Container Gardening,  Edible Gardening

Top 5: Prepping for Your Herb Garden

Now that it is March, it is time to start thinking about your own herb garden.  First establish which zone you live in for hardy planting….see my previous post

herb plants.Most herbs seeds can be planted outside, once the danger of frost has passed.  However, horticultural expert, Doug Johnson says when dealing with herbs, it is more advantageous to plant a seedling in your garden or containers, instead of from seed.

Doug Johnson, hordiculturist and branch manager of MNI, Direct Wholesale Nursery
Doug Johnson, horticulturist and branch manager of MNI Direct Wholesale Nursery

Planting from seed will require you to thin out the plant during the season.  Here are his top 5 things to do, right now, to prepare for an herb garden.

5.  GET AN ASSESSMENT OF YOUR SOIL QUALITY.  If you are growing in containers, a good vegetable soil can be purchased and plants can be put directly in the soil.  If you are planting a new garden area, get a quart baggie soil sample from several areas of the garden.  Take the soil samples to your local extension office.  They will be able to tell you if you need to add lime or fertilizer to your soil, in order to optimize the nutrients needed for your plants.

4.  PREPARE THE GROUND. Rake out any rocks and sticks, while turning the soil over.  Remember herbs do best in 8-10 hours of sun; late afternoon shade is best.  Add compost or organic material to your soil, if necessary.

3.  PLOT YOUR GARDEN. Doug recommends using graph paper and draw out your garden to scale.  Be aware of your plants mature height and size are when plotting your garden.  Do not put small plants behind tall plants which could block the sunlight.

2. START SEEDLINGS INDOORS NOW.  Make sure to use SEEDLING SOIL in order to develop a good root structure.  Keep soil moist but not wet.  Soil should look a dark brown.  If you decide to use peat pellets, only put 2-3 seeds in each pellet.  After germination pull out growth, so only one plant remains.  Doug recommends using a grow light to optimize the health of your seedlings

1. TRANSPLANT SEEDLINGS AFTER DANGER OF FROST HAS PASSED. If  seeds were started in a pellet or peat pot, just plant the whole thing in the ground. Tear some of the peat pot off and plant 3/4 in the ground. Mound the soil up, to the soil line of the plant. If seeds were planted in a plastic cell pack, tip it upside down to dislodge the plant, and plant 3/4 of the plant in the ground, mounding the soil  Never pull on the seedling itself.  You will know the seedlings are ready to be transplanted when at least 3-4 sets of “true leaves” have appeared…





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