Wednesday, September 20, 2006

How To Grow Herbs

How To Grow Herbs

There are many people who will put a lot of effort into learning how to grow herbs. As a practicing herbalist, and a gardener with more than ten years experience, I can tell you: this is a mistake. There's no guide to how to grow herbs. It is something that you have to learn yourself. Of course, there are books that will give you instructions on how to grow herbs – type of soil needed for each plant, amount of water, amount of sunlight. This is all useful stuff, but none of it really beats experimenting by yourself.

Growing herbs is not just a matter of following a recipe, it is about watching the plants grow, seeing how they react to the environment in which they are placed, seeing how small change effect them. Even different spots in the same room in front of the same window may have remarkably different effects on a particularly temperamental plant.

Not that I would advise you against using any outside information on how to grow herbs, but really, when you are just starting, you probably won't have to go much farther than a few minutes of conversation with the seller in your local nursery, and the instructions on the packet of seeds. Start with some very simple instructions, and tend to them faithfully. If you are really interested in how to grow herbs, you will learn more from just carefully watching your plants grow and recording the details yourself. Once you have been gardening for a few years, then you can get outside information on how to grow herbs, and learn things from the experts.

It comes down to a few basic problems in our society, I think. Even when someone is studying something done out of love, such as how to grow herbs, they often want to come into it as an expert. Most gardeners, instead of putting in the time with an active and attentive mind, start out by consulting every book on how to grow herbs. By the time they actually are growing their herbs, it has become something tedious and academic, and they have probably burnt out on it. This is the surest way to miss the magic of tending to growing things. Learn how to grow herbs yourself. You will thank yourself for the time spent, and I guarantee, you will grow better plants in the long run if you do.

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