Herb gardening for beginners! Or maybe I should have called this page herb gardening for dummies. After you read how I went about it when I first started perhaps you`ll agree with me.
Most books and articles on the subject make it all look so easy, and it is if you follow the advice in them. Hopefully you will not make the same boo-boos as I did when you witness for yourself my awfully bad mistakes.
The fact that the grand kids herbs were so sturdy compared to mine shows how easy it can be if you follow the rules and then place them in the right position. Don't be a smart Alec like me who didn't read the instructions carefully. Its child's play really!
Spot the big mistake in the picture below! Can you tell what is wrong with my first time attempt? At a glance it looks great. The seeds are all planted and labelled in the propagator like we're all set to go right? Wrong! In just a few days some of the seedlings sprouted before others because, silly me, I planted a variety of seeds for a simple herb garden all in the same propagator.
It was exciting to see them sprout but then it dawned on me, they won`t all pop through at the same time. Some were taking much longer than others. Do I uncover them or leave them covered? What to do?
What I did or rather didn't do next was an even bigger mistake! I let them be, waiting for the rest of the seedlings to appear. The results! As you can see in my photo, long spindly seedlings.
To try and rectify all of this
which just added to my frustration, I set about the delicate task of
transferring the spindly seedlings to pots which took an enormous
amount of my time and patience. See here how I planted my herbs to correct the problem.
To summarise here are 7 major guidelines to save you from being "led up the garden path" and experiencing the same dumbo beginner boo-boos.
1. It you are planting several different herbs from seed use small separate propagators or plant them directly into the pots they will grow in. Believe me, it saves a lot of unwanted aggro!
2. Cover them with film wrap or any clear cover but as soon as they pop through the soil, remove it.
My 10 year old grandson had the sense to follow instructions on the seed packet and pointed this out to me after he learned how my efforts had turned out.
3. Keep them in a warm, light place during the propagating process, not in a draughty environment which will only slow down their growth.
4. Use a grow light when you don't have a bright spot indoors.
I used my light during a long spell of dull weather but found that after about 10 days of periodically using it the seedlings had really established themselves.
5. Leave them to settle in natural warm light.
Mine faired better when I stopped moving them around and left them in the same place, basking in the warm sun when it eventually did show its face..
6. Keep an eye on them when the sun hits that window.
Water can evaporate quickly so give them a good water in the evening or early morning before the sun comes up. But when it's not so hot don't water if the soil is damp.
7. Don't feast on your plants too early.
Let them grow a little before you start to reap. When they are big enough pinch from the tips, don't take the lower, bigger leaves that are the main chlorophyll factories.
The choice of herb garden plants to start with can be a combination based on the ingredients of recipes you like. For an Italian pesto sow some basil and garlic. If the kids love Margherita pizza grow plenty of Parsley, Basil and Oregano. To make Falafel a Middle Eastern chick pea dish grow jalapeño chillies, coriander, and Parsley.
Hint of Herbs is where you will get to know me a whole lot better as I busy about in my daily life. Read short snippets of herb garden related topics. Little interesting things that don`t normally find their way onto my pages.
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