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Planting and nursing of herbs

Herbs can be annuals, biennials or perennials. Accordingly herb beds must be prepared. If we decide to grow perennial herbs that need a warmer environment, we must ensure that we can move them indoors or in a greenhouse when temperatures are getting too low.

Different herbs have different soil requirements. Most of them grow in soil rich with organic matter that is neutral or slightly acidic. As fertilizer we should use compost. Perennial herbs should be planted in the autumn, annual or biennial herbs should be planted in the spring.

Annual or biennial herbs can be sowed outside directly on the beds that were prepared in autumn and were resting over winter. Seeds should be put into small shallow ditches. Ensure the appropriate distance between them. Larger herbs should be further apart, smaller can be closer. We cover seed with a thin layer of soil. Garden beds with freshly sowed seeds should be covered with fleece to prevent excessive cooling at night. When herbs come out of the soil, remove fleece.

In cold springs seeds germinate slowly. We can help them by planting them in containers in a greenhouse or on a windowsill. After three to five weeks they can be transplanted to the outside.

Herbs do not require much care. They must be regularly watered, fertilized and pruned. Pests and diseases will be very rare if they have optimal conditions for growth.

Herbs from which we use green parts (leaves, stems), should be regularly pruned to foster continued growth of new leaves. We should remove flower stems that do not bloom and flowers when they start to fade. This is the way to prevent the formation of seeds and to foster growth of green parts. Pruning is specific for every species. However, strong spring pruning encourages growth.