Do you often dream of plucking fresh herbs and adding to your food? There is nothing more pleasing than adding fresh basil to tomato slices and mozzarella cheese, or crisp parsley straight from the pot to garnish any dish. Apart from adding flavour and texture, herbs give you a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
Growing herbs is easy even if you live in a high-rise apartment and all you have is a smallest balcony or a window-sill. All you need is enthusiasm with a little time to spare, and you are ready to create your own herb corner.
Before dashing to the market to buy things your herb corner, make a list by keeping these points in mind.
Herbs need a sunny corner to grow. A window in the kitchen, small balcony or a sunny corner of a room could be an ideal place to keep your herbs.
Basil and parsley are popular herbs. Let’s add mint, celery, and parsley to this list.
Terracotta pots are the best as they have natural wicking capacity. Containers should have adequate holes for proper drainage.Window boxes are great space-savers as they can be attached on the outer side of the balcony. If a plant outgrows it needs to be re-potted to a larger container.
Normal garden soil with organic matter that helps in drainage is good for herbs. You can use the high-quality nursery mix from nurseries if the ordinary garden soil is heavy or dry. Using cow dung, vermi-compost and organic compost is beneficial, but in moderation. For small 8-10” pots, use a good fertilizer once in three months.
Avoid heavy chemical fertilizers, which decrease the concentration of essential oils in the herbs.Herbs need time to grow so it is better not to hasten the growth by increasing the fertility of soil. If they grow too fast they lack in essential oils.
Correct exposure to light is essential to grow herbs. An average six hour of sunlight ensures lush growth. A south-facing window-sill is ideal setting for herb pots. You can grow herbs in groups according to light requirements. If you have less sunlight or live in a place which tends to have gloomy weather, place three or four fluorescent lights above the plants to increase the growth.
Water requirements depend on plant size, average temperature, humidity levels, sunlight and soil. Water if the soil feels dry or appears shrunk from the sides of the container. Add a layer of broken tiles or small pebbles can help in draining away the extra water. Water until some water drain out from the bottom, but avoid over-watering.
Feed Your Herbs
Herbs need to be fed. Start after 10 days of sowing. Feed nutrients every two weeks with half-strength nutrients.
Photo Credits Herb Basket – www.greensomethings.com