Cameron MacDonald from Pointe Claire Nursery will teach us how to handle the herbs we love to snip and toss in our salads and salsas throughout the summer.
Herb Growing 101
-To grow lush, tasty herbs, you will need a location with full sun (at least 6 hours of mid day sunlight). Don’t bother planting in an area with less than optimal light as you will get long, stringy, less than desirable growth.
-When planting, it is essential to start with fresh potting soil. Do not use black earth or top soil in pots, as they are too heavy and will not produce tender growth. In addition never re-use last year’s earth, it is often compacted and full of roots.
-If you have a garden plot, remember that many herbs are perennials. Thyme, Oregano, Chives, Mint and Tarragon to name a few, will all grow larger with each passing year. Keep in mind that herbs will not overwinter in a pot and some newer varieties are are not at all winter hardy in our zone 5 climate (tri-coloured Sage for example). Our herbs are all labelled, so you can tell the hardiness of each variety.
-Some herbs go to seed quickly (after which they cease to produce new growth). Cilantro, Arugula, Dill, Chervil all fall into this category. The best idea is to buy a seedling, and plant a pack of seeds along side– when the initial plant is done, you will have new, fresh growth that is ready to use.
-Remember to snip, or pinch off flowers on herbs such as basil and oregano, as this will encourage new leafy growth, rather than unwanted flowers and seeds.
-One thing to remember when planting an herb garden or pot, is to keep in mind the space requirements for each. Pot-bound roots will produce tough growth that cannot be used for cooking. Similarly, plants which have gown into each other will have inedible yellowing leaves toward the center and base of the plant.
Come stop by our greenhouse where we stock over 100 varieties of organically grown herb and vegetable seedlings!