’s just a matter of harvesting
and drying all your favorite herbs.

Herb Gardening

Herbs have been around since time immemorial and served different kinds of purposes. They have been used to treat illness and flavour cooking; they were even believed to have magical powers. Do you want to have your own herb garden? Here are a few ideas on how to establish an herb garden.

Plan your garden.

Consider the herbs you want to plant. Think about their types. Would you like annuals, biennials or perennials?

How much space will they occupy in your garden? If you want, you can purchase a book that can give you the right information on what specific plants you are planning to grow.

List or draw your garden on paper first. Separate the annuals from the perennials so when the time comes that you have to pull out the annuals, you won’t be disturbing the perennials. Perennials can be planted on the edge of your garden so when it is time to till your garden they won’t be in danger of getting dug up.

Another thing to remember is that you have to plant the tall ones at the back and the shorter ones in front. Also, provide your plants with enough space to grow. Proper position shall help you in this area.

If you would rather keep herbs out of your garden (and some are quite invasive) you could have herb pots. These are large containers with three or more outlets for the herbs. Fill the pot up to the first outlet and plant it before continuing on with the filling and planting process. Usually, the herb that requires the most water is planted in the bottom hole, while the variety that requires the least, goes in the highest hole.

Some Design Ideas

You can consider having a square herb bed. You can have your square bed divided into four by two paths crossing at mid point measuring 3 feet. You can border it with stone or brick. A wooden ladder may also do the trick. You can lay it down on your garden and plant your herbs between its rungs. You can also choose to have a wagon wheel bed. Planting here is like planting with the wooden ladders. Plant your herbs in between the wagon wheel’s wedges.

Get Your Plants Growing

Of course, different plants have different needs, but many of them require alkaline soil. This is the reason why you have to determine the herbs you want to plant in the planning stage. This can more or less help you find out how you should care for your plants. If you germinate your herbs from seeds, remember to follow the directions on the packet for soil, watering and temperature.

Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. You just have to provide them with an effective drainage, sunlight, enough humidity or moisture and fertile soil. Even with just minimally meeting these requirements they will be bound produce a good harvest.

Vegetable Gardening Tips

With the costs of living rising all the time, it may be possible to save money and increase your family’s health at the same time by growing vegetables in your backyard.

It’s a good idea to choose your favourite vegetables to grow and plan beds for early, middle of the season and late varieties.

Most vegetables require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day, some need 8. Some quick growers like lettuce and radish can be grown between the rows of plants that take longer to mature, like beet or corn, thus making full use of the area available.

Throughout dry periods, vegetable gardens need extra watering. Most vegetables benefit from an inch or more of water each week, especially when they are fruiting.

During the growing season watch for insect pests. If you discover a bug problem early it will be much easier, but be careful to not use pesticides once the vegetable are close to being picked unless it becomes an absolute necessity. Organic gardening is one healthy and environment-friendly option. Once you have reaped your crop, put the vegetable waste into your compost pile so that it can be recycled for next spring.

It is important to protect your vegetable garden from wild animals looking for a tasty treat. Make sure your garden is surrounded by a fence that will keep out dogs, rabbits, and other animals. The harm done by wandering animals during one season can equal the cost of a fence. A fence also can serve as a frame for peas, beans, tomatoes, and other crops that need support.

Protection is needed in order for your vegetable garden to yield a bountiful harvest. Hard work will pay dividends if necessary precautions have been made.

Getting Started in Container Gardening

Sometimes, the urge to garden might be stomped out by other circumstances,
such as living arrangements or space constrictions. If you live in an
apartment, you can’t really operate a full garden, just because you don’t
really have a yard! I think that one of the best solutions for this
problem is to grow plants in containers. You can hang these, or just
arrange them on your patio, window sill or balcony. Just a few baskets or
pots, and your whole living area will look much classier and nicer.

A benefit of growing in small containers is the fact that you can move
them around to suit your needs. If you rearrange your furniture and you
think that it would look nicer if it was in the other area, it’s no
trouble at all to scoot it over. As long as the lighting is about the
same, your plant shouldn’t mind the transition at all. Another benefit of
the containers’ versatility is the fact that you can adapt it to simulate
any environment depending on the type of soil you fill it with and where
you place it.

If you are trying to make an aesthetically pleasing arrangement of
containers and plants, you can adjust the containers to be at different
heights by hanging them from the ceiling or placing them on supports.
Hanging them will allow you to make the most of the space you have. This
is called “vertical gardening”. If you pull it off right, you can make a
very pleasing arrangement of plants while conserving your valuable space.
If you live in an apartment, you know how important it is to conserve
space! One method of vertical gardening is the use of a wooden step
ladder. If painted correctly, you can arrange all the plants on it in a
beautiful, stylish cascade of color.

The maintenance of container plants takes slightly more time, since you
have to water more often and go around to each individual container.
However, the square footage for container plants is much less than that of
an actual garden, so the time spent on maintenance and watering is more
balanced. It is important that you don’t over-water your container plants,
as this can be just as fatal to their health as under-watering.

When choosing containers for your plants, you’ll want to buy them all at
once along with some extras in case they break or you add more plants
later. You don’t want them to be all the same shape and size, but
definitely the same style so that the compliment each other. Plastic
containers are the best and require the least amount of watering, but if
you want to stick with clay or earthen pots then you should line the
inside with plastic. This helps it retain water more, as the clay will
soak up water.

Another thing to remember when buying pots is the fact that the size of
the pot will ultimately constrict the size of the plant. Make a careful
choice of pots according to what you wish to grow in each one. If you
search for the plant you chose on the internet, you should be able to find
specifications as to how much root space it should be given. This can even
be an advantage for you if you choose a plant that can grow very large. If
you only have a limited amount of space for it, you can constrict it by
choosing a pot that isn’t large enough to support huge amounts of growth.

If the benefits of container gardening sound appealing to you, then you
should start planning out your container garden today. If you write a list
of all the plants you desire to have, you can do the necessary research to
find out what size and shape of pots you should get. After that, it’s just
a matter of arranging them in a way that makes your home look the nicest.

easy tips on how to care for your plants

Many people worry a lot when it comes to caring for their plants. When talking about house plants, there is no need to worry. There are just a few things you need to consider.

1. Watering
Overwatering kills most houseplants. Looks can be deceptive, so to see if your soil is dry enough to water, try the finger test. Insert your index finger up to the first joint into the soil. If the soil is damp, don’t water it.

2. Feeding
Foliage plants usually have high nitrogen needs, while flowering plants, K2O is needed. Slow release fertilizers can be mixed with the compost. However, certain plants like cacti and orchids need special fertilizer. Feed plants during their most active growth period.

3. Lighting
Plants like Sanseveria and Aspidistra require no sun. They can be placed away from a window. Spider plants need semi-shade. You can put plants like these near a window that does or does not get sunlight. Check the label to see what your plant needs.

4. Temperature
Houseplants can survive in cool or warm temperatures, but drastic fluctuations of temperature may not be good for them. One thing that most plants cannot survive is gas heating. If you have a plant that likes warm conditions, don’t put it near an air conditioner in the summer.

5. Humidity
Some houseplants require a humid environment. One tip to maximize humidity is to put the pot inside a larger pot and fill in the gaps with stones or compost to keep in the moisture. Grouping plants together often creates a microclimate that they will benefit from. If you want, you can spray them with water once or twice a day depending on the temperature.

6. Re-potting
Some plants require re-potting for optimum growth but there are others that resent having their roots disturbed. Or their roots system may be small enough that they don’t require re-potting. One way to check if your plant needs re-potting is to turn it upside down. Tap the pot to release the plant and check its roots. If roots are all you see, then re-pot. Sometimes the roots will come out of the pot. You should either cut them off or re-pot the plant.

You just need to have a little care for your plants and in turn, you’ll reap the benefits. Indoor plants not only add to the beauty of your décor, but also give much pleasure to the indoor gardener.