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Essential Requirements for Growing Your Own Culinary Herb Garden

Requirements for Growing Culinary Herb Garden
Growing your own culinary herbs not only gives you a chance to practice your gardening skills, but ensures that you are adding healthier seasoning to your food, making it more delicious and homely. Borrow tips on how to start growing a culinary herb garden, maintain it, and eventually get better at it through this article.
Gardenerdy Staff
Last Updated: Jul 4, 2017
Ever wondered why the food at five star restaurants smells and tastes so good? Besides knowing the importance of the correct ingredients and their right amounts, all the good chefs are aware of the value of fresh herbs. These herbs are nature's little surprises that can add great flavor to the most simply-prepared dish. What better way to add an amazing dimension to your cooking than to have your own culinary herbs grown in your garden added to your dish! Follow these simple instructions if you plan to grow herbs by yourself.

Location
Proper sunlight ensures that the herbs have denser, darker foliage and produce more essential oils that add to their health benefits. However, the selection of the spot, whether sunny or shady, depends upon the herb to be grown. For herbs like basil, coriander, and thyme, choose a bright sunny spot. On the other hand, shade-loving herbs like parsley, peppermint, and chives will grow well in cool and shady spots.

Select a location that is close to your kitchen. Certain herbs serve as excellent landscaping plants. If you want to use the herbs in your food, be sure that you do not plant them with other landscaping plants. Select an area in the vegetable garden or devote an inconspicuous space anywhere in the garden for the culinary herbs, so that chopping off a part of the herbs won't spoil the look of your house or garden.

Soil
Contrary to popular belief, herbs do not grow in just any soil. Like all plants, herbs require a loose, well-drained, and well-aerated soil. Preparing the garden soil with compost before planting the herbs would greatly benefit them. Good drainage is important, but ensure that the soil does not get water-logged. Adding mulch is also a good idea. Avoid the use of chemical fertilizers or pesticides.

Pruning
This depends upon whether the herb is herbaceous, annual, or evergreen. While annual and herbaceous herbs generally don't require to be pruned, it is important to cut off the older branches of evergreen herbs like thyme, rosemary, and sage. Cutting the older woody branches provides better sunlight to the younger, leafier branches that are more useful for cooking.

Here is some information about growing a few popular indoor culinary herbs.

Basil
Basil requires a bright, sunny location such that it receives 6 to 8 hours of sunlight daily. However, ensure it is not exposed to the harsh mid-day sun. Water deeply every week, preferably during the afternoon. However, take care that the soil is well-drained. Protect the plant from heavy winds and frost. Basil grows well in pots. Hence, you could bring it indoors during the winters. It is important to trim the plant during the growing season, as once it starts producing flowers and fruits, it will become woody and the yield of the leaves will be reduced. Basil can be grown from seeds.

Fennel
Fennel requires bright sunlight. It grows well in fertile and well-drained soil. Sow seeds at a distance of six inches apart in the spring season, or you could also start with seedlings. Ensure that the soil is moist until the seeds have sprouted. It is best to plant fennel in successive crops so that you have a steady supply. Leaves can be harvested anytime throughout the year. To use the seeds, collect them from the flower heads as they turn brown. Then sun-dry them and store in airtight containers.

Fenugreek
Fenugreek grows well in moist soil that is rich in humus. Seeds of fenugreek should be sown in the spring season in an open, sunny spot. Ensure that the soil is well-drained. The seeds germinate easily. Plant enough seeds for a good supply, as the plants are small and thin. To get the seeds, pluck the pods as they start to turn brown and sun-dry them. Once they have dried, the pods will pop to release the seeds.

Parsley
This herb grows well in full sun or light shade. The soil should be deeply dug and rich in organic matter. It should be adequately moist, specially during dry winters. Parsley seeds take as long as 2 to 5 weeks to germinate. To hasten the process, soak the seeds in warm water for 24 hours. Seeds should be sown evenly in well-watered soil and then be covered with 1/8 inches of soil. Plucking leaves and removing flowers will ensure good growth. However, if you want to use seeds, some flowers can be left in the plant.

Most of the herbs grow well in pots or containers. Hence, they can be easily shifted indoors to keep them away from unfavorable weather conditions. Although the basic requirements of soil and location are the same for almost all the culinary herbs, it is best to have proper knowledge about the specific factors required for each herb you are planning to grow.
Fenugreek germination
Fennel Flower
Holy Basil leaves
Ground soil
Woman with a glass of wine