Introduction on how to start a backyard herbs farming
The fresh fragrance of a sprinkle of chopped coriander in soup, the robust earthy flavor of curry leaves in curry, and the energizing taste of just-picked mint in the morning tea are just a few of the reasons it’s easy to be inclined to cooking with herbs picked from your backyard garden. Now, let us get into farming of herbs in the backyard.
A step by step guide to backyard herbs farming
If you have a backyard area, then growing your fresh herbs is very easy nowadays. Flavoring your food with fresh herbs through your kitchen garden can compete with using prepackaged dry herbs from supermarkets. Also, there is something very simple, substantial, and organic about snipping off just what you require from your garden instead of having to fork out a few bucks for a bunch at the stores.
We have mentioned a few aspects that you should know about if you desire to grow your very own herb garden.
Preparing the soil for backyard herbs farming
- Herbs are considered simple plants to grow. Most herbs love the sun, so all you need to get started is a proper, sunny place in your house for them to call home. Growing them at home will make them organic and ensure you don’t use pesticides and herbicides that are inevitable in commercially grown herbs.
- Choose a container that has ample drainage holes and is large enough to hold the plants. You can also happily grow herbs in empty milk cartons, plastic bottle cutouts, juice cartons, etc.
- Make sure to buy a tray to place underneath your pot which will drain off excess water.
- Next, make your potting soil by adding 50% ordinary garden soil with 50% homemade compost. Wet waste from your kitchen waste (include tea leaves, vegetable peels, eggshells, stalks), when composted, makes great mulch for your herbs.
- Not only do your herbs thrive in this compost, but it also helps you provide the satisfaction of disposing of your waste on the roads and putting it for a purpose.
- Start potting by filling the container using the compost-soil mix around three-quarters of the way up. Moisten the soil carefully with water until moist but not completely wet. Take care not to damage the roots, evenly give proper space to the herbs in the container, and sprinkle enough potting soil to cover the roots completely. After this, pat the soil down slightly and water the soil.
Note: When growing mint, plant it in its container as the mint grows profusely like a weed and can easily compete and crowd out other herbs.
Care in backyard herbs farming
Light: Most herbs grow perfectly in a bright sunlit place. Regularly change the orientation of your pots concerning the source of sunlight to ensure herbs are not bent in one direction. If you find your herbs have long stems but few leaves, then note that they are not getting enough light.
Water: Water each herb as per the individual needs. To make this easier, plant herbs with similar watering requirements in the same pot. Check the soil moisture before you water your herbs to avoid overwatering. To do this, insert one finger up to the knuckle into the soil to test moisture. Water your herbs based on soil dryness.
Also, as soggy soil quickly causes root rot, don’t let the water settle at the bottom of the pot. One of the first signs of overwatering is leaves become yellow.
Air Circulation: Air movement is essential for herbs as herbs that are grown in stuffy conditions often seem weak and get pests.
Clipping/Pruning: Fortunately for your cooking, even young herb plants need timely clipping to encourage them to branch out and become fuller. So ensure you prune often but do not cut more than what is needed. If your herbs are flowering, it means they are not being pruned properly. It will greatly enhance the growth if prune them properly.
Harvesting in backyard herbs farming
The best part thing while using fresh herbs is that a little will go a long way. Based on how mature your plants were when they were planted, you can commonly start harvesting herbs right away. Use sharp clean scissors to cut the fragrant leaves off the plants. Remember to snip the leaves near the base first, so the plant will start to grow and fill out. Also, some plants such as parsley grow new leaves from the center that means you will require to remove the old plants completely.
List of herbs that can be grown easily at home
Each herb has a diverse aroma and taste. Choose ones that are often used in your cooking. Also, learn about the growth pattern of the plants before you obtain them. Here are a few famous herbs you can grow in your garden to relish their fresh-from-the-earth taste during your lunch or dinner time.
You can sow a row of whole coriander seeds taking from the kitchen and place them in a pot on a sunny window sill in early spring. Make sure you don’t over-water the plant. Soon you’ll see little shoots of coriander which can be plucked and used as this is an everyday herb meant to garnish your food. Refreshing and light, dhani, coriander, or cilantro partners brilliantly with any Indian food.
2. Spear Mint/Pudina
If you happen to have bought mint stalks with roots, you can directly plant them (after using the leaves) in a pot. Very simple to grow, once mint takes root it is quite a fruitful herb. It is suggested that you grow it in a pot or else this invasive herb can take clear your green patch. The flavorful green leaves of mint will help you prepare the freshest of chutneys, and enhance your raita.
3. Holy Basil/Tulsi
A sacred herb which grows in many Indian homes, tulsi requires plenty of sunlight and water. It should be planted right before the monsoon, in intense heat, and permitted to grow through the rain and cooler climate. The leaves have a warm, spicy flavor. Add a few leaves of tulsi as a flavor to your tea and to heal throat infections, cough, or cold. Also, try a crushed leaf of this homegrown herb to a stinging insect bite as natural pain relief.
You can grow lemongrass after rooting a market-bought stalk. First, place it in a jar of water. Change the water daily till the lemongrass grows up to 2 inches tall and then transplant it to a sunny spot and keep it hydrated. Most people use lemongrass for flavoring their tea, but it can be also be used to prepare Thai curries, flavored pasta sauce, and marinades.
5. Curry Leaves/Kadi Patta
The fragrant curry leaf plant requires abundant sunlight. So keep it under direct sunlight for most of the year but not in hot summers. While seeds work well, using stem cuttings (around 3 inches long) is considered the easiest method to plant it. Leftover curd or buttermilk serves as excellent home-produced fertilizers that promote the growth of this plant that is famous for its unmatched flavor.
Growing the ajwain plant is simple. It does not demand too much sunlight or water. The beautiful ridged leaves of the ajwain plant are edible and are the best remedies for stomach upsets. Add it to raita, sprinkle on to salads for a relishing taste or chew a few leaves as an instant natural mouth freshener! Interestingly, it is also said as per Feng Shui, this plant is considered lucky for your house.
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7. Dill/Sowa Bhaji
The Dill plant grows well in well-drained, sunny spots and shelter from the wind. Use stalks to provide support to the plant that dislikes being transplanted, and is best sown in spring. Both, the seeds and the leaves of this herb seem to have a sharp, slightly bitter taste. Extensively in South Indian cooking, Dill can also be used to flavor fish, salads, soups, poultry, meat, omelets, and potatoes.
8. Chili Pepper
This is famous to be the signature herb of Indian cuisine, Indian chilies are an ideal candidate for herb gardening. Just grab a dried red chili from your spice jar, break it, and gather the seeds for sowing. Allow them to germinate in a seed tray before transferring the delicate saplings into a bigger pot when they attain the 4 or 6 leaf stage. Chili plants love heat and water in equal quantities, and they will do best in a place where there is loads of sunshine.
Sow the Thyme seeds in early March, and keep the spacing of six inches between two seeds. Thyme demands light sunshine, grows slowly from seed, and must be allowed a few months of growth to become firm, before cutting. You can use the intensely aromatic thyme leaves in a marinade for meat and fish or use it for flavor rice and stir-fried veggies. The blossoms can also be edible flowers.
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To enhance germination, it is suggested to soak seeds overnight and plant them fairly together as they grow well on the competition. The germination period is long, about three to four weeks, so be patient. Picking parsley often aids in growing. Parsley is majorly used as a garnish in pasta, salads, and sauces.
Rosemary is usually cultivated by cuttings as seeds can be difficult for germination. Once it has taken root, this perennial, woody shrub will be there for many years. It grows perfectly in well-drained alkaline soil and prefers hot sunny climates. Prune it properly so that the plant doesn’t get spindly. Rosemary will have a strong aroma and is generally used in Mediterranean cuisine.
12. Indian Sorrel/Chaangeri
A well-documented ayurvedic herb useful in vitamin C deficiency, indigestion, and diarrhea, rheumatoid arthritis, Chaangeri, or Indian Sorrel has a delicious sweet-sour taste. It grows perfectly in sunlight but doesn’t mind a shady patch near the shrubs. The flowers, fruit, and leaves are entirely edible and can be blended with mint, coriander, and raw mango to prepare a great green chutney.
Here’s the whole process of growing the herbs at backyard where you can maintain the herbs garden which also fulfills your food essentials. Now that you are aware of the process, just have your gardening gloves and begin your herb patch. After all, preparing your food using a sprinkle of herbs freshly picked from your kitchen garden is awesome!
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