Dealing with summer heat - Darren Wogman Gets Gardening

  While spring has been a very wet one this year, already plants are suffering from the summer heat, which leads to them not having enough water at their root systems. Water companies are maybe thinking about hosepipe bans and so how to use water efficiently and to benefit your garden is highly important.      Established large plants such as trees and shrubs are mostly ok. They have a greater spread of roots underground than there are branches, twigs and leaves about ground. There is a balance between the plant’s ability to draw water from the ground and the amount of growth attained above ground, and in a dry year, the growth rings of trees will be closer together than in wet years. Dendrochronology is the science of mapping tree rings from this data and tells us how the moisture has affected tree growth, enabling trees to be dated accurately. Plants can absorb nutrients only in soluble form, and in dry conditions the growth will slow down tremendously. A really good wat

Darren Wogman Gets Gardening - A Guide to Herbs at Home

 Darren Wogman Gets Gardening - A Guide to Herbs at Home

Herbs are a great addition to any garden, no matter what the size. They provide an ongoing mix of scents and colours and tend to produce all year round. They're simple to cultivate and trim, for your own use.

These plants have such varied uses. You can cultivate them for cooking or keep them in place to act as attractive shrubs or borders in your garden.

Woody herbs like Thyme and Rosemary will do well outdoors in most climates, while tender herbs like parsley or basil may be better suited to a window box or something with much more shelter and protection from the elements.

The nice thing about herb growing is that you can place them in purpose-built herb or vegetable gardens as well as in raised potting or flower beds. Herbs also do very well in pots and this may be a better option for people with limited planting space. Growing in pots also prevents the plants from getting too out of control and allows them to be moved around your space with relative ease. 



What to pick 

The biggest challenge is to pick which herbs you're going to start trying to grow. There are so many options. Darren Wogman Gets Gardening would recommend starting small and building up. There's no pint buying a forest of herbs and find that you've not got the time or space to take care of everything suitably. 

You can always add more, taking away can be more challenging!

Woody herbs are a good starter. They're low maintenance and easy to care for. They grow slowly though, so you will need to be patient. 

Top woody herbs to grow at home include: Rosemary, Lavender and Thyme

Tender leafed herbs are less hardy and are more susceptible to frosts and pests.

Top tender herbs to grow at home include: Basil, Tarragon, Borage

Mint sort of sits between these categorisations. Mint is surprisingly hardy and bushy. It can be grown with little oversight, but you should keep it pruned so that the young, fresher leaves are accessible. These are the ones you'll want to pick for use. The older leaves can lose their fragrance and become a bit woody and 'green' tasting.

Mint - Easy to grow, quick to produce and a top pick for any garden

Where to grow your herbs

OK, so you've decided what you're going to be growing. The next big question is where. I've spoken before about the importance of placement in your garden. The same rules apply here. Although herbs tend to be a bit hardier than other garden favourites, there's still lots to consider.

Planning is key to the success of any garden. Don't skimp this step!

Herbs like well-drained soil that holds its moisture well. It might be necessary to improve your soil if it is heavy, low-nutrient or clay-dominated. You don't need to do go mad here, but in general herbs want less water than you might expect - especially for the woody perennials. Do make sure you've got soil that is well fertilised and even consider laying down some mulch into your planting area. I wouldn't worry to much about liquid plant food, especially for the first season. Let your herbs establish themselves naturally. 

Do ensure that you're placing them in a sunny place, with full light. All plants need light to help growth, and herbs are no exception to this.

  • Sow coriander and dill seeds every two weeks for the entire growing season, once the last frost have well and truly left.
  • Keeping your herb garden producing all season means you should try to pick varieties that mature at different times. There's no pint in having everything reach maturity at the same time, you'll have a glut of herbs and no real means to store them. You want to use herbs at their peak. Plan for it.
  • Tender herbs can be grown in pots and brought inside during the colder times of year. Things like chives and tarragon will thank you. Frost can be a real killer for tender herbs and their leaves will turn to mush on the plant, causing further issues. When inside, try to ensure they're still getting plenty of sunlight.

There's a great video from RHS on growing herbs in pots that is well worth a watch:

Happy planting! Darren Wogman


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