Herb Gardens

Herb Gardens are becoming more popular as people realize how many uses there are for these small treasures. There are annual herbs for cooking such as: basil, dill, & savory and perennial herbs such as mint, rosemary, thyme, & tarragon. Herbs such as lemon verbena & lavender are great for potpourri, while mint, chamomile, hibiscus, & lemon verbena can make marvelous teas. Herbs can be planted outside in spring when the danger of frost has passed or even better, you can plant herbs in a sunny area in any part of your apartment or house. Having the herbs in small pots rather than planted outside has the added benefit of allowing you to move them around as the seasons change. Herbs need at least 4 hours of direct sun a day so a north-facing window just isn’t enough. You may have to invest in some grow lightsThis is an artificial light source that helps plants grow when there is not enough natural light. These lights attempt to provide a spectrum of light similar to what the sun provides. Orchids & African Violets can be encouraged to bloom all year & herbs and salad greens can be grown indoors. Different plants require different light spectrums. Natural sunlight provides the full spectrum of yellow through violet that plants need for photosynthesis. Red is best for encouraging flowers and vegetative growth and blue helps regulate strong foliage growth. Just as with color spectrums, different plants need varying degrees of light intensity. The wattage & how close the light is to the plant determine the intensity. Some plants need to be 10”-12” from the light, others can be 36” away. Plants need a rest period, so lights shouldn't be left on all of the time. There are three main light categories: short-day plants need about 12 hours of light; day neutral plants need 8-12 hours; long day plants need 14-18 hours. Many types of grow lights are available: Fluorescent lights are the cheapest & produce 2-3 times more light than the incandescent. Full-spectrum fluorescent produce a balance of cool & warm light that mimics the sun. Metal halide lights emit an intense, bluish-white light & seem to be the most popular grow lights used today. The high pressure sodium variety produce a yellow-orange color that convinces plants to produce fruit & flowers. LED grow lights are relatively new inexpensive, bright, long-lasting lights that produce less heat & use less electricity.(Wikipedia/Gardener’s Supply Co.) to get enough intensity during the winter. Use a high- grade soil with some sharp sand or perlite added to provide good drainage. Fertilize with fish emulsion or a liquid plant food weekly when the plant is actively growing. Pests can be a problem. If any appear spray the plant with insecticidal soapInsecticidal Soap is defined as any of the potassium fatty acid soaps used to control many plant pests and diseases. This product is typically sprayed on plants in the same manner as other insecticides. It works only on direct contact with the pests. The fatty acids disrupt the structure and permeability of the insect cell membranes and the insect quickly dies. Soaps of this kind also work well on fungus infections such as botritis and leaf spot as well as on common houseplant pests such as spider mite and mealy bug. weekly for 3 or 4 weeks.