How to Start your Own Herb Gardening

Herb gardening Is one of the most rewarding pastimes you will begin. I say will begin because by the time you finish reading this you WILL begin! You will need some basic information and knowledge about the herbs you choose to use and grow, but after that the actual process is easy and fast. The best thing is that after you work out what you need to do, it becomes a passion that lasts forever and, even better, it’s a real money saving hobby.

What you Need to Know About Herb Gardening

Basically you need to work out your seasonal needs. Choose the herbs you like or use most often in your cooking. The easiest way is to go to your kitchen shelf and look at what you have accumulated over the past and decide which ones you really use. Then, look up the growing requirements. You can do this on the Internet or go to your local nursery for free tips. Most plants are easy to grow, but will need a little attention and need replanting in spring.

Next you need to learn how to dry your herbs for storage and use during those times when fresh plants are unavailable. Here are my tips for drying herbs successfully:

• Cut off tops of the leafy varieties in midsummer.

• Hang them up just long enough so that the drops of water can evaporate.

• Wash them off with cold water.

• Tie them with string, binding them quite tightly at the end of the stalk.

• Place them in a paper bag with the stem ends at the opening, and then close the bag with a rubber band.

• Then you need to use a paper clip as a sort of hook through the band and then place the other hooked end over your line where you are going to hang the herbs to actually dry.

• Wait for a couple of weeks, to ensure they have dried out completely.

• Remove them from the paper bags, and then crumble the leaves and place them on a shallow pan and dry them out in the oven – just make sure that the oven is not set to be too hot, because you can burn them, and you certainly do not want to do this.

A lot of herb gardening enthusiasts prefer to use the open air as their preferred way to dry herbs. This method however can be messy as insects can interfere with the drying plans and get caught up and become part of your larder! If you are careful and pick them out it may be OK. My view is that open air drying is unnecessary and does not yield better results at all.

Michael is the owner of Herb Magic, the BEST site for all herb lovers. You will also find great herb gardening tips and healthy herb recipes and information at www.HerbWorldBlog.com

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