Growing your own herbs can be tricky, we have pulled together our top 5 tips for keeping them alive!
Have you started growing your own herbs? Perhaps you picked it up as a hobby during lockdown, or you wanted to level up your cooking with fresh herbs on tap. You’re not alone. The past 18 months have seen a rise in the number of people growing their own plants and herbs with 322 million more planted during 2020 than 2019.
Whether you’re growing herbs inside or outside, we’ve gathered our top tips for keeping your kitchen herbs alive.
1. Know your herbs
Before even deciding which herbs you’d like to grow, researching which plants are likely to do well in your chosen spot is essential. Some, like basil and thyme, love dry soil whereas others such as mint, prefer shade and lots of water.
If you’re just starting out on your herb growing journey, then pick two or three to start with, and make sure you know them inside out. Choose ones that you’ll know you’ll use in your cooking too.
2. Don’t overcrowd them
If you have chosen to pot your plants, to prolong their life make sure there aren’t too many in one pot. Putting lots of seeds together in a tight space could make them compete to gain nutrients and the space to grow, meaning they could end up struggling.
A tell-tale sign that a plant needs more space is taking a look at the root structure. If they’re circling the pot, then your herbs need more room. Once leaves begin to show create a new habitat for some of the herbs and you will have greater luck with them surviving.
3. Know the right pot to use
It may seem to beginners that you can plant your herbs in any pot, but you should choose one based on the attentiveness you can give them.
- Terracotta pots are also good at helping to absorb surplus moisture and keeping roots cool in summer.
- Self-watering pots are especially useful as herb containers, they provide consistent amounts of water which makes hydration easier.
- Hanging pots is another option using limited space and looking stylish, although soil is likely to dry quickly in them.
4. Watch the temperature and light
When deciding where to place your herbs there are many factors to consider. They generally like warmer temperatures than we have in the UK, so they need to be in a space that isn’t fully shaded. Even those that prefer shade need sunlight for at least four hours a day to prosper and some need as much as eight hours.
If you’re growing your herbs indoors, consider installing hydroponic grow lights that replicate daylight to encourage plant growth. These are recommended to be on for a few hours each day for healthy herbs. They like a temperature of around 20 degrees, so don’t place them anywhere draughty, or the heat will fluctuate too much.
5. Prune them properly
When herbs flower it won’t be producing leaves with as much taste because the focus of the plant will have changed to concentrate on reproduction. You can counter that problem by pruning the buds on the herbs as soon as you spot them. This will encourage the growth of your herbs, aiding the strength in taking in nutrients and sunlight which will keep the quality and taste. It will also help when the colder months arrive as you will be able to see how they are coping with the temperature.
What herbs are you growing this year?