Monday, August 17, 2009

Growing Herbs in Zimbabwe

Growing herbs for culinary and/or medicinal use is only a pleasure - once established they need little attention - except to be watered.

Buy good quality seedlings as they are quicker and easier to handle than producing your own seedlings direct from seed. Never buy just one plant - three is a good number and then you will have a reasonable crop as well as filling up your herb garden quickly.

I like to grown herbs so that they form a mass of colour and aroma - i plant wild flowers among them to add interest.

If you follow these guide lines you will have little trouble in establishing a good supply all year round!

You should prepare the ground well in advance and remove weeds (they compete with herbs - after all a weed is only a herb no one has found a use for!), add compost, and rake the soil so that the bed is level. Herbs do not need large amounts of manure or fertiliser and excessive use will only produce soft growth.

Before transplanting your herbs out of their sleeves into the ground, water the plants well because a dry ball of roots is difficult to wet thoroughly once it is in the ground.

Because sleeves are small, herbs tend to become root bound. To encourage new root growth gently loosen the root ball before planting in the ground. Pinch out the tips of shrubby herbs, like thyme, to encourage bushy growth. Add some bone meal or fish meal at the bottom of each planting hole.

If you have designed a herb garden , first set the herbs in their positions. you may find your original plan does not quite appeal to you. It is easier to move them around while they are still in their sleeves, rather than having to transplant them later. Space them according to their expected height and spread so they have room to develop.

After planting, firm the soil gently around the plant and water thoroughly to settle the soil and give the herb a good start.

Some herbs, like the mints and thyme can be invasive. You can restrict their spread by planting them in sunken containers. Remove any spreading material immediately. unless you wish them to cover an area of soil or grow into the grass or path at the edge.

Good herb planting!

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