What are herbs? How Can I Make an Herb Bed?
Herbs have been around for a long time and continue to bring joy to the gardener. In the past, herbs were grown in formal beds exclusively on their own. This is still a charming way to grow them, but they also can be planted in the flower garden as many people enjoy their attractive flowers and foliage. Add them to your seasonal yard and garden landscape for added beauty.
Many herbs, such as sage, thyme, and basil, have unusually colored and textured leaves. You can use some of the hybrid
varieties in the same way as the common types of herbs, although their flavor may be a little different than what you would normally expect.
Generally, herb gardens should be planted in the full sun. Many herbs originated in the dry climate of the Mediterranean, but will also grow well in raised beds with good drainage. The exceptions to this being parsley, mint, and sorrel, which prefer full shade, and marjoram, which likes semi-shade. You should plant mint and lemon balm in a container or bucket of some sort with the bottom removed to contain the roots.
Most herbs are perennial, but some, such as dill, basil, and coriander, are annuals and have to be sown each year. Parsley is difficult to germinate, so it is worth buying small plants from a garden center. Often many seedlings are sown together in one pot. If you do, divide them carefully and replant. It is a biennial, so sow each year to keep up the supply. August is the best time for this. Try using your potting bench to pot up your herb plants, as well as for starting your seeds.
Making an Herb Bed
1.Dig over the plot carefully, removing weeds, and allow the soil to settle for a week or two. Mark out the bed with string, and set out the paths with paving slabs or bricks, setting these in on a bed of sand. Add soil mix to the planting squares and, for heavy soils roughly rake in a spadeful of harp sand per yard.
2.In the least sunny part of your herb bed, position the parsley, mint, and sorrel. They will take some shade and do not like dry soil. Incorporate some extra organic matter in this segment if necessary. Plant the mint in an old tin bucket with the bottom knocked out to curb its invasiveness, and then complete the planting of this square.
3.In the other segments, position the larger plants such as rosemary,sage, and fennel. Give them plenty of room to spread out. Plant them, and then fill the spaces in between with smaller herbs such as tarragon, thyme, and savory.
4.Try finishing up the edges of the beds with chives. Carefully divide up a clump and plant each bulb in position.
5.When the rest of the planting is completed, plant the bay in the center bed. The soil here should be deeply dug and well prepared, as a bay tree will grow happily here for many years. You can keep it clipped to the size that you want, and it makes a beautiful centerpiece. In cold regions, grow the bay in a container and move it indoors in winter.
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