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Updated 12 March 2013

Maintaining your herb garden

Follow these tips to ensure that your new herb garden brings you joy all year round.

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Be weary with water

Watering is as important as good drainage, rather water the herbs too little than too much. Your herbs are thirsty when the top two to three centimetres of the soil is dry. Water your herbs often and make sure that when you do the pot is saturated deeply as this allows the plants to grow strong roots. The correct way to water herbs is to add water until it runs out the drainage holes at the bottom of the pot.

Feeding your herbs

The growing season for herbs in South Africa stretches from August to April. During this time you have to fertilize them at least once a month. During winter, one or two doses in total will be enough. Don't over do it on the fertilizer, or else you will end up with scraggly herbs. Rather let the herbs "suffer" a little as then their essential oils become more concentrated and their flavour and medicinal value are increased. If you are growing herbs for medicinal purposes, only use organic fertilizer.

Be a herbal hairdresser

Just like you need a good haircut every now and again, so do your herbs. Pruning your herbs by regularly removing any dead leaves and flowers, will encourage a bushy, healthy growth. Make sure that you prune faster growing herbs more often so that they don't overgrow the other herbs and take up all the space and food. Mint is one of these greedy plants, so don't plant it in the same container as other herbs. Weeding also eliminates competition.

 
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