Unbeknownst to many, the climate we have in Singapore is the best weather for growing a wide variety of herbs. So if you are like one of us who dislikes buying a packet of fresh herbs from the supermarket (when all you need is a pinch or two for a dish), why not start your herb garden at home?
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What most homeowners do not know is that herbs can easily be grown from the convenience of your own home with a budget of just $50. And you won't even need a plot of farm land to do it.
If you’re looking to kickstart your first herb garden at home, whether its by the balcony or a vertical garden, these 5 popular herbs are the best to start with!
This herb calls for a lot of sunlight and high moisture. Water it twice a day and ensure that the soil is moist to the touch but not soggy. The basil plant grows fast and can get really big. To keep it in manageable condition, make sure to pluck some leaves now and then and keep fertilisation to twice a week.
Best for: Pesto dishes, pizza and soothing coughs (when you chew on a fresh basil leaf)
A healthy chilli plant requires high exposure to sunlight and soil that is moist. Watering it every two days and fertilising it once every week will keep the plant in tip-top shape. As the chilli plant can become quite tall, it is advisable to prop it up with a stick when it begins bearing chilli. Chillies should be picked when they look green with a glossy and swollen appearance.
Best for: Sliced as a condiment for local food
While you need not green fingers to grow this herb, you definitely need a great deal of patience! Parsley takes some time to grow from a seed. Once it does, it is easy to maintain. Choose a sunny location for this herb and make sure to water it regularly such that the soil is damp but not soaked through. Fertilise the herb once every two weeks to keep it healthy.
Best for: Almost everything!
The rosemary plant is easy to grow and does not take much effort to maintain. It thrives well under harsh sunlight and requires little water. Water it twice a month, making sure that the soil is well-drained and prune it often. To stimulate the growth of the herb, you can trim the leaves of the plant every once in a while.
Best for: Steak, chicken and pork
Although it requires more TLC than the other herbs, the mint plant is still a popular option for growing at home. Keep this herb exposed to lots of sunlight and water it twice a day, ensuring that the soil is kept moist throughout. Fertilising once every fortnight is enough as the mint plant grows at a fast rate and its roots will also keep growing until it strangles itself in the pot. When that happens, divide the root ball into two. You then have the option of growing another mint plant or disposing half of the root ball.
Best for: As a seasoning for meats, mojitos and cocktails.
Now that you know which herbs can be easily grown at home, here are a few extra tips so that you can ensure that your herbs are blessed with longevity.
Make sure that your plants get sunlight from all angles. As the sun in an apartment usually comes in from an angle through the balcony or a window, you need to turn the pots regularly so that all sides of the plant will get the same amount of sunlight. This contributes to the proper growth of plants and ensures that you will have a healthy plant that produces good quality herbs.
Check your herbs at least once every week for pests. Homeowners should look out for leaves with holes as that might indicate that a pest has been feeding off the plant. If a plant appears to be overridden with pests, it is recommended that one should dispose of the plant instead of trying to salvage it by spraying insecticides which are not good for human consumption.
Harvest your herbs frequently to stimulate plant growth. A good estimate on when to harvest your herb is by observing when it sheds leaves.
Image credit: One Good Thing by Jillleee
Ensure that the plants are receiving a sufficient amount of water, not too little but also not too much. Many homeowners face the problem of waterlogged soil. To prevent this, opt for pots with drainage holes at the bottom or the side so that water can follow out.
Water your herbs early in the morning so that your plants have enough water to make the most of photosynthesis during the daylight hours. When watering, stop only when water gushes out of the pot (into the catchment trays underneath it, or into the ground). This ensures that all parts of the plants are hydrated and well-nourished.
With your herb garden all set up, you and your family can now enjoy the fruits of your labour!
Create your very own personal Eden
Love (a lot) of greenery filling up your home? An interior designer can help you develop a unique space just for your garden greens. And we can help - request for a quote here, and get matched up to 5 interior firms based on your budget and style.
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