One of the special pleasures of herb growers is having a constant supply of home grown herbs, from simple tea to culinary creations to fresh-cut flower bouquets, all best seen with aromatic herbs as part of the whole.
And many common herbs do very well in traditional gardens and indoor planters, even in the sunny area of an indoor window sill, allowing you to have fresh herbs ready to go in any season.
The fragrance of fresh herbs can bring great enjoyment when placed in a hallway and brushed against by hand or knee as you walk past.
Ensure adequate sun and soil
Imagine a hillside exposed to the sun, with rough, infertile soil, and then you will understand the common preferences of these herbs. Choose a corner of the garden that receives direct sunlight for at least six to eight hours a day; the more sun, the better since it only concentrates the aromatic oils and maintains the volume and density of the plants.
Excess shade makes them languish and diminishes flavor.
Indoors, herbs need as much natural sunlight as possible, which is why windows facing south or southeast are ideal for placement. If sunlight is not enough, supplement with extra lighting in the house.
No need to use grow lights, just any type of light. If the herbs lean toward the window, rotate the pots a quarter of the distance each time, you water the plants to ensure even growth.
Excellent drainage is essential, no matter how you grow your herbs. Poor drainage quickly leads to root problems, including rot. Plant your herbs in rough, fast-draining soil, so the roots receive both air and water. Potted herbs need good drainage holes for the water to flow freely.
Ensure the necessary water and nutrients
Well established herb gardens rarely need additional water except during a drought. Basil and parsley tolerate slightly more moisture well, but hardier and more water-efficient herbs, such as rosemary and sage, prefer slightly dry soil. Never leave the soil wet where there are sown herbs.
Water potted herbs until the soil feels moist and water runs out of the drainage holes. Water again when the top 1-inch (2.54 cm) layer of soil feels dry. You can water them occasionally with the sprayer in your kitchen sink, but avoid excess water on the dishes.
Choosing Containers and Companions
Herbs are compatible with various types of pots, from indoor hanging baskets and patio pots to narrow window pots, but the soil in the pots dries faster than the soil in the garden.
Small pots dry first and outdoor pots exposed to wind and direct sunlight dry faster than sheltered pots indoors; therefore, you should consider this when watering.
The materials in the pots also influence the growing conditions and the ability of the roots to breathe. Porous terra cotta pots allow air and moisture to pass through the sides, top, and bottom, but they dry faster than enamelled or plastic pots and need more detailed monitoring and maintenance.
Due to the similarity of their requirements and qualities, herbs such as rosemary, sage, and thyme are ideal plants to plant together and complement each other in pots. The more vigorous mints and chives are somewhat more hostile and tend to occupy the entire territory; therefore, it is better to sow them alone in the pot, either indoors or outdoors.
Cultivate to prolong the enjoyment
Every time you grow herbs, harvest them frequently to keep them full and productive. To keep your plants looking good, especially if you are using them as a decorative item, remove the stems from the entire plant.
Cut the stems just above a cluster of new leaves as this encourages branch growth and gives the grass a balanced, natural appearance. For larger crops, trim evenly around the entire plant.
Flowering slows leaf growth and causes some herbs like basil to turn bitter. Prune your plants regularly, remove buds to prevent flowers from opening, or use flowering herbs for decoration rather than cooking.
Herbs like sage, oregano, and rosemary do well from simple cuttings. Share your plants, fresh as well as dried, by turning cut branches into new plants for family and friends.