Those new to the art and science of growing herbs need to know the importance of the soil that will be used. No matter how much sunlight the plant gets or how often it is watered, without the proper soil mixture, the herb will not reach its maximum potential and may not even grow.
The most important thing that you need to know about growing herbs is that most, if not all of them, will flourish under a variety of soil types. A lot of them of course will blossom more quickly if the land is moist, but too wet a surface will spoil the plant. Another potential problem will be the drainage system, because the lack of it will hamper the growth of the plants.
If you plan on growing herbs like rosemary and sage, they require very good drainage systems aside from quality oil. Even if the soil is of good quality, without a good draining system it will be of no use because the plants will not benefit from it. The best way to remedy this situation is by raising the beds and adding compost (about 100 sq ft per prior to plating).
Contrary to popular belief, growing herbs in high fertility soil is not recommended, and it is better to use the low or medium fertility types. When you use the high fertility kind, the end result will usually be herbs with plenty of leaves but poor flavor. If you use the low to medium types, the maximum flavor will be attained.
Be careful when you use fertilizers. Although you may be tempted to use plenty of fertilizers for growing herbs because you used the low fertility type, such is not the case. The properties inherent in low and medium soil will be sufficient to nourish the plants, together with the appropriate draining system and of course, sunlight and watering.
The amount you need to do regarding the latter will depend on the prevailing conditions of course. The hotter it is, the more frequently you will need to moisten the soil. However for the most part, you will be able to determine the amount necessary by checking if it is moist. If it is, there is no need to water it.
Because growing herbs depend a great deal on the soil, it is important that you spend the time needed for researching and working on it. The more time you invest in this aspect of gardening, the more satisfying the results of your labors will be.
Originally posted 2009-07-12 12:00:28.