Classifications of Herbs

Herbs have been companions of man for many, many centuries. You have seen the many uses to which herbs can be put, accompanying and serving man through his life.

Herb garden plants thrive not only outside in the garden, but year after year they reveal their undefinable ability to grow to one’s heart. The variety of fragrances, the display of brilliant colors, the pride of their majestic growth, the surrounding liveliness of humming insects, all these imponderables and more make lasting impressions upon the soul of the observant grower.

Herbs are classified as tender annuals (like basil, marjoram, borage, nasturtium), as Hardy annuals (like chamomile, heart’s ease), as Biennials (like clary sage, angelica, mullein), as Tender Perennials (like rosemary, curry plant) and as Hardy Perennials (like lavender, sage, hyssop, chives).

The annuals have to be seeded each year unless conditions are favorable enough in the garden to have these annuals seed themselves. The biennials also should be seeded each year so that, for example, a mullein will be in flower each year. These plants form leaves only the first year and flower the following year. The perennials last for many years with proper care and be started from either seed or a purchased plant which over the years can be divided or used for cuttings. Placing the herbs in the garden should take into consideration these differences of above mentioned categories. Perennials quite often are planted as the framework of a garden around which the annuals are grouped.

To start herb seed indoors is easier than anyone think. There are just a few rules to follow and steps to take. Herbs to be started indoors for later transplanting are best started from seed no earlier than March; otherwise they will get too spindly, weak or fall prey to insects and diseases.

On the other hand, a large variety of herb plants has to be propagated from stem cuttings because either the plants do not form seeds or the seeds do not come true to variety. A cutting is actually a term used for the sprig which is cut off the tip of a branch, and for information should be about three inches long.

These qualities and more of herbs can mean only that you have more reason than ever to raise herbs in your garden.…

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Before Spring Gardening – Getting Started in Winter

It may seem hard to get thought of gardening started in the middle of winter when the snow is deep on the ground, but it is great time to plan and dream. Seed companies will be sending their catalogues out with all those fantastic pictures of delicious vegetables, giant blooms and dripping fruit. Now is the time to plan on having all of those from your garden.

Too many gardens start without a plan. This leads to having a whole lot of expensive seed bought on a whim and finding later that there is no where to plant most of them or to having a lot of prepared soil and nothing to put in it. Once spring hits with its weather changes and the snow disappears there is a lot of outdoor work to do and after a long winter there is the desire to be outdoors doing it. Before that happens is the time to plan.

Take a look at the existing flower beds and vegetable spaces to begin with, and decide if there is enough or too much. You know how the garden looked at the middle and end of last year’s season. This is your starting space. If it looked great and you think you can handle more then you can plan on a little more. On the other hand, if it looked a mess you either had too little time, energy or desire to keep it up and it needs to be backed off some. Of course if it looked fine then everything is good so leave it alone.

Now that you know the space decide what to plant. As a general rule of thumb, think of all the vegetables that people in your family like to eat and plan to plant some of each. Eliminate the ones that take up more space than you have available for a reasonable crop. Then take off the ones that will not grow in your climate. Include last years successes. Adjust amounts for the available space and figure out the amount of seed needed. It is a great idea to try a vegetable or at least a variety that is new to you to add a little more fun.

Flowers, especially annuals, are great things to grow for pure fun. If they do not quite work out no one goes hungry and you have the enjoyment of trying. Look for fast growing tall plants for the back of beds and medium ones for the middle and front. Of course small ones go in front but also can be used to surround taller ones to add low colour. Plan on starting or buying enough to well fill the available space. If you have a short growing season you may want to plant closer than recommendations so as to fill the spaces with colour before frost.

A little planning goes a long way in preparing for the season. Besides, in the middle of winter it becomes a real connection …

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