How to Grow and Care for Herbs

Herbs are a brilliant addition to any garden; they’re versatile, edible and often look just as good as flowers. You can grow herbs even if you have limited space, they will happily flourish on window sills, in pots and containers. There is enormous variety in what we know to be herbs and you’re sure to find a selection of herbs to suit your garden and climate. You can grow herbs in separate parts of the garden, creating your own herb display or you can mix things up a little by planting herbs amongst your other flowers. Herbs will blend well with any design, from a cottage garden to a Mediterranean style space.

Growing Herbs

Usually, herbs prefer to be planted in full sun with some protection from cold winds during the winter months. Certain herbs will not grow well in certain types of soil but most prefer soil with good drainage and lots of organic matter worked in.

Chives, fennel, balm and mint can all cope well with heavier soils while Mediterranean herbs prefer a warm spot with dry soil. If you are unsure whether you can plant certain varieties in your garden, find out about their natural habitat first.

Herbs can be planted almost anywhere in your garden. You don’t have to create a dedicated area for herbs; you can grow them in borders, raised beds, patio pots, hanging baskets or window boxes. You may want herbs close to your kitchen, in which case, hanging baskets, window sills or a raised bed by the door are the best places to plant.

Herbs are also excellent companion plants if you are trying to get rid of pests organically; herbs are your best option. Herbs that have a strong odour can protect vulnerable roses, fruit and vegetables from the likes of aphids and other common pests. If you have problems with pests look towards curry plants, rue, cotton lavender, chives and garlic. Plant them amongst your at-risk plants.

Caring for Herbs

Caring for Herbs
Herbs are relatively low maintenance when planted in beds they only need watering during long periods of drought or extremely hot weather. Herbs in pots and hanging baskets need regular watering in summer. Try to avoid using a high-nitrogen fertiliser on your herbs because this will encourage softer growth and cause your herbs to lack aroma.

Top up a layer of loose mulch to prevent weeds and reduce moisture loss every spring. Different herbs need different conditions, so think about what your herbs prefer before making mulch.

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