When you’ve been growing herbs for most of your life, chances are you’ll look back on the blunders you’ve made and wonder what on Earth you were thinking. Trial and error is often the only path to perfection, but now we have the wonders of modern communication methods to rely on, the errors of others can replace those we would have otherwise made ourselves…which is frankly marvellous!
On the subject of herb gardens, there are so many simple and oh-so common mistakes waiting to catch you out that avoiding the whole job-lot of them is a pretty big ask. Some minor examples will pass unnoticed, while others will reduce your entire herb garden to a veritable compost heap right before your eyes.
That is, of course, unless you study up on the kinds of mistakes you might make in order to make sure you don’t – key examples of which include the following:
Planting Unhealthy Plants
You need to get your herbs off to a strong start, which means choosing healthy plants in the first place. When buying from any store or market, take a good look at the specimen you’re interested in and take note of fullness, colour and whether or not there are signs of infestation. One bug is too many bugs, primarily because there’s no such thing as ‘a’ bug on a herb plant. If you invest in a dud, you’ll be dealing with a dud for life.
Ignoring Garden Conditions
To get the best out of any herb, you need to understand its needs and desires. Rosemary, for example, likes to have the soil around its feet dried out before the next watering, some herbs are absolute sun-worshippers and others need plenty of shade to hit their peaks. So if you think you’re making all the right moves but still seem to be coming out with nothing but casualties, this could be the reason.
Lack of TLC
As is the case with pretty much every plant going, you need to prune your herbs on a regular basis to ensure strong and neat growth. Lack of pruning leads to longer stems with fewer leaves and a plant that’s for all intents and purposes heading for old age before its time.
Allowing Sufficient Space
Each herb type needs a specific amount of space to grow – don’t overlook the importance of taking this into account. Planting herbs too close together is such a painful mistake as while it may look a quite wonderful sight in the early days, it won’t be long before the whole thing comes crashing down.
Failing to Pinch-Off Flowers
Finally, unless you intend to eat the blossoms your herbs produce – some of which can be quite sublime – it’s a good idea to nip-off any flowers that appear as soon as you detect them. What has to be remembered is that the bittersweet life cycle of a plant involves producing flowers, dropping seeds and then dying out. As this is not what you want to happen to your herb garden keep a close eye on flowers and remove any that appear.