Your first herb garden plan will need some thought, but you will find subsequent updates and upgrades both easy and immensely enjoyable as well. Do not let prospects of a little hard work put you off. You are certain to be overjoyed by the fruits of your labors, and to spend a delightful life-time in the company of beguiling leaves, flowers, bark, and roots!
A decision to grow useful plants may have roots in a love for nature, or because one comes across enticing culinary, medicinal, and other uses all of a sudden. It is tempting to procure seeds and cuttings from every available source, and to start planting as soon as possible. However, establishing an herb garden plan can save on both subsequent costs and disappointments as well. Why must an apparently simple pastime need such a methodical approach? Rushing in with the first alternative that comes to mind is unlikely to result in an optimal collection, because all growers and enthusiasts do not share the same preferences and aims for their hobbies.
Your herb garden can be informal with a mixture of herbs, flowers and vegetables, or it may be formal with paths and herb beds laid out in simple or complex patterns. The dividing line between an amateur garden and commercial planting can be tenuous, so it pays to keep the long term horizon in view when making any herb garden plan. Even those who prefer to leave their plant collections and cultivations to experts would do well to think through the major steps of a typical herb garden plan, so that detailed work and activities meet broad goals.
If you have limited space, herbs grown well in a variety of containers make an attractive display on a balcony, walk or patio.
Choosing Your Herb Garden Site
When selecting an area for growing herbs, pick an area where the sun shines 4 to 6 hours or more per day. The afternoon sun is strongest and is preferable in northern climates. In the South, herbs need some shade in the afternoon. If water remains on top of the soil, drainage is poor and herb growth will be unsatisfactory. Your garden site must be well drained.
If a badly drained site is the only site available you can create a raised bed. Use brick, stone or landscape timbers for containment. Adding a great deal of organic matter will improve drainage in heavy clay soils. You can also use a mounded bed. A mounded bed does not require an edging at all, this look is more appropriate in an informal herb garden plan.
Because a garden is a very personal endeavor, the selection of plants to be used is a matter of individual preference. The type of garden decided upon also affects the choice.
Herbs may be a tree, vine, shrub, or bulb, most herbs are herbaceous (non-woody) plants. Some herbs, such as rosemary, lavender and hyssop, may become semi-shrubs with woody stems, especially in temperate zones. As with other plants, herbs classified as annuals have but one season of growth, though some may reseed. Biennials have two seasons of growth, producing leaves the first year and then flowering and producing seed the second year. The biennial herbs include some species of Carum carvi (caraway), Digitalis (foxglove) and Petroselinum (parsley). Perennials have ongoing growth, some of them lasting several seasons, others for years.
A more dynamic herb garden plan might involve hydroponics with artificial light and heat, yielding options that may not be typical for the surrounding area. Setting budgetary limits for both initial investment and for recurring costs are worth freezing very near the outset of a herb garden plan, lest an exciting idea remains merely on paper, on in an electronic file, for want of funds! Questions related to organic cultivation versus the use of chemical inputs, the total output of each required herb, and the overall appearance of a landscape due to the range of plants, are other major policy aspects which can point a detailed herb garden plan in the right direction for your ambitions.
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