If you like spending time in the kitchen cooking your favorite dishes then maybe growing garden herbs may also interest you. That’s not a bad idea. It makes things more convenient as the ingredients to your culinary creation are just an arms-length away. It saves you the trip to the store plus a ready supply of the freshest herbs will be at hand.
Home grown garden herbs can make your cooking experience much more flavorful in less time. But you may ask, “How do I create my own herb garden?” Good question, especially if you’re a cook, and not a gardener. But here is the good news; it’s not that hard. It might surprise you that you can set up a small herb garden with minimal gardening knowledge or equipment. What is great is that you can even do it in a small space and utilize easily available materials. It is also less taxing unlike other larger gardens. That is of course true if you don’t intend to go big time. For starters though, my advice is for you to try to get the feel of the experience then move on from there.
So back to the question, how do you start a herb garden? First, determine what you like to produce. What to plant and where to plant are two issues you have to resolve. Regarding the first, you must ascertain the suitability of certain garden herbs to their climatic requirements. Some plants prefer warmer climates, and others prefer it cooler. But this of course can be a minor concern as herbs generally thrive almost all year-round depending on care and management. What you should be concerned of is what you actually need for cooking. Like any garden, you have many options for layout and design when planning your herb garden. Do you prefer container gardening with the aromatic herbs just beside your kitchen? Maybe a full size raised-bed garden is what you like. Would you rather have a mixed garden with all the garden herbs and vegetables together? The choice is really yours for the taking based on what you want and the room you have. The next thing to look into is the planting medium, that is, the soil. Now this is where you have to be a little more serious, just like when you’re cooking. Using good quality soil and potting mix will give you better results, and reward you with nice tasting garden herbs fit for the dishes you create.
Soil is one of the most important factors to consider in gardening of any type. Plant growth and development to a large extent is dependent on good soil. Hence in planting garden herbs, careful attention must be given to the soil as this may make or break your efforts. Good soil must possess properties that promote the maximum potential of the plant. It should have at least 50% solids and 50% porous space allowing air and water to penetrate, and roots to development. The solid part of the soil is composed of inorganic matter, as well as organic matter such as decaying plant parts. The inorganic particles are generally a mixture of clay, silt and sand. This determines the soil texture. What is ideal is for you to have loam as your garden soil. This is a blend of 20% clay, 40% silt and 40% sand. Most gardeners prefer their soil to have good texture. This can be done by adding organic matter like chicken or cow manure. Organic matter is material that once was living, but now is dead and decaying. This include corncobs, sawdust, straw, hay, grass clippings, old fruit and vegetable scraps, etc., that can be turned into compost. These too are good sources of nutrients that enable growth. What is beneficial also is that these materials are readily available and can be a substitute to inorganic commercial fertilizers. By utilizing organic matter in gardening you contribute to sustainable, environment-friendly agriculture.
Many inexperienced gardeners think that garden herbs, or plants in general, can live with poor nutrition. They may survive (for a while), but they won’t thrive. Soil quality can have a direct bearing on the crop quality and quantity you harvest. So do everything to make your soil ideal. Improve on it when needed, and as you plan and experiment in your garden, think organic!