Growing Herbs Organically

The most important thing to remember about growing herbs is that you are often growing plants for human consumption. In this case the natural strength of the herb is an essential factor. All herbs can be grown naturally without the aid of chemical fertilizers. Many are introductions from the wild and are classed as indigenous. Those that have been introduced from abroad have been cultivated without relying on chemical feeds and pesticide.
In mass commercial cultivation it is necessary to use well controlled pesticides, but policing of the herb industry, particularly of responsible members of the British. Herb Trade Association, is very rigid in its restrictions on the use of pesticides and fertilizers. Yet for the individual, small grower in their private plot or garden, there is no reason why an organic principle should not be adopted.
Your, herb garden should be a safe haven for bees and other animals. The herbs are there to help you. You can make up safe, harmless pesticides and insect repellents. Having prepared the soil well in the initial stages, then add natural fertilizers made from comfrey, yarrow and nettle. Add a few leaves of comfrey and nettle to a bucket of water and cover for two weeks to create a rich liquid feed. Alternatively, you can do as I have done and place a string bag of fresh comfrey leaves in a water butt and strain off the water for a light feed of your vegetables throughout the growing season. Yarrow and nettle, as well as comfrey, can be added to your compost heap to activate it.
If you are fortunate enough to have an area of your garden where you can create a compost heap then there is no finer way of recycling household waste and garden material for feeding and improving your soil. This in turn helps strengthen the roots and root systems of your herb garden.
A great deal has been written about the creation of compost heaps, with the result that it appear to be daunting. Do not let this put you off: it’s not that difficult. Foxes may come to have a chew over the raw and cooked remains of vegetable, but they play an advantageous role, as they are a deterrent to vermin.
The principle of compost making is to turn the waste plant material into rich humus as quickly as possible. A fear rules must be followed:
•          Enclose your compost heap in a well ventilated wooden or mesh structure. This helps the material to heat up quickly and so break it down_
•          Keep it slightly moist or cover with old sacking o: carpet to retain moisture and heat.
•          Only use soft material. Twigs and woody material will not break down quickly.
•          Turn the compost frequently and do not be tempted to dump all your grass clippings on at one go_ Put a few on at a time and add activators such comfrey, nettle and yarrow.
Build up your heap as quickly as possible, and then snake another, for next year.
With herbs the compost cars be applied when no: quite reduced to a friable. state. This encourages earthworm activity.
Woody material can be burned and the ashen added to the compost.
All compost heaps literally has a life of their own can turn you into an obsessive compost maker. re in to this a little. It’s a great relaxed at the end of and day at the office.
Leaf mould is equally useful as mulch. If you are to acquire some from local woodland then do so. For at least two years to make your own in piles of man leaves enclosed by chicken wire. If you have room it’s very rewarding to your patience: if not, rt to well composted forest bark.
Since adopting an organic principle and allowing to her sway I have been surprised to notice not many herbs seem to have a built-in immunity to pests and disease. No one can stand idly by and watch greenfly attack their roses. But companion planting, such as growing garlic and chives around roses, does seem to help the herbs gain in strength and so fend off the ravages of aphids.
Soap-based pesticides kill off (greenfly, and ladybirds are not harmed as they hunt them too. Bees become more and more in number as they realize the power of natural cultivation. It can take a little time for your garden to adjust to its dependence on chemical products, which can, in the case of herbs, cause plants to grow on too quickly, so that they become soft and `green’. Thereby weakening their defenses.
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