Annuals, perennials, and biennials, you’ve heard the names before. Herb garden plants are no exception. Herbs come in a variety of different types, with multiple uses however, each one is characteristically different. In order to choose the best herb that will be the most useful to you, research your herb to gain better knowledge and understanding of the basic differences and their proper use. This article will help you in your pursuit.
The first question to ponder is can herbs produce and in what season? Basil, cilantro and summer savory are considered Annuals and will not survive the first frost if left outdoors. There are usually started from an herbs seed or small plant each year. Sage and winter savory are examples of Perennials. They will return each year because they can survive the colder winter temperatures. Biennial herbs however, live in “cycles”. They first produce leaves in the first growing season, then flower and seed in the second. But then they die. A few examples are parsley, angelica or caraway. These herbs should be replanted in late spring directly into your own fresh herb garden outdoors.
To prepare the soil for growing garden herbs, either rototill the ground or work the soil by hand into a fine texture. A pitchfork works great to loosen the soil. (Rototilling is much easier though) Then slightly wet the surface. Form shallow rows then plant the herbs seed every so deeply to make sure the soil is covering the top of the seed. Fine herb seeds can be planted in a mixture of sand and soil. This will allow them to spread more evenly. After the planting, the seed must then germinate. It is best to place wet burlap or wet newspaper on top of the bed in order to keep the soil moist.
Herbs are also grouped in a much different way than their seasonal characteristics. Most herb gardeners prefer the use of culinary herbs (growing kitchen herbs), which are the most popular, and the most useful of all the herbs. Culinary herbs provide a vast range of different uses in cooking. Culinary herbs tend to produce strong flavors such as chives, basil, marjoram, thyme, sage and savory. They are generally plucked fresh from the garden because they are used in small quantities to add strong flavor while cooking. Parsley adds even more popularity to the group because the herb it is used mostly as a garnish and to freshen a persons breathe after a meal.
The second most popular characteristic of herbs is Aromatic herbs such as loyage, mint and rosemary. The oils of these the herbs flowers and foliage are used to produce many different types of perfumes, toilet water, talc, and soaps as well as various other products. Parts of the herbs themselves have been known for usage to scent linens or clothing in a dresser drawer or closet. These herbs are also used for Potpourri due to the fact that they retain their fragrance for long periods of time. Lemon Verbena or Lavender are a great usage in potpourri.
Beauty is another aspect of herbs. The foliage and flowers can produce an ornamental appeal. Valerian, known for its crimson blossoms, is one example of home garden herbs various light colored flowers. Borage and Chicory are also known for their gorgeous blue flowers.
Of course let us not forget the medicinal purposes of herbs. Herbs have been known for their medicinal purposes since the beginning of time. These are the curing herbs, a benefit to ones health. The medical profession is just now recognizing the full potential of medicinal herbs. There are many books available on the subject on our home page. Be sure to check them out! A word of warning however, these herbs should be used with caution. Some herbs can be harmful if used improperly. Some even can be dangerous if eaten. Some can cause death…that is why it is extremely important to research each and every herb you are considering before growing any herb in your own home herb garden.
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