Herbal Gardening - Preparing Your Herbs for Spring
As Spring nears, your herbs will begin to receive signals from Mother Nature, and, it is time for you to take steps to help them follow her instructions.
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| Wow! Spring is just around the corner.
Have your herbs gotten the news yet?
Are you, and they, prepared for the coming of Spring?
As snows melt, and the frosts disappear, all plants begin to receive a number of signals from Mother Nature. The ground becomes warmer, soil becomes more porous, letting in more air, and the number of hours of sunshine will increase day by day. All these are signals to the plants that the time is coming to germinate and sprout.
Of course, your indoor plants may get several mixed signals, depending on where you have placed them and how you treated them over winter. If they sit near a window, for example, that bright winter sunshine might feel a bit like Spring to them. On the other hand, if they're hiding in a back corner, they may not get enough sunshine until mid-summer...if at all. You should plan your herbal gardening placements to give sun-loving herbs (which is most of them) the maximum amount of sunlight per day.
Outside, as the snow clears, dead stalks and leaves will
become visible. For perennials, such as Chives,
it's a good time to trim them down to near ground level. Avoid pulling
so you don't accidentally pull up the roots. Instead, just take some
pruning shears and snip off the stalks about an inch above the surface.
Sample one or two before you proceed, though. Sometimes, they're green
inside and, in that case, should just be left alone.
Herbal Gardening and Fertilizer
Most herbs don't really require fertilizer, managing to grow quite
happily in soil that would be considered poor for many other plants.
For those that can use a little extra help, however, early Spring is a
good time to apply it. If there's still a bit of frost or snow on the
ground, fertilizer beads can be drawn into the soil as it melts. Don't
overdo it, however.
Herbal Gardening Soil
Now is also the time to ensure that the soil is right. Winter snows can
compact the earth, but most herbs thrive on good drainage. Many, like Lavender,
are native to the Mediterranean areas and evolved in rocky, well draining soil.
If the dirt has become hard, a little aeration is in order. This is not complicated, just use a common nail or spike to create small holes for air and water to flow into. Take care not to stab the plant, however, as the roots may have spread outward rather than down. Once you have loosened the soil, you can add a little topsoil or sandy loam to ensure adequate nutrition and
Herbal Gardening and Insects
The majority of herbs are able to combat insect invasions pretty well.
This is the time of year, however, when grubs will soon start to become
active and feed on roots or leaves near the ground. A bit of spray will
solve the problem before it becomes pronounced. Liquid sea-kelp
is a safe and easy to use solution in these cases. If you are
raising herbs, you will probably want to use some form of organic pest control.
If you have indoor herbs, February is your friend as the days become
longer. Let your plants enjoy the sun as the weather warms, and soon
you will too.
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