Herbs make an aromatic, colorful and lush addition to any backyard or container garden. Despite their often delicate taste, herbs are a resilient plants. Herbs require less maintenance and less fertilizer than vegetables. Most varieties will grow in Arizona. Some herbs, such as basil and parsley, fare well indoors in small pots. With monitoring, herbs such as mint, thyme, rosemary, dill and oregano will all grow outdoors in Arizona.
Things You'll Need
- Garden fork
- Rotted farmyard manure
- Young potted herbs
- Watering can
Buy young herb plants from an Arizona garden store. This is only a little more expensive than growing from seed, and you'll get herbs that are already acclimatized to the Arizona heat.
Find an area in your garden that gets drenched in sunlight for most of the morning, but ideally lies in partial shade after midday. This type of location helps prevent the plants from drying out when the Arizona sun is at its strongest.
Prepare your soil by digging 10 inches deep into the dirt. Turn over the area with a sturdy garden fork. Pick out rocks and weed roots. Break any soil clumps apart. Arizona often has clay-like soil that needs to be loosened.
Mix your ground soil with rotted farmyard manure or compost until the soil contains 50 percent organic matter. Arizona soil often requires additional organic material and nutrients for successful plant growth, according to the Arizona Herb Association. Wait six to eight weeks from when you add the manure to plant.
Dig a small hole in the soil with a trowel. Remove the young herb plant from its pot, being careful not to disturb its roots too much. Insert the plant into the hole and fill in the gaps with soil. Pat down the dirt around the plant so that it has a firm base.
Water the area. The Arizona heat will dry the ground quickly, so deep watering is essential to help the lower herb roots get the nourishment they need. The top couple of inches of soil should be moist--not dripping wet.
Water every day, with extra watering in the summer months. Don't add chemical fertilizer, which can impart an unpleasant flavor to the herbs. Instead spread more compost around your herbs a couple of times a year. This improves flavor, and helps the soil retain moisture.
Pinch off leaves frequently from the herbs as they grow. Harvesting in this way ensures that the new shoots stay sweet and the plant doesn't become too woody.
Tips & Warnings
- Plant in the fall for best results. Mid-summer heat can be too hot for successful early growth.
- Watch out for curling or drooping leaves. This can be a sign of too little or too much water.
- Photo Credit basil image by aliengel from Fotolia.com
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