You Can Always Do With Tips For Growing Herbs

Here are some of the best general tips for growing herbs:

  1. When buying grow lights you can buy special bulbs specifically for growing plants (these are usually purple in color), but many people report good results just using ordinary cool white fluorescent tubes. Don’t use incandescent bulbs, as they get too hot to be in very close proximity to the leaves of the plants.
  2. When installing grow lights, remember that a reflector (something home-made and simple using white plastic or tinfoil will do) above the lights will greatly improve their efficiency.
  3. Remember that grow lights need to be positioned right above the plants in order to have an effect. Too high above the leaves (more than an inch), and they lose their effectiveness almost completely. This makes grow lights less useful for larger plants.
  4. If you use store-bought potting mix for your herbs, then it should already be sterilized, meaning that there won’t be any insect eggs, live bugs, or weed seeds in it. If you want to use soil from your own garden instead, sterilize it first by cooking it in your oven or microwave. The microwave method is easiest – put a moderate amount of soil in a large zip-lock freezer bag and give it two minutes on full power with the top of the bag open. Then zip the bag closed and allow it to cool.
  5. Lots of common culinary herbs are originally from the Mediterranean Basin area (thyme, oregano, sage and rosemary just to name a few), and this means that they are: 1) sun-loving; 2) sensitive to over-watering, and 3) used to soil that is alkaline and drains very quickly. To mimic Mediterranean soil when growing them in pots, put an inch of coarse gravel in the bottom of your pots, and mix sand or perlite into your potting mix in a 1:1 ratio.
  6. Keep in mind that the conditions which make your herbs put out a lot of lush growth may not be the conditions which make their leaves taste or smell the best. Plenty of people believe that the flavor and aroma of herbs is much improved if the conditions in which they’re grown are ‘difficult’ (i.e. the soil is poorer quality and they don’t get much water).
  7. While most herbs are sun-loving, some should still be given shade during the hottest part of the day in summer. Basically, the herbs with flatter, greener leaves such as rocket, mustard, and parsley need some partial shade, while those with spikier, hardier leaves such as chervil thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, and French tarragon like full sun.
  8. One of the nice things about growing herbs is that their essential oils (which give them their lovely aromas and tastes) naturally repel insect pests. If pests do appear though, try submerging your potted herbs in water for 10-15 minutes. This should thoroughly kill any pests without the use of insecticides. Put them in direct sun to dry them quickly afterwards. Even though it’s great to get tips for growing herbs, nothing beats the 2 E’s – experimenting and experience!

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