Fertilizer - Herbs can stand a bit of fertilizer but not much. Mixing in compost does provide a better quality for growth but you won't get as good a return on your herbs as possible. On the other hand, over fertilizing can result in excessive growth but not necessarily good quality herbs.
Organic fertilizers are produced from plants and animals. This includes manure, dried blood, kelp and bone meal. The downside to using this type of fertilizer is that there is no balance to the minerals within it so you may have to use a trial and error process to get just the right mix for your herbs.
Inorganic fertilizers are the ones that you can buy from the store that state what type of mix it contains, such as 10-10-10 or 5-10-20. These numbers refer to the amount of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in the fertilizer, respectively. Usually, you are good with either of these mixes as long as nitrogen isn't more than 20 percent of the mixture.
Follow package instructions for fertilization. Use a spreader to ensure even placement throughout the entire bed. Usually this process will need to be repeated halfway through the growing season for continued growth.
Adding a fertilizer will result in plants that can resist disease and insect pests. Also, the overall look of your herbs will be healthier. Turn your soil over with a spade before you begin to plant seeds or mature plants. A technique called side dressing is one way to re-fertilize your plants later on. Create a trench on one side of your bed, about 4 inches deep. Add the fertilizer and then cover it over with the removed soil. The nutrients will reach your plant roots as they are watered. Watering - Herbs do not need to be kept soggy wet. The last thing that you want to do is to over water your plants. This can lead to mildew on the leaves and stems. Even the roots can begin to rot and your plant will be ruined.
So, how will you know how much water to use? In small herb gardens, utilize water globes. You may have seen them on television. Fill these ornamental bulbs with water and then invert them in the soil. As the plant needs more water it will slowly leak into the soil. If you have a large herb garden, try using soaker hoses buried under mulch to regularly apply needed moisture to your plants.
Pruning and pinching - This is the process by which leaves and flowers are removed from the herb plants. Most herb leaves are removed by pinching them just above the point where other leaves emerge from the stem. This works for basil. For others, like dill, cut away leaves at a point where they meet the main stem of the plant. You'll have to find out for each herb where the best place to remove leaves for eating is. To encourage the growth of more leaves, pinch off any flowers when you first notice them beginning to grow. For some herbs, the beginning of flowering is often the end of the season for them. You can collect the seeds before it dies and replant them next season. Raised beds - We discussed them earlier. It is one way to plant an herb garden and not have to worry as much about pests and weeding.