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Kitchen Herb Garden

Updated on April 8, 2011

Kitchen Herb Garden

A kitchen herb garden can be a lot of fun, smells amazing and adds a freshness to the space not often found in that area of the home. They are also easy to create and maintain, and take very little time or effort to do. It also adds wonderful gourmet tastes to your meals.

The most common herbs found in a kitchen herb garden are rosemary, sage, marjoram, chives, basil, oregano, parsley and thyme. All these plants have smaller root system so they do not grow too much and make excellent choices for kitchens or container gardening.
A kitchen herb garden does not have very many requirements, but the ones it does have are essential. These include sunlight, pruning, water, minimal tender loving care and good quality soil. These herbs thrive in either a large 'community' container or individual planters. If you like the idea of a larger planter, it is best to group like herbs together. Some do better with more moist soil and others do better in dry soil. Marjoram, oregano, parsley and chives all favor moist soil. Rosemary, sage, thyme and basil love dry soil, so can be grouped together in their own container.

When starting a kitchen herb garden, the easiest and most effective approach is to purchase herbs as young plants rather than seeds. It is essential to use a powder rooting hormone as many herbs will fail to take root without it. Six inch pots work well for individual plants and any larger bowl, box or pot works well for community gardening. No matter which container you choose, it should have sufficient drain holes in the bottom for the water to escape freely. It is also recommended to place about an inch of gravel in the very bottom of the pot for better drainage. Use a good quality soil and make sure to moisten the soil with lukewarm water, and that it is draining properly.

Get ready to plant the herb by making a hole in the soil big enough for the plant. Place the roots of the plant in the powdered hormone and let any extra product fall off. Place the plant gently into the hole and then fill in any additional space with more soil so that it is anchored securely. Allow approximately an inch of space for watering between the soil and the rim of the container.

Herbs need about five to six hours of steady sunlight each day. They seem to do much better in, or near, a window that is facing south or southeast. Your kitchen herb garden should be kept free from drafts, especially in the colder months, but still in an area that receives plenty of airflow. Airflow is essential for the moist soil herbs to prevent the formation of mildew. You will want to set up your newly planted kitchen herb garden in the best spot available and for the first seven to ten days water on a daily basis, ensuring that they are draining adequately so the roots are not submerged in water which would drown the plant. After the initial phase, water the herb garden as needed.

Droopy looking plants or soil that is dry to the touch needs water. If you are using a combination of community planters and individual pots, keeping mind that the smaller containers will dry out much faster than the larger ones. The planting process itself should not take you very long, depending on how many plants you have. Care and maintenance of your kitchen herb garden is easy as it needs nothing more than to be watered once or twice a week, and pruned here or there.

You can start incorporating herbs from your garden into your recipes as soon as you see new growth. There is nothing better than cooking with fresh herbs straight out of your own garden. Pluck the larger leaves or shoots to use, but never more than a third of the plant. Pinch back any new growth that is on the smaller side to keep your herbs thriving and healthy.

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