Why grow your own herbs
Herbs are wonderfully easy to grow, and cultivating them in your own garden is a far cheaper option that buying them. As well as saving money, they can make a very attractive addition to your garden, whether grown in window boxes, pots or in beds.
What to grow herbs in
Many herbs will grow well in pots. Find ones which are about 15 to 20cm deep and will provide adequate drainage or hammer a nail through the base to create your own holes. Place small stones and pebbles in the base, and then fill with a soil-based compost. Position them in your garden so that they catch the sun for at least half the day.
How to start growing herbs
You can either buy small plants to start you off, or raise them yourself from seeds or cuttings. Sow seeds in Spring, with about three or four in a small pot of compost. Cuttings can be taken from late Spring to early Autumn. Take about 7 or 8cm, and strip the lower leaves off before placing three or four in a pot of compost.
How to care for your herbs
Firstly ensure that they get plenty of water. Check the soil regularly, and water up to once a day during the hottest months of the year. While they should get plenty of sun, avoid exposing them to full sun all day, as this can cause them to wilt, or run to seed. If flowers appear, remove as soon as possible (unless you want them!) so the plant does not waste energy creating them. Feed weekly with an organic feed so as to avoid any artificial fertilisers which can cause the plant to grow unnaturally quickly.
Perennial plants will need pruning in Autumn – simply use a pair of gardening gloves and a sharp knife and remove any flowers or long stems. They may also need dividing in Spring – remove from the pot and cut away a small section, including roots, from the main plant. Replace the smaller section in the pot, along with fresh compost. Annual plants will need replacing every year – try saving some seeds from your current plant in Autumn, and planting them in the following Spring.