Herbs, revered in the ancient world for their healing powers, receded in importance in the 20th century as we began to rely more on pharmaceuticals and technology. As a result, we encountered them less often—usually dried in a jar on a supermarket shelf. But over the last couple of decades, herbs have enjoyed a resurgence in their freshest, most potent forms, as homeowners turn to them not only for cooking, but also for enjoyment.
If you've ever thought about growing your own herbs, take heart, because it's not hard to get started. Mark off a small garden plot with good morning sun and dappled shade in the afternoon, or create a container garden on your patio. Plant kitchen herbs, or choose another theme—medicinals, medieval, fragrance—and get going.
A pretty or aromatic herb garden will also be a pleasing element when it comes to selling your home, helping it to stand out from other South Bend homes for sale. Get additional tips from our REALTORS® on how to make your home special.
Getting Started With Your Herb Garden.
Here are the basics for starting an herb garden.
- Choose a garden site.
As mentioned, you need sunlight—at least six hours a day. A well-drained location will also help your herbs prosper. If you have boggy soil or clay, try creating a raised bed. Plant as close to the house as you can so you can conveniently dash out and snip herbs to add to your cooking.
- Improve the soil.
Improve your sandy or heavy clay soils by adding compost. Even good soils can benefit when you work in plenty of compost. Avoid using composted manure, which is high in nitrogen and will make herbs grow faster, but can make them lose their flavor.
- Choose your herbs.
What's it going to be: kitchen, medicinals, fragrance, or bee garden? Study up on your herbs and decide which would give you the most enjoyment. Want to help our bee friends? Plant rue, chamomile, bee balm, fennel, hyssop, lavender, and rosemary, among others. Want to start with a basic kitchen garden? Try chives, rosemary, mint, dill, basil, oregano, parsley, sage, and thyme. These herbs are not that fussy, but do look into their needs before you plant to make sure you're providing conditions to help them thrive.
- Getting started.
You can start plants from seed if you're patient and learn the basics of propagation. You may need to acquire a grow light, a propagation heating mat for germination, and some basic supplies like containers and seed starting mix. Once you get the seedlings up to a couple of inches, transplant them carefully. You might cover them, as well as young plants you buy from the nursery, with plastic cloches to protect them until they are strong enough to survive the elements.
- Mulch around plants.
Place about 2 inches of mulch around your plants. It can be commercial mulch, wood chips, cocoa bean hulls, or other types.
Use a good quality, organic fertilizer such as liquid fish and kelp at half the recommended dosage every couple of weeks. Fertilize herbs in containers more often as you're flushing out fertilizer when you water.
- Harvest, and beyond.
Harvest your herbs by snipping them. The more snipping, the more profuse the leaf growth.
When the growing season is past, you can pull up annual herbs. Mulch over perennial herbs to protect them from the cold so they can come back next year.
Ask our agents for other tips to enhance your home's value in the marketplace. Contact us today.