Herbs are very wonderful parts of diets not only because of their spicy taste but also that they contain medicinal values that cannot be found in other plants. These herbs add additional value to our environment by providing habitat and food for backyard birds. Sometimes buying herbs can be quite difficult for a birder whom besides food wants to attract backyard and wild birds. The only way to get fresh herbs all year long is by planting them in a little garden in your home. The best place for a backyard garden is near the kitchen. You may not have enough space to put a herb garden but that can be done by doing it small scale in a window box or pots on a window sill in summer which can be brought inside during winter. Having your backyard garden next to your kitchen makes it easy to provide food and water for the visiting wild birds. You’ll be able to monitor and record birds on a daily basis in the morning, mid-day and evenings and all your food leftovers are easily placed for the wild birds. Watering and caring for the herbs is made easier with the choice of the garden.
There are herbs that are evergreen which include rosemary, bay, thyme, and winter savory. They look beautiful and green all year long despite the different seasons. Apart from these there are also herbs that are easy to grow but require regular renewal, they include, parsley, chives, tarragon, basil, marjoram and rockets. Sometimes herbs such as chives will easily and even grow in the kitchen, but others cannot stand the heat so they have to be placed outside. Flowering herbs will attract garden birds from long distance due to their strong and sweet smell, other than flowers for nectar these plants attract insects offering birds a diverse diet.
When selecting flower pots, 4/5 inch flower pots are usually big enough to use when planting herbs. Put broken crocks in the bottom of the pots for drainage. After getting the right ones for your herbs you can then decide to grow annuals from seeds and perennials which go on growing for years that are well bought as well established plants from a garden or nursery and stuffed straight into pots. The pots should be kept just moist and never over watered. It is advisable also not to use garden soil because it is usually full of weeds and diseases that can easily be transferred to the herbs. For fertilizer, choose a general fertilizer that is not too high on nitrogen. Using one that is high in nitrogen makes the plants get long, leggy and weak. Feed the plants only once a week with a liquid feed.
Here are some of the herbs to plant and what time of the year they should be planted.
Balm: A hardy perennial that is to be planted during spring.
Basil: It is a half –hardy annual that is easier to grow inside than outside. Plant it indoors in early spring and gradually pot up. Sow seeds outdoors in late spring to early summer. Ensure that you don’t buy bush basil, only sweet or lemon.
Chives: These herbs flourish in window boxes even in towns. The leaves can be cut back (half or more) in the early part of the year and should be done so repeatedly so that new leaves continue to sprout.
Fennel: It’s a hardy perennial. You should plant it outside from spring to early summer. Keep trim by pinching back growing shoots. The fennel is a diuretic, laxative, tonic that helps ease wind and digestive problems, colic, constipation and bronchitis.
Rosemary: It’s an evergreen perennial that should be grown from 6 inch cuttings in spring or autumn and then brought inside during winter frosts. You must keep it neat and bushy by pinching back growing shoots or it grows to a very large bush if not clipped. Rosemary is antiseptic, refreshing and stimulating .It helps headaches, migraine, colds, bronchitis and muscular pains.
Rockets: A very rare herb that you can boast about to your friends. It was reputedly, King Charles II’s favorite salad vegetable. It’s an annual herb that should be sown directly where it is going to grow. With its very strong taste; you should use just a little in your salad so that not to overdo it.
Mint- Is planted from seed at any time from spring to autumn. It needs good soil and moisture and some shade. Mint can be very invasive and is best grown in a mini-grow bag, which keeps it in one place.
Parsley: It’s a biennial plant which runs to seed in the second year. Should be used and be sowed annually. Parsley takes a couple of months to germinate. Although it doesn’t like being indoors, it will survive well being brought into the kitchen during winter.
Sage: Hardy perennial. Dwarf garden sage, which is more compact than the floppy broad –leaved sage. It needs a sunny situation.
Sweet Marjoram: It is a delicate perennial so best treat as an annual and grow from seed outdoors in late spring to early summer. Needs sun and warmth.
Thyme: Small hardy shrub that can be grown from cuttings in early summer.
Tarragon: Perennial French tarragon is the best to plant. Buy rooted cuttings or small growing clumps. Multiply it by division if you want to keep a constant supply of new plants.
How to Eliminate Garden Problems of Pests and Weeds
Garden problems of pests and weeds are common and every gardener whether a beginner or expert finds himself dealing with it at some point of his work. It is not possible to pass through life without experiencing a few pests. Different plants attract different pests and diseases and some problems come as a result of specific weather.
When dealing with pest and weed control, there are two kinds of cure: cultural and chemical.
Cultural Cure as A Way of Eliminating Pests and Weeds
These are basically preventive and involve preparing the garden thoroughly so that your plants have the very best chance of living a healthy life.
Dig thoroughly so that to avoid waterlogged grounds that leads to rotting of roots. If you have a heavy sticky soil, work in plenty of well rooted compost, peat or even course grit.
Buy fresh seeds and healthy plants. Then saw and plant at the right time taking note of the instructions on seed packets.
Make sure that you feed our plant properly.
Never leave rubbish or old plants about to attract woodlice, remember that garden birds will feed on these pests hence naturally controlling them. Avoid use of harmful chemicals if you’re targeting backyard birds, harmful chemicals will kill your birds instantly as they feed on the sprayed pests and insects.