Common Herb Gardening Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

Common Herb Gardening Mistakes

Last Updated on October 31, 2021 by Phil

Common Herb Gardening MistakesGrowing your own herb garden is amazing because it allows you to have your own source of edibles at home. Whether you’re starting one indoor or outdoor, it’s important to be aware of the common herb gardening mistakes and how to avoid them. This lets you see your plants grow and let you enjoy their stems and leaves to your meals.

Doing so also gives you that sense of satisfaction that the herbs you planted grew instead of the frustration of seeing them die.

Starting Out with Difficult Herbs

Planting herbs is just like growing flowers. There are some species that are easy to grow because they’re resilient and don’t require much maintenance. Then, there are those that need a lot of caring or have a steeper learning curve.

When starting out, it’s always a good idea to start with things that are easy. The same is true with your herb garden.

Choosing easy to grow herbs like mint, thyme and rosemary allow you to get your feet wet and have quick success. This gives you the confidence that you can make it work.

Basil and oregano are two other easy to grow herbs that are edible as well. They’ll help yet learn the basics easier without getting discouraged.

Assuming All Herb Plants in the Nursery are Healthy

One rule of thumb I had to learn the hard was as to take my time and choose the right plants. Buying plants is just like buying fruits, you need to check each one out to see if they’re good.

Only then do you buy them.

With herbs, you want to choose those that are bright in color have a good amount of foliage and no bugs or indications of disease.

If there’s any of these in the plant you’re looking at, skip to the next one. Odds are any small indication of problems often means there are more you aren’t seeing.

It’s very important to choose the right herbs because not only do damaged herbs not grow, they may also destroy the surrounding plants around them.

Forgetting to Fertilize Them

All plants need oxygen, sunlight, water and nourishment. Fertilizer provides the last element on that list. Missing out on any of these essential things can cause your plant to not grow or die.

Herbs are the same way. To help the herbs grow and stay healthy, you need to provide it with the proper amount of fertilizer. Unlike other plants, you want to use all-purpose fertilizer that’s not harsh.

What’s great about hers is that they grow fairly fast. So, you’ll be able to harvest them a few times each season.

Because of this, it’s important to replenish their stores of nutrition by providing them with compost.

Not Taking Time to Choose the Right Environment to Plant Them In

Herbs need a good environment to grow optimally. Ideally, they should receive a lot of sunlight. This makes places near the windows, balconies and porches great areas to keep them.

Besides sun exposure, it’s also important to understand what kind of environment each herb you plan to plant thrives in. Some prefer humid environments while others grow better in warm, dry climates.

Not Pruning Your Herbs

preparing herbsPruning is a great way to enjoy what you sow and help keep the herbs growing. While it may sound counterintuitive, pruning them to harvest the leaves and stems help them sustain continuous growth. And, in doing so, you’re able to enjoy the herbs to mix with food or use as flavoring.

Cutting off the leaves and stems allows herbs to stay in their growth stage. This means that they will continue to form need leaves and stems.

On the other hand, if you let their stems grow long, the leaves eventually dry out and fall off. After a while, this ends the herb’s life cycle so it doesn’t bear any more leaves.

Using Chemicals

Many gardeners use chemicals to keep pests and insects away from their flowers and other plants in their gardens.

While this works, we don’t recommend them for herbs. That’s because you’re very likely to eat them fresh. Fresh herbs often mean light rinsing and used with food or as an ingredient.

So, using a lot of chemicals ultimately can harm your body. They are toxic to eat and when sprayed to herbs can be transferred to you if you don’t clean the herbs thoroughly.

Another reason to avoid chemicals is if you have pets who wander around. So pets will sniff and eat these edible herbs and with them the sprayed chemicals.

Forgetting to Water Regularly… Or Doing It Incorrectly

Herbs need consistent watering. But, when you water and how you water are just as important.

Different plants require different watering schedules. For example, most house plants only need to be watered once a week. When doing so, you water them deeply so they have enough stores for the remainder of the week.

Herbs are different. They prefer more regular, light watering. So, it’s better to do this every day. If not, every other day. It’s also important not to drown them with water. Doing so is just as bad as not watering them enough.

To prevent overwatering, make sure that you use pots that allow excess water to drain.

Incorrect Planting

Plants need their space to grow properly. Two very important things to take note of before planting herbs is how much space they need between planting and how deep a container do they need.

You’ll find the information in the packets when you buy the herb from the nursery.

The depth of the tray or pot allows roots to fully grow. Similarly, leaving enough space between plants gives them room to bloom without overcrowding.

Using the Wrong Kind of Soil

plant soilOne of the most common mistakes I’ve seen beginners do is choose soil. While they may look alike, the quality of soil can differ significantly.

Rich, high quality soil allows your herbs to grow and bear leaves. But, the same herb plant will have trouble or may not even grow when planted into low quality soil.

For planting purposes, soil with good pH levels and organic content are ideal. You can also add compost to help make it a better environment for the plants to grow.

Not Doing Regular Inspections

Like people, plants can get sick. This will come in the form of malformed or damaged leaves. They can also turn brown or yellowish in color.

Regular monitoring and keen observation allows you to see any changes in the herb’s coloring, leave formation and stems early on. This lets you save the plant.


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