References to herbs can be found in the writings of the ancient Egyptians and Chinese. The Bible mentions herbs in several places and we know from historical documents that most households used herbs in medieval times.
Herb growing is beneficial, for several reasons, to gardeners. The many uses of herbs include:
1) To flavor food,
4) Medicinal purposes, and,
5) Control garden pests.
You can grow your herb garden exclusively for one of these reasons or a combination of purposes. Herbs can also be grown with other garden plants or indoors in containers or pots.
With the option of an indoor herb garden or a small plot in the outdoor garden herbs give you flexibility in planning. Depending on how extensive the use, a plot of four by six feet is small enough to easily care for, yet large enough to provide the needs of a small family.
Culinary herbs, those used in cooking, are a popular choice for gardeners. However, herbs are also grown for the beauty of the flowers and aromatic foliage, as used in potpourri. No matter the purpose these can be used fresh or dried. Chefs use herbs to add depth to the flavor of a dish while other types of herbs are used as garnish for salads or plates.
When planning the herb garden be aware that herbs grow, like all other plants, as annuals, perennials, shrubs, or trees. The type will obviously make a difference in choosing a location. Herbs prefer well-drained soil. If the outdoor soil is heavy or compacted add organic matter, sand, or a combination. Outdoors fertilizers are usually not necessary. However, sun is necessary; most types of herbs prefer plenty of sun, with only a few thriving in full shade. Read much on the type of herb you want to plant. Some prefer morning sun and afternoon shade.
Interestingly, herbs have few disease or insect enemies (some herbs are known for their pest control properties). When the weather becomes hot and dry red spider mites can be found on some low-growing plants. Aphids may infest anise, caraway, dill, or fennel. Mint is sometimes affected by rust.
In addition to buying seedlings from the local nursery, gardeners can also start herbs from seed. Watching a plant grow from a tiny seed is fascinating. Its entire life-cycle can be observed, and much can be learned from this process. Enjoy the gratification of using herbs you started, and nurtured, from seed. Fortunately, most herbs can be grown from seed successfully.
Start with a light, well-drained soil in a shallow pot or box and plant your seed in there in late winter. Shallow planting is best because herbs do not have deep roots. Usually the smaller the seed the more shallow it should be planted.
Transplant the new seedlings to your outdoor garden in the spring. Research each herb choice well as some do better when planted directly in the garden. Anise, fennel, coriander, and dill, for example, do not do well when transplanted, so sow your seed directly in the garden.
An herb garden, grown at home, is easy and simple, and extremely rewarding. Learn all you can about herbs in general, and specifically about your herb choices. Pick up one the informative eBooks about successful herb gardening and discover the gardening secrets known for years by herb gardening enthusiasts. Good Luck!