Review existing garden beds
How did your herbs perform last year? Do you need to test your soil to determine if fertilizer or organic nutrients need to be incorporated? This is also the time to figure out how much new potting soil you need to buy. Were you happy with the menu of plants from the previous year? Are there any you want to discontinue because they were a challenge to grow or you just didn’t find much use for them? Do you need to change the location of plants that require more or less sunlight? Maybe there were plants that would prosper more in the ground or, did you have vigorous herbs such as mint that took over your beds and need to be contained in a pot?
Completely clearing out the weeds before planting will save you time and energy throughout the growing season. You’ll still have some invasive little sprouts that will pop up around your herbs but if you stay on top of it by pulling them as you’re watering and grooming your plants, weeding will not be overwhelming. First, dig up any dead debris from last year and dispose of it in the trash. Then, pull the weeds from the base so you remove the root as well. Carefully comb through the dirt with a hand-held 3-prong rake for any particles left behind.
If you need to test your soil to see if anything else besides soil is required now is the time. Otherwise, go ahead and add new top soil. If you’re planting in the ground or deck bed as I am, and your herbs have been doing well, you’ll end up blending new dirt with the old. Just make sure you’ve removed weeds and leftover stems so they do not root themselves in the middle of your current herbs. With containers, I dump them each season and start with all fresh soil.
Decide how many and which herbs you want to grow
While researching, decide how many herbs you need to create your garden oasis. Calculate the time you have for planting, weeding, watering, and harvesting. While herbs can be easy to grow, once your herb garden flourishes, it will require time and regular care. Plus, you’ll need to plan for recipes. One of the tastiest reasons to grow your own fresh herbs is the benefit of healthy, creative flavor you can add to every meal.
Sketch a diagram of your new herb garden
In order to make the most of the space you have, sketch a diagram of where each plant will rest. This helps you figure out how many containers you need, or how large of an area in the ground you need to prepare.
Companion planting is one of the most beneficial methods of repelling garden pests. Look up the herbs you’ve chosen, to see which ones will naturally benefit each other so you can make your pest control efforts easier. Consider the amount of sunlight, space, and drainage requirements for each one. Also, allow a few extra spots because as you’re shopping you may discover additional plants you want to try.
Shop around for prices and healthiness of plants
Stores and garden centers carry a different selection of herbs. You will also find them in different stages of growth and varying degrees of healthiness. So it’s important to shop around before you buy. You can check out their websites, but I enjoy visiting and browsing through the spring selections. Plus, it’s possible that they may not have all the products listed online.
Purchase your fresh herbs
Make sure warm weather is here to stay because you do not want much time to pass between purchase and planting. The big garden centers offer a great selection at reasonable prices and sometimes knowledgable staff. But if you can locate a smaller local shop you’re likely to find more personalized, consistent attention. And it’s great to support individual businesses too.
At last, you’re ready to nestle your new babies into their home. Follow your diagram and rest each herb on top of the dirt so you can make sure that everything is going to work out as you envisioned. You’ll need a small hand-held digging trowel and the water hose or a watering can. Dig each hole deep enough to settle the plant in securely but so that the leaves are left uncovered. Pour water around it to moisten the roots. Fill the hole in with soil and lightly pack it around the plant.