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Novice Gardeners Should Consider Herbs!

Novice Gardeners Should Consider Herbs!

Variegated lemon thyme. Photo: JMcConnell, UF/IFAS

Variegated lemon thyme. Photo: JMcConnell, UF/IFAS

If you have ever thought about gardening but feel too intimidated to give it a try, consider starting with a herb garden!

Culinary herbs are generally very easy to grow and very forgiving of the neglectful gardener. They have relatively few pest or disease problems and thrive in hot climates on poor soils. An added benefit of growing herbs is that some parts are edible and can really liven up a plain dish.

Just like with other plants, there are both annual and perennial herbs. Annuals only live for one season and will need to be replanted or allowed to go to seed for the next season’s plant. An example of an easy to grow herb with an annual life cycle is basil. Basil comes in many different flavors and can be purchased as a transplant (small plant) or grown from seed. It performs well in warm weather and will be killed by a hard frost. Basil grows well in part to full sun and when it flowers it is attractive to bees and other pollinators. If you allow it to go to seed, you will have more plants throughout the growing season and more the following year.

Some perennial herbs that are easy to grow are rosemary, thyme, and mint. All of these plants can live for many years in the home garden. Rosemary and thyme like sunny spots but have very different growth habits. Rosemary will grow into a large woody shrub while thyme is low growing and hugs the ground. Both like full sun and good drainage. Another perennial herb that fits into shady sites with moist soil is mint. Mint has a vining habit and can either trail over the edges of pots or can form a dense mat in a flower bed. It will root wherever the stem touches the ground, so it is also easy to divide plants and share with friends.

To learn more about herbs read Herbs in the Florida Garden or attend our upcoming class “More Cooking With Herbs” where you will learn how to grow and cook with them! Class will be held on Saturday, November 14th from 9 a.m. – 12 noon. Pre-registration and payment of $ 10 is required no later than November 9th to attend the class. For more details or to register, call our office at 850-784-6105.

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Author: Julie McConnell – juliebmcconnell@ufl.edu

UF/IFAS Bay County Horticulture Extension Agent I

Julie McConnell

Permanent link to this article: http://okaloosa.ifas.ufl.edu/newsletters/2015/10/27/novice-gardeners-should-consider-herbs/