Pre-order to reserve your favorite plants for Spring 2013 shipping...
Empress Wu Hosta
The most talked about Hosta! Large, lush tropical looking foliage, learn more.
Grow Your Own Organic Herbs:
To cook the freshest food with sensational flavors, using fresh herbs is an absolute requirement. Fresh cut herbs provide essential anti-oxidants and other nutrients that dried herbs or cut herbs purchased in grocery stores lack. In addition to the added flavor that fresh herbs provide, growing your own herbs will actually save you money with very little effort!
What is an herb?
Herbs are simply a plant whose fresh or dried parts are used to season foods, provide fragrances, supply natural dyes or make industrial and pharmaceutical products. Culinary herbs are those whose fresh or dried leaves are used in cooking; some common culinary herbs are basil, French tarragon, cilantro, rosemary and thyme.
Culinary herbs are usually distinguished from spices, although the two categories overlap. Culinary herbs generally consist of fresh or dried leaves, while spices are seeds, roots, fruits, flowers and bark. Culinary herbs usually have a mild flavor, while spices tend to have a stronger, pungent flavor. Several common spices are cinnamon sticks, anise seeds and ginger roots.
Herb Selection: If you are just starting out growing your own herbs, the basic essential herbs for cooking are: basil, chive, dill, oregano, parsley, sage, rosemary, marjoram and thyme. These herbs can be grouped in "classic" herb gardens, and can be incorporated into flower beds or vegetable gardens. As you gain experience using herbs you may find yourself expanding your herb repertoire to include more commonly known herbs such as
chamomile and lesser known ones such as borage.
Where to grow herbs?
Herbs can be grown in small pots or containers as patio plants. You can incorporate herbs into perennial beds and borders or you can establish an "herb garden" in an area adjacent to your vegetable garden. How large of an area you dedicate to herbs depends on your own personal preference and on the amount of space that you have available.
When planting herbs either from seed or from established plugs and plants, always start with soil that has been amended with organic matter. For container plantings do not use garden soil as it is too heavy and will not drain properly, instead use a good quality organic potting soil that contains perilite for drainage. If you are growing herbs from seed, always use certified organic herb seed whenever possible.
Tips for Successfully Growing Herbs:
Most herbs will grow well with the same sunlight (6-8 hours), fertility, soil, growing conditions, and cultural techniques required by vegetables grown in hardy gardens.
The soil should not be extremely acid or alkaline; a soil nearly neutral is best for most herbs. A pH reading between 6.5 and 7.0 produces the best herbs.
Most herbs do not require a highly fertile soil. Highly fertile soils tend to produce excessive foliage that is poor in flavor.
Herbs grow best when soils have adequate organic matter. Add new organic matter every year to your herb beds.
Gardeners should pay special attention to drainage and moisture requirements of certain herbs, since many are very sensitive to soil moisture conditions. Sage, rosemary and thyme require a well-drained, slightly moist soil, whereas parsley, chervil and mint grow best on soils which retain moisture.
Growing herbs in raised beds is an easy way to correct soil and drainage problems.
Mints can be invasive; grow mints either in pots or in segregated areas of the garden.
Herbs make great container plants and can be added into container plantings with annuals such as violas and verbena for added splashes of color.
Grow herbs in a location that is convenient to harvest the herbs on a regular basis.
Herbs can be grown form seeds or planted as 3.5" plants. Slow growing herbs such as lavender, rosemary, sage and oregano will produce the first season if planted from 3.5" plants rather than grown from seed.
Amend your herbs beds every year with organic matter and follow up with monthly application of a kelp based liquid fertilizer such as Maxi-crop for best results.
Herbs like to be harvested! Your herbs will reward you with repeat growth if you use them on a regular basis.