Herbal Gardening - Soil and Pests
For proper growth, your herbal garden will require the proper soil and protection from pests.
If you are looking for the information on the following:
| Whether in an outdoor bed or
comfortably ensconced in a container, good soil is fundamental to the
health of your herbs.
From the sun, they will receive the energy needed to perform all the
activities that makes possible growth and reproduction. That energy,
however, is used to drive chemical reactions that can occur only
because many of the components which originate from the soil.
Water, nitrogen and phosphorus content, alkalinity and acidity, and
much more is determined by the nature of the soil used to house and
feed your herbs. Keeping all these at the right level is paramount to
success in any garden. In container gardening, all that is up to you.
In an outdoor garden, however, nature helps to some extent but you may
have to give some additional assistance in order to achieve optimal
Lavender, for example, likes dry, alkaline soil with good drainage. Sage can
suffer root rot if the soil is kept too wet.
TYPES OF SOIL
Soil is categorized as either sandy, clay-like
or something in between. Clay particles suspended in the soil readily
absorb and retain water. Sandy soil, largely silicates, are more
"glass-like" and hence produce good spacing for air to move around, but
water flows through easily. It's helpful, therefore, to have a good mix
of the two for most herbs. You will have to study each type of plant a
little to learn its soil preferences as you will have to lean more
toward one than the other for those plants that prefer more extreme
likes it dry, but peppermint
does better in more moist soil. A good compost will help you achieve
the right balance.
Just as with any other plant, there are a variety of pests that can
spoil your herbs. Many can fly to the plant, others crawl to it under
the surface. This is another reason to concern yourself with soil
maintenance, by the way. The good news is, however, that often herbs
can actually help with pest control.
for example, attracted by the odors, love roses and certain vegetables.
Planting herbs can actually help deter them. Chives, mint, basil and cilantro
can help. Basil, for example, can help deter tomato hornworm
from attacking your tomatoes.
But, this sword cuts two ways. Which way you want to slice will depend
on your goals. Dill
can attract parasitic wasps that feed on the eggs of certain beetles.
That helps keep the beetles away, but brings wasps.
Nothing's ever easy, is it?
Another herb, dill,
is a "trap crop" for tomato hornworms. A trap crop is one
deliberately used to attract certain species, which then feed on that
plant, rather than the ones you want to preserve. That means, they'll
stay away from your tomatoes but eat your dill.
The way out of the dilemma is a judicious use of artificial and/or organic pesticides tailored to
destroy the pests that are attracted to specific herbs. Take care in
applying artificial pesticides, however, if you are growing your herbs
for seasoning. Though tested safe, some pesticides can accumulate over
Prepare soil, and maintain it properly and you'll keep your herbal plants healthy and pests at bay..
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