Weekly Photo Challenge: Starting Your Intricate Herb Garden

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With too many herbs to mention by name, where you live determines what and when to plant.  When I was first gardening, I learned the hard way not to assume we were warming up early just because we had an early warm up.  Living in southern Michigan, I plant my cool weather or hardy plants mid-April and the warm weather stuff by Memorial weekend, or end of May sometime.  Check for your area on the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map and prevent frost damage to tender seedlings. As long as your soil is enriched and aerated, all you need to worry about are the three W’s, Watering, Weeding and Watching for pests and your garden should be a success. My most successful gardens were dug by hand in clay soil.  I worked in some peat and manure and that was it, besides watering and organically killing any pest, usually by hand.  Because it was near the country, all the bigger varmints killed the little ones so no varmint damage like I have experienced trying to garden in the city.

In front of my first Garden.

In front of my first Garden.

You need to decide by choice or convenience if you prefer to purchase young plants or start them by seed.  Some seeds you can just toss in the garden soil and some you will want to start indoors and harden off before planting outdoors.  You might try experimenting depending on the type and size of the herb.  Know the size and the needs of all plants so you can better design where you wish to place them in your garden.  Find out which ones are annuals or perennials so you aren’t surprised when come back the next year with a vengeance!  I’ve had spearmint go wild on me, much to my neighbor’s chagrin, and had to weed it back to keep it on my side of the fence.  I would have loved the free spearmint if it were the other way around, but some city folks want their perfect little lawns. You can find a treasure trove of plant and garden information on the various Cooperative Extension Service sites offered by local colleges online now.  Below is a sample page from the book “Vegetable Gardening Know-How” in the herb section to give you some idea.  The author took it from the Cooperative Extension Service of Kansas State University.  The book was published in 1975, FYI. img890 Get to know your herbs.  Currently I only grow those I intend to use for cooking.  I used to grow lavender to give to others that loved it.  I had an allergy with this plant so I finally stopped, as beautiful as it is.  You can decide to grow a little around your yard, planting some in between your other garden plants or actually design a beautiful garden  that you designate for herbs only.  Be sure to lay out your design on paper first, keeping in mind the size and needs of each plant so you don’t end up crowding or shading some.  Don’t plant herbs requiring rich soil right next to those needing dryer soil or shade loving plants next to those needing full sun.  Be aware of these things and you should be OK, providing you don’t over water your garden.  Some starting out actually kill their plants with kindness by over feeding and too much watering because they are afraid the least sign of dry soil means certain death for the plant.  Most need to dry a little between rainfall or watering.  You’ll get the hang of it once you start.  Try to use containers to trap rain if you can.  Some have gone back to actual rain barrels which are great!  WARNING!  Check to be sure you are not breaking the law locally if you do this.  Yes, I am being serious!  In some states, like Colorado, it is illegal to gather rain for gardens even though it saves water in the long run.  It has to do with some petty “you own your home but don’t have water rights.”  First place, I would take that all the way to the Supreme Court if I had to for the simple reason is rain is not water.  It’s rain and can be proven so if facts are presented.  If any area of our government in America becomes that petty and controlling, it needs to be stopped and to do this, you must not obey it and fight it.  That’s the only way we have managed any freedoms in this world at all.

I hope you enjoy the intricacies of these various herbs.

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Happy gardening!

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