Maltese weather is ideal for growing a herb garden – but how should you get started?
Herbs can give your dishes an incredible, flavoursome twist, but many of us resort to using dried one that, more often than not, are of lesser quality than the just-picked, fresher variety.
The good news? Well, Malta has great weather for herb-growing and it’s not as complicated as you may think to craft your own patch. Plenty Maltese households take up this practice, especially traditional families will tend to grow all the fruit and veg. Weather you live in a bachelor apartment, maisonette or house on the Maltese Islands you may follow the below guidelines and viola!:
Light: Most herbs require six hours of direct sunlight a day, with an extra six-10 of indirect light (natural or artificial) – neither of which is very difficult to get in Malta. This is the most important factor when it comes to having a herb garden. In fact, whether you’re planning on having it as part of a roof garden, on your windowsill, in a yard, or indoors, this is the crucial step that will ensure your herb garden prospers.
Soil: Ask your horticulturist about what soil is best for the types of herbs you’re planning on growing. Basil, for example, grows tastier in poor soil that is not fertilised, but many make the mistake of using normal soil which helps it grow faster but not as tasty.
Place: If your herb garden is going to consist of various pots, then it is important to remember that they need to be fed through fertiliser. To help keep the initial growth rates under control, use a mix of two parts coconut fibre compost to one part perlite, and then add 20% worm castings. Also, always check the pH of any mix, and, if acidic, add one gram of hydrated lime for every litre of soil mix.
Water: It is crucial to remember that over-watering herbs is never a good idea. Always feel the soil and make sure the surface feels dry before watering it. It’s best to water your plants at night so that the liquid doesn’t evaporate before it has the time to get to the roots.
Nutrition: When a plant is in a pot, it will quickly feed on any nutrients found in the soil. To make sure your herbs are getting enough nutrients, start feeding them half-strength nutrients 10 days after you’ve planted your herbs,
Tricks of the Trade: Additional help can be given to your herbs through plant mixtures like B1 – which help boost growth, taste and health. These will also aid in the essential production of oil – which is what makes herbs attain their particular taste!
Picking: Ensure that your herbs’ leaves have grown enough before you start picking and using them in your food. This usually takes between four to six weeks from the day you planted them. Some plants, including basil, are best right before their flowers open; and herbs should be harvested just before daylight hits them as this is when oil levels are at their highest.
Having your own herb garden may not add value to your home in the real sense but it is something welcome by potential buyers. It is proven that nurturing a garden is a sign of being house proud something a potential purchaser of your property will be attracted to, especially if they have their own green fingers. We hope this article can be treated as a guide to start you off. Enjoy!