How to Winterize Your Home Herb Garden

In order for your herb plants to survive harsh winter conditions you want to be sure to winterize your herb garden. This will enable your plants to come back strong in the spring to continue to provide you with a great bountiful harvest.

Winterizing your home herb garden is not rocket science. Mother Nature has her own magical way of preparing for winter and you will see, as fall approaches, a slowdown in the growth of your plants. Your herb plants will begin to lose their leaves. Don’t be alarmed if your perennial herb plants look as if they are dead. They are not dead. They are merely dormant – hibernating, so to speak, to survive the winter.

There are a several reasons you want to pay attention to the condition of your soil as winter approaches. Many herbs like their feet dry anyway because they are from the Mediterranean. Thyme, rosemary and lavender actually prefer dry soil. But you should be aware that wet soil will wick the heat away from your herb plants. Also, water freezes and can crack the roots of your plants.

“Old Man Winter” can be quite hard on your plants. Be sure to take a few extra steps to care for them for their winter protection and survival. Herbs are especially prone to root rot over the winter if they are sitting in wet soil.

Definitely do not fertilize or prune your plants at this time. You don’t want tender new growth getting nipped by the cold. You can, however, go ahead trim out dead or damaged stems and foliage.

The best protection you can give your herb plants is mulch. If winter temperatures in your area generally fall below -10 degrees Fahrenheit you will want to lay down lightweight organic mulch around your plants. Shredded leaves, pine needles or straw will do the trick. Some people even use sawdust. However, if you want your herb garden to continue to have a more manicured look, you will most likely opt for a commercial mulch mix. Stay away from whole leaves or heavier mulches as these can suffocate your plants.

I know you want to make sure your herbs see it through to another summer, so what you do throughout their growing season is vital. If you haven’t paid much attention to “lightening up” your soil throughout the summer months, please make it a priority when fall comes calling. It’s the best way to help ensure herbal survival through the winter months.

Your small annual herbs are perfect for digging up and putting them in pots to spend the winter indoors. Find a sunny windowsill or plug in the fluorescent light. This way you can continue to have fresh herbs.

Even though we all know the most fun in herb gardening is planting your seeds, watching them sprout and grow strong to provide you with wonderful herbs for cooking or other purposes, you do want to pay close attention to winterizing your herb garden. Taking the few steps to winterize your herb garden will enable your plants to come back strong next season.

Linda Stevens has been herb gardening for over 10 years. Her exclusive book, “From Design to Harvest: Your Comprehensive Guide to Starting a Home Herb Garden” will teach budding herb gardeners absolutely everything they need to know about home herb gardening [http://www.homeherbgardentips.com/hhgt.html].

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Secrets For Creating the Perfect Home Herb Garden

A home herb garden both a wonderful hobby and a constant source of delicious, fresh herbs for cooking. Starting your own home herb garden takes a little work, but the results are worth it.

So what’s the first step in creating the perfect home herb garden? Let’s begin by choosing the right spot to set up your garden. Most herbs prefer full sun, so select a place which has at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day. Remember container gardens and even the kitchen windowsill is great options for first time herb gardeners. A helpful hint is if your herb garden is outside, try to have it close to your kitchen door. The idea is to make access to your herbs as simple as possible.

Next step is to decide what you’d like to plant. Usually this is as simple as looking around your kitchen or checking out you spice rank to see which herbs you are currently using. A few recommendations are basil, chives, dill and parsley. Again, tailor your herb garden to your particular tastes and favorites.

Step three is gathering supplies and getting your garden planted. Basic supplies are containers, soil and the plants themselves. When choosing your plants, you have the options seed or starter plants.

Many herbs are quite easy to start from seed, so either choice is a great option. If you are starting your herbs from seed, remember seedlings need a lot sun, 12 – 14 hours, to help them germinate. Seeds can take several weeks to begin growing, so if you don’t seem them pop up right away, don’t worry, you’re doing everything correctly.

Water your herbs regularly. Containers should have good drainage; herbs no not like soggy dirt! If your garden is indoors, remember to place a drip tray or saucer under the pots to prevent water damage to your window sill or furniture.

Once your plants are growing, you’re on your way. Now it’s just a matter of keeping an eye on them. You’ll want to continue watering, making sure the soil says moist, but never soggy or wet. Thin out unhealthy plants, allowing the stronger ones to have more space to grow.

The final step is harvesting your herbs. Rule of thumb is to harvest in the mornings before the sun dries the dew. Harvest just what you’ll be using right away, unless you have the time to dry the extra herbs you are picking. It is important that you not harvest more than one third of the plant. Herbs need their leaves to gather energy in order to grow back. The great part about home-grown herbs is you have a convenient, constant supply, so if when you need more; you just pick a few more leaves.

Congratulations now are you have the luxury of your own home herb garden. Experiment with new herbs, hard to find herbs and those pricey specialty ones you hesitate to buy in the grocery store.  Above all, enjoy the difference of having a fresh, delicious supply of herbs!

A. G. Coco is an herb gardening enthusiast and writer. For more great information about creating and caring for your home herb garden [http://www.growingfreshherbs.com/home-herb-garden/], visit [http://www.growingfreshherbs.com/].

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Home Herb Gardens – 5 Steps to Creating a Home Herb Garden

Imagine fresh rosemary to go next time you make that famous pot roast of yours, or sweet-smelling tarragon in sumptuous quiches or fragrant lemongrass in that mouth-watering Thai delicacy. And imagine if you had grown all these herbs yourself! That is precisely what a home herb garden would do for you- provide fresh, organic herbs every time you need them, without even having to rush out of your home.

Creating a home herb garden is very simple. It does not need much space. In fact, a nice bright and airy space on your kitchen window sill would do. With proper planning, anyone can start working on a small home herb garden.

1. Planning:

First of all, you have to decide about what you exactly want in your home herb garden. Choose the herbs that you would want to grow. To start with, it is better to grow herbs which need little maintenance and grow quickly. Also, plan how many varieties and quantity of herbs you can squeeze in the area available for your herb garden. Do not embark upon having a crowded home herb garden at the beginning. Small scale is the keyword for beginners. Make arrangements to procure the seeds of the herbs you have decided upon.

2. Space Arrangement:

Next, analyse the place available for your home herb garden. Most of the herbs would require airy space and sunshine. You could even change the position of your plants to catch the sun over the whole day. In such cases, make it a point to have smaller pots so that they are easier to move. Also, keep ready a good source of water for the plants, in case that is an issue.

3. Potting and other measures:

Attend to preparation of pots for the herbs. Make sure they are of the appropriate size to suit the herb. It is important to ensure that the pots have proper drain facility. Blocked drains would ruin the herbs. While putting the seeds in pots, be careful that they are not planted too deep. That would hinder with their ability to sprout. In case you are using an already planted plant, ensure that the transferring of plant into the pot does not to harm the roots.

The great thing about having your own home herb garden is that you can be certain of the quality of the herbs grown. Be sure to use only natural manure for your herbs, and keep the produce as organic as possible.

4. Maintenance:

Ensure regular maintenance of the herbs. They should be methodically watered. Occasional spraying of the shoots enables the whole plant to be fresh and bright. Trim the shoots to get rid of dry leaves and move the pots around to catch the most of sunshine.

5. Use help:

Last of all, do not hesitate to use assistance from experts, who would be able to give valuable advice regarding the better ways to grow your herbs.

Now, go ahead, create your home herb garden and receive compliments when you use home-grown Lavender next time you make ice cream.

Danni Dills is an herb expert. For more great information on caring for a home herb garden [http://theherbgardensecrets.com/how-to-dry-the-herbs-from-your-home-herb-garden/], visit [http://theherbgardensecrets.com/].

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Home Vegetable Gardening – Garlic

I was watching a rerun of an episode of the television show, Friends the other night and in the episode Phoebe accuses Monica of using way too much garlic when she cooks food at her restaurant. That led me to thinking is too much garlic a bad thing? Me personally, I don’t think so.

Beyond warding away vampires in horror films, garlic is a great addition to a lot of wonderful recipes you can prepare right at home. To make those recipes even better you can user garlic grown right in your own backyard.

Garlic is a tricky vegetable but not a complicated one to grow. If you give it the right environment you can harvest plenty to last you for months. For instance, garlic loves a soil rich in organic matter such as compost. So whatever area you choose to grow your garlic make sure you mix in plenty of compost. Burying your food leftovers at least eighteen inches deep in that same spot helps as well.

Garlic germinates at a cooler temperature. It likes the soil to be around fifty-five degrees Fahrenheit (thirteen Celsius). Once garlic germinates in the cooler soil, you can grow it in soil that gets a bit warmer but if you can keep it cool you will be better off.

Even though garlic itself can be a bit spicy, the soil it needs is anything but. Garlic loves the soil pH level to be above 6.0 and as near 7.0 as you can possibly get. The best way to test your soil’s pH level is use a home soil testing kit available from any home or garden center for less than five bucks. Under 7 and your soil is acidic. Over 7 and your soil is alkaline. Make adjustments to your soil as per the instructions on the kit.

Garlic loves full sun and light watering. Pick a spot in your garden that receives sun first thing in the morning and of course throughout the day. Also this same spot should have good drainage as garlic likes it moist but not saturated. Saturating the soil could cause the garlic cloves to rot. If you mix in plenty of compost you shouldn’t have much of a problem.

When the bottom two or three leaves turn yellow it is time to harvest the garlic. This usually occurs late summer or early autumn. On a side note planting garlic in between beets is a great way to keep the soil cool for your garlic.

Now you have no excuses for not adding garlic to your home vegetable garden. It doesn’t matter if you have a ½ acre farm or grow vegetables in containers. You can grow garlic at home during your gardening season.

About the Author
Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the Rest of Us, available where gardening books are sold. Sign up for Mike’s vegetable gardening newsletter at his website: AveragePersonGardening.com and he will send you a free pack of vegetable seeds to get your garden started.

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Adding Fennel to Your Home Vegetable Garden

Fennel looks like a white bulb at the base with green stalks protruding from the top. Used a lot in Italian cuisines, fennel is crunchy with a bit of a sweet taste and can be found in other cultural recipes as well. Part of the Umbellifereae family it is in close relation to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander; however you should never follow these plants in a rotation or plant them near one another. Here are the steps to add fennel to your home vegetable garden.

Start by sowing your seeds indoors about 4 weeks prior to the final frost of the season. The seeds should germinate in about 14 days. For faster germination, consider using a portable greenhouse or humidity dome that is available at your local home or garden center for just a few bucks.

Once they are ready to be moved outdoors space them out no closer than twelve inches apart in the area of your garden that receives a lot of sunlight in soil that is in the pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. If you are not sure what your soil’s pH range is you can pick up a soil testing kit for a couple of dollars at your local home or garden center. Don’t forget to give your fennel a moderate watering, just enough to keep the ground moist, but not saturated.

They will be ready to harvest when the white bulb of the fennel plant is about 4 inches across and firm to the touch. Once harvested, the plant should be used within 48 hours to take advantage of the fresh flavors that fennel has to offer.

Avoid rotating fennel carrots, parsnips, and other members of the carrot family. Fennel does get along well with sage and mint so it will make a good companion plant for them, but that is about it. Try not to plant fennel anywhere near other plants as it does not get along well with them.

As you can see fennel is not all too difficult to add to your home vegetable garden. Just follow these steps and you will be well on your way to adding some great fennel to your cuisine straight from your home vegetable garden.

About the Author
Mike is the author of the book Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the Rest of Us, available where gardening books are sold. You can follow Mike on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/mikethegardener or on his website at: AveragePersonGardening.com.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Michael_C_Podlesny/125919