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Six Lessons from the Culinary Herb Garden

1. Repot Mint EVERY Year

I’ve noticed that mint really likes being repotted in a larger container. We repotted our peppermint in The Herb Garden this spring. The result was a lush and gorgeous plant! I didn’t repot my mint at home, and it stayed small and scrawny.

2. Keep Woody Perennials under Control

Shear thyme after it is done blooming. Shear again in the fall or spring. If you don’t, the stems will get too large and flop over. This creates a hole in the center of the plant, making it look unattractive. thyme-530.jpg

3. Get Creative with Hops

Since hops die back to the ground each winter, it is easy try a new way of training or trellising them. This year we loosely tied the vines to a nylon-coated wire running along the top of the courtyard wall. Look how far they’ve grown! To encourage vines to grow longer, cut back to the ground all but the three or four most vigorous stems. Continue to cut back any new sprouts at the base of the plant.

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The Importance of Soil Temperature 

Soil temperature is very important when germinating seeds—so don’t start too early! The garlic chive seeds I planted in February never germinated. I’m pretty sure the greenhouse was too cool. Another flat was seeded in late April. With warmer temperatures in the greenhouse, the seeds germinated in less than a week! 

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5. Try Something Different

One of our volunteers suggested planting the parsley six inches apart rather than twelve. We went for it, and I love the results! The plants have grown together, giving a very lush, full look.

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6. Patience is Key

You need to be patient when waiting for seeds to sprout in your garden. Be sure to look on the seed package to see how long it takes for seedlings to emerge after sowing. Some seeds take a lot longer than others. Dill, for example, can take ten to twenty-one days. I think ours took twenty-one days! I was just about to give up on it when little seedlings finally started popping up.

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What herb garden advice have you learned over the years? Share your favorite tip with us!