Lavendar (back row, left),
mint (front row, left), and
useful herbal plants
Words by Ruby Wu
Translated by Angel Pu
In Europe and North America, many people grow herbs at home as a means of beautification and adding flavors to their cooking. Whatever the size of your dwelling, it's pretty easy and fun to cultivate a variety of herbs on windowsills or balconies.
Most herbs are suitable for growing in the spring and fall. It's easier for beginners to buy budded herb plants from flower shops. The flowerpots from these shops are normally three inches in diameter, and the plants need to be transplated to five-inch pots to keep growing. One of the most important things for herb plants is drainage. There must be holes in the bottom of the pots and a mixture of garden soil with some sand, perlite and vermiculite offers better drainage.
Caring for your plants
As we all know, water, soil and sunshine are the most crucial elements for raising plants. Some plants such as mint grow better with moist soil, while others like rosemary are suitable for dry soil. Therefore, it's quite important to understand the differences between different herbs. To measure the humidity of soil, stick your finger into it all the way to the second knuckle. Water your plant if it's too dry or the leaves seem droopy. There should be enough water that it runs out from pot's bottom. The best time to water is morning and early evening.
Herbs love sunny, airy environments, but you should avoid over-exposing the plants to sunshine in summer, especially those with thinner leaves such as thyme. In the rainy season, often trimming the plants is good for ventilation, and remember to dump out the water in the plate under the pots to prevent rotten roots. Applying fertilizer and cutting withered leaves keep the plants healthy and pretty--just follow the instructions on the fertilizer bag. When healthy white roots begin sticking out from the pot's bottom, it means the pot is too small for the plant to grow. Transplant your herbs to a pot that is two times bigger than the original one.
Perennial herbs, including parsley, sage, thyme, mint and oregano leaves, live for over two years and grow and bloom over spring and summer. Removing the flower buds ensures the plants live longer and grow more leaves. You can add boiled water to the picked flower buds (like lavender) and sweeten them with some honey. Use or eat the leaves and flowers as soon as they are plucked!
For more information about herbs, search "Taichung City Gardeners" on Facebook or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Left; You can grow different kinds of herbs
in one pot, such as thyme and basil (left)
and rosemary (right).