Easy herbs

Easy herbs

Herbs are easy to grow because they have few pest problems and are rarely bothered by deer. The key to a good herb garden is excellent drainage and lots of sun. Raised beds work well for herbs because they increase drainage and can be filled with a sandy soil mix. Mixing compost into the soil is beneficial, but fertilizers should be applied sparingly since high nutrient levels reduce flavor intensity.

Many herbs are perennial and do not have to be replanted each season. Among the easiest to grow are rosemary and chives. Rosemary grows into a large, evergreen shrub, often reaching 4 feet in height and width. Chives are much smaller plants with tubular, grass like leaves. Oregano and sage are also undemanding, but thyme is less tolerant of summer humidity and may need to be replanted every few years. Mint is very easy to grow, but also very invasive. It should be planted in a large pot where its rapidly spreading roots will stay contained.

Basil, dill, parsley and cilantro are annual herbs. This means they live only one season and must be planted anew each year. Basil requires warm weather, while dill, parsley, and cilantro thrive in the cooler temperatures of fall and spring. Basil is very easy to grow from seed and should be planted outdoors in April. Dill, parsley and cilantro can be planted outside in March to harvest in spring. They may not survive the heat of summer, but a second planting in September will provide flavorful herbs for fall and winter.

—N.C. Cooperative Extension

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