With their delicate aesthetic, herbaceous smell, and promising tastes, herb gardens bring joy to homeowners in Lexington, MA. However, planting a variety of herbs requires knowledge and the kind of experience a professional landscaper brings to the table. From planting in the right location to proper watering and fertilizing, here are some tips to help you grow a thriving herb garden that will spread its addictive scents all year round.
Choose the Right Herb Plants
The first step to a healthy herb garden is choosing the right plants. A successful herb garden starts with healthy specimens. The chosen herbs should offer an overall clean look, without any bugs or eggs present on their leaves. Bugs tend to invade herb pretty quickly and can cause lots of damage to the garden.
A great herb to soften hard edges is the evergreen, lavender-pink Silver thyme (Thymus vulgaris “Argenteus”), while for a long-term bloomer, choose the lavender-blue Catmint (Nepeta X faassenii). The Silver thyme grows up to 12-inches tall while the Catmint can grow at least 18 inches, and if pruned regularly, it will produce repeat blooms.
Plant in the Right Environment
Each herb has specific growing conditions. Some thrive the most under sun, some under shade, and some like moist soil rather than dry. All of these factoids are crucial to know before placing a herb into a soil that doesn’t offer the optimal growing conditions. If planted under shade, the herbs that love sun could become pale and weak over time. To avoid this problem, you could plant some herbs in pots to provide them with more flexibility, under their preferred conditions.
A beautiful herb that tolerates shade is the sweet cicely (Myrrhis odorata). The elegant white bloomer with bright-green leaves grows best in full to partial shade, only in fertile, moist soil.
Factor in Pruning Needs
Pruning helps herbs grow faster and healthier. It is a process of harvesting the great tasting leaves and stems. Without pruning, the plant will grow taller on a few stems but loses its leaves as they dry and fall off. Harvesting allows the plant to start and finish the life cycle and staying at the growing stage as long as possible.
Plant Without Overcrowding
It is usually better to underplant than overplant. To avoid this common issue, before planting, try to consider the herbs in their full height and width. This allows the herbs to expand their root system and turn into healthy plants that you can use for preparing tasty meals.
Think twice before spraying chemicals to edibles. Herbs are used fresh, and they shouldn't be exposed to treatments that can potentially harm your health. Instead, you could opt to keep the plants growing with light fertilizer. If applied once a week, compost tea will boost their growth. Only water the soil and avoid the leaves when using this method. Mulch is also good for the herbs because it keeps the moisture in the soil longer, so you don’t have to water too often.
It is optimal to water the herbs in the morning so that they can soak in the water without risking evaporation. It is also important to water only the soil around the herb and avoid the leaves; too much water on the leaves can promote mildew and disease. It is beneficial to remember that each herb has different watering needs. For example, the Angelica herb (Angelica archangelica), which can be used in teas or as a seasoning, produces white blooms that thrive in fertile soil.