Spring herb festivals help kick off gardening season
By Leah Chester-Davis
Herb festivals across the state help usher in the gardening season each year. Herbs are among the easiest plants to grow. Whether you have a small space and room for only a few containers, or you wish to add herbs to your landscape, festivals offer the chance to meet growers, learn about growing requirements, get a look at a variety of plants, and enjoy all kinds of tips, advice and inspiration.
Andy Reed, Asheville Herb Festival manager, says that to get the most of a festival experience, talk with the growers. Ask questions and find out what varieties best suit your needs. Start with herbs you like to cook with and don’t fret if something you try doesn’t work; try a different plant next year.
Deborah Crumpton, owner of Running Pine Herb Farm in Reidsville and an EnergyUnited member, sells at local farmers markets, the Asheville Herb Festival and the Cabarrus Herb Festival. She offers these tips when visiting a festival:
- Go with a plan. Have an idea of what your favorite herbs are and what you want to try. Take a list with you.
- Know the growing requirements in your region or ask the grower what works best in your area. For example, if you’re visiting the Asheville market but live in the Piedmont inquire about any special considerations for your area.
- Bring some type of large basket or container to carry plants and other purchases. Some people bring wagons.Prep your growing area now so that when you get your herbs home you will have a place for them. Keep in mind that most herbs like at least 6 hours of sun each day.
- Make sure your growing area has good drainage; herbs don’t like wet feet. If you have clay soil, add amendments.