(Family Features) Herbs can bring a blend of beauty and functionality to your home garden, and growing them can be one of the easiest and most rewarding ways to try your hand at gardening.
With these tips from Bayer Advanced lawn and garden expert Lance Walheim, you can add a pop of flavor to family dinners.
Choose your herbs
Start by thinking about which herbs you use regularly and researching those plants to determine if you can easily grow them at home. Basil, chives, oregano, parsley and thyme are notorious for being fuss-free and perfect for those who may be new to gardening or growing herbs.
You can also tailor your herb garden to your family’s favorite dishes. If they love pasta and pizza, try growing basil, oregano, thyme and garlic chives. For Mexican flavors, include cilantro, Mexican tarragon, epazote and lime basil. To complement Asian cooking, test your skills with lemon grass, Thai cinnamon basil or mint. You might want herbs to brew tea with such as mint, chamomile, lemon balm or verbena, or bergamot.
Select a site
Herbs are versatile plants that can be tucked into an existing planting area, grown in a dedicated plot or even planted in containers indoors by a sunny window. Most herbs are also attractive plants and can double as ornamentals mixed in with vegetables or flowers. Some, such as creeping thyme, rosemary and lavender, can even be used as ground covers or short hedges.
Regardless of where you plant your herbs, it’s important to provide the correct growing conditions to help ensure that they can thrive and produce intensely flavorful leaves. Most herbs grow best in full sun, but some can also tolerate light shade. Although many herbs are adaptable to varying conditions (and flavor can oftentimes be best when the plants are stressed a bit), be careful not to overwater as most herbs need well-drained soil.
To prepare soil in a new planting area, remove sod if necessary and amend soil to create the ideal growing environment for your herbs. Planting on sloping ground or in pots or raised beds provides ideal drainage. Mixing organic material like compost into soil can help improve soil drainage, fertility and water retention.
Plant and protect
Some herbs, like dill, basil and lemon balm, start easily from seed while others, including lemon verbena, mint, rosemary and French tarragon, are easier to grow from purchased seedlings.
As you arrange your garden, remember to put taller plants in the back and shorter ones in the front.
Keep your plants healthy and ensure bugs and insects don’t enjoy your herbs before you do with a one-step solution like Bayer Advanced® Natria® Insect, Disease and Mite Control. It protects against listed diseases and pests, and can be used up until the day before you harvest.
Paying close attention to the steps you take in your herb garden can help maximize results. For more information on ways to protect your herbs, visit bayeradvanced.com.
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