Planting herbs is as easy as 1-2-3 and really isn't much different from planting an annual or perennial. When planting a new herb in a garden, just follow these basic steps (if you need tips on preparing the garden beforehand, see Chapter 4):
1. Using a trowel, dig a hole in a sunny spot with well-drained soil.
The hole should be slightly deeper and wider than the pot the herb is currently in. Add a little compost or other organic material to the bottom of the hole for the roots to grow into, and scrape the sides of the hole to loosen them, which encourages the herb's root system to grow beyond its current size.
2. Pop the plant out of its pot.
If tugging is necessary, handle the plant by its stem, never by its leaves. Using your fingers, gently tease the roots on the bottom loose and loosen some on the sides as well.
3. Plant the herb at the same depth it was growing in the pot (if you're not sure, look closely on the stem for a soil line).
Backfill soil in and around the hole, and firm everything into place with your hands to eliminate air pockets. Soak thoroughly.
When choosing a planting spot, be sure to find out and take into account your herb's expected mature size. You don't want it to be crowded or cramped; it won't be as healthy or productive.
Planting herbs in a container is a bit different from planting in a garden. Follow these steps:
1. First, choose an ample-sized pot and be sure it has a drainage hole in the bottom.
Most herbs can't tolerate wet feet.
2. Fill the pot with damp potting soil mix.
Pre-moistening the mix makes the job soooo much easier!
3. Eject the herb seedling from the pot you bought it in, place it in, and water it.
Containers, particularly clay pots, tend to dry out quickly, especially when placed in the sunny spots that herbs like. Although many herbs are tough customers and drought-tolerant, subjecting them to extreme cycles of drought and drenching causes stress. Don't neglect your potted herbs! Place them in plain sight or in an area you pass by often so you don't forget them.
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Learn what you can do with herbs! How to Plant, Grow, and Cook with Natural Herbs. Have you always wanted an herb garden but didn't know how to get started? Do you want to know more about growing your own herbs in the privacy of your home and using them in a variety of cooking?