Maintain a Small Flower and Herb Garden

Edited by Mian Sheilette Ong, Eng, Lynn, Nuance

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Part of having a sustainable home these days is maintaining a small flower and herb garden. Waking up every day and seeing a small patch of soil come to life is a refreshing feeling. Flowers and herbs that thrive through your care, brings a special warm and welcoming feeling to your home. However, you should take note that starting and maintaining an herb and flower garden takes planning, effort, and time. These plants are not made of plastic. They don't stay vibrant just by placing them in soil. They need proper tending and attention, just like any living organism. Imagine yourself picking flowers and harvesting herbs for your own use. You can beautify your home without purchasing from a local flower shop. You can make pesto without buying the processed bottled version from the grocery store. If you maintain your small garden, it could very well change your life.

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The Usual Mistakes Made in Flower and Herb Gardening

It's easy to decide to start a small flower and herb garden. It's a great idea. Usually, many people start the endeavor without any amount of preparation, thinking it's easy to just let the plants grow. Below are some of the common mistakes made in having a small flower and herb garden and how to avoid them:

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  1. 1
    Purchasing unhealthy flowers and herbs.
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    If you want to create your home garden on the right foot, you have to choose healthy plant specimens. The plant should have rich foliage and vibrant colors. It should not have any bug eggs. If you do end up with an infested or sick plant, get rid of it, to avoid the rest of your plants becoming contaminated.
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  2. 2
    Planting in the wrong place.
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    Many people don't bother to spend time learning about the flower or herb they want to plant, The plants they choose may not love the sun too much or may thrive in less sunlight. Other plants may like the shade better. If your plants prefer varied amounts of sunlight, place them in a rolling pot so you can just move them around.
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  3. 3
    Cut whenever you have to.
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    Pruning has to be done frequently to keep the plants in their growth stage a lot longer. This applies more to herbs. When you prune your herbs, you harvest their flavorful stems and leaves. Rather than prune your flowers, you need to "deadhead" them. This means you pluck the flowers once they are spent or dried. This way, you'll get more and more flowers throughout the blooming season.
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  4. 4
    Overcrowding of plants.
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    It's a mistake to plant everything in one spot. You should know the width and height of the plants. You can opt to plant an annual plant in between herbs. Remember that it is better to have fewer plants in one spot than overcrowd the area. This will allow them to have more space for growth. Pay attention to how tall a plant grows. When they are all small in their pots, you might make the mistake of planting tall plants in the front, and shorter ones in the back.
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  5. 5
    Allowing herb flowers to grow.
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    Herbs do bear flowers but you should not allow this to happen. When your herbs bear flowers, it means that they are nearing the end of their life cycle, and all the energy of the plant is going to the flower, rather than the herb. To prevent flowers from sprouting out, cut the bud off. If the herb is still persistent, cut below the flower or get rid of the entire stem. There are herbs you actually want to harvest the flower, rather than the rest of the plant. This would include lavender, calendula and chamomile, to name a few. It's always best to harvest the flowers just as they are blooming. Don't wait too long.
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  6. 6
    Spraying chemicals.
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    You have to avoid spraying chemicals onto your plants, especially your herbs. You eat your herbs so you should always keep them free from chemicals. Just watch your herbs carefully for any insect attacks and use compost tea to fertilize them.
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  7. 7
    Not watching the plants closely.
    Because of busy schedules, most gardeners neglect their flowers and herbs. You have to pay attention to your garden. You should know what your plant looks when it's healthy and recognize signs when it's not. Look for disturbed soil, damaged stems, or dried leaves so that you can properly address the issue.
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  8. 8
    No proper watering schedule.
    Flowers and herbs need to be watered consistently so that they won't be stressed. Early morning is a good time to water them. Make sure that you don't water the herbs over the leaves to avoid disease and mildew (applicable to herbs). Add mulch to the soil to lengthen the time before you water again. Never water plants when the sun is hot. The sun is attracted to water on the plant, and burns the leaves. Early morning and early evening are the best times to water.
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  9. 9
    Not using fertilizers.
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    You should keep your plants growing well with the use of fertilizers. An all-purpose one would be great. Compost tea should be done once every week to boost their growth. If you think about it, herbs need more energy because they are constantly harvested. They need to keep up their growth cycle.
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Preparing for Your Garden

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Before you maintain a flower and herb garden, you should first plan it well. During the planning stage, you should carefully select your herbs and find the right location for them. This can be achieved by considering the water, light, and soil requirements. You should get to know your flowers and herbs well so that you can group together those that need more or less sunlight. There are perennial plants that should have permanent locations and annual plants that you have to replant every year. Make sure that your garden has enough space for the number of flowers and herbs that you want. Contain plants like mint because they can be invasive to other herbs. The soil should also be prepared well by making sure that it's friable and fertile. It should contain alkaline, thin soils, and clay to give a great start to your garden. The area should be clear of rocks and debris. Peat moss and composted substances should be incorporated into the soil. A balanced amount of inorganic and organic fertilizer should be added as well. When everything is ready, plant the herb seeds at a depth three times the size of the seed.

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How to Maintain Your Small Flower and Herb Garden

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Take note of the following guidelines to maintain your small flower and herb garden:

  1. 1
    Always remove the weeds.
    As you know, weeds are very invasive and they steal the water and nutrients meant for your flowers and herbs.
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  2. 2
    Prune regularly.
    Pruning promotes leaf growth in the future. For herbs, they ensure a prolonged growth cycle.
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  3. 3
    Place mulch on top of the soil.
    You can place mulch on top of the soil surface, but make sure that it is away from the stem of your plants. This prevents insects from taking up residence on your flowers and herbs. Mulch will also help moderate the temperature of the soil.
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  4. 4
    Spray the plants with soap and water.
    This is a safe deterrent for insects and pests. You can also spray water under the leaves to remove any insects.
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  5. 5
    Enrich your soil.
    You can do this by incorporating organic matter into your plants' soil. This will provide additional nourishment to your flowers and herbs.
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  6. 6
    Make sure not to overwater.
    Providing too much water will encourage rot in your flowers and herbs, specifically in the roots.
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Tips

  • Herbs require well-drained soil.
  • Excessive fertilizer makes herbs lose their flavor.
  • Keep an eye out for very tiny pests. Most of them are too tiny to notice at first or nocturnal, so it's difficult to detect them.
  • Update yourself. Join gardening forums to help you gain more information about the latest in flower and herb garden maintenance.
  • You might want to build a fence if you have rodents. For example – rabbits will eat certain herbs, and did you know possums love chamomile?

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Categories : Gardening

Recent edits by: Lynn, Eng, Mian Sheilette Ong

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