Propagating perennial herbs is a great way to increase your herb garden and most are easy to propagate from cuttings. Lavender and Rosemary are two of my favorite herbs, that add not only visual appeal but fragrance in the garden and in the home. Sage, Mint, Lemon Balm. Oregano and Thyme are other herbs that are easy to propagate from cuttings for the culinary herb garden.
The herbs can be grown in containers or planted into direct soil. They are lovely in containers either as an herbal display or mixed with flowering edibles, such as pansy, nasturtium and day lilies.
Herbs have practical uses in the kitchen for enhancing food, in the garden to control pests, and in the chicken coop to mask odor and help prevent parasites. Most chickens enjoy eating sage, thyme and oregano, though most will avoid mint and lemon balm, those will add a clean fragrance to nesting boxes.
Good quality hand pruners (see link below)
Containers (with good drainage holes)
Good quality potting soil* (see link below to make your own)
Propagating hormone (optional*) (see the link to make your own)
Cut stems of new growth 4 to 6 inches long, preferably in the morning when they will have the highest concentration of moisture gathered in the stems. I cut these at an angle so there is more surface to absorb water and nutrients. Cut at a leaf node if possible. Remove all the leaves 1-2 inches from the cut end. Soak the cuttings in propagating hormone overnight if using. (See my article on making your own natural propagating hormone solution at the link below). Prepare the containers with potting soil. With a pencil or index finger make an indentation in the soil and poke a cutting into each hole. Cover the hole gently around each cutting with potting soil. Water thoroughly. Set in a sunny location or where the herbs will receive at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. Protect from wind, freeze and heavy rains. When the cuttings have rooted, they can be transplanted to individual containers or directly planted into the garden soil when soil temperatures are at least 50 degrees.
Most herbs require very little water and definitely do not like continuously wet or soggy soil. Provide good drainage and once weekly watering is sufficient unless hot summer heat is drying the soil between waterings. Monitor the soil and when you can poke a finger into the soil up to 1 to 2 inches of dry soil, water as needed. Deep watering into the root zone is far more beneficial than surface watering and will require less frequent watering, while it will also create a stronger, healthier root system.
Herbs are generally not bothered by garden pests, and make great companion plants to help deter pests from garden plants. Wild animals will not generally bother herb plants, and domestic animals avoid most herbs, with the exception of Catnip that some cats are attracted to.
Taking cuttings is one method of increasing your herb plants. When the plants are established and large enough, many can also be divided by offshoots or root division. Note the Basil in the slide show created 6 different plants from one root division. Mint and Lemon Balm can be very invasive, so plant those where they have plenty of room or keep those in containers to avoid take over of the garden.
NOTE: You can compost the leaves that were removed from the cuttings, or use them to make your own herbal infused oils or add to your potpourri.
Follow the link for making your own Natural propagating hormone: justfowlingaround.weebly.com/earth-friendly-projects/willownatural-propagating-hormone
Refer to the link for making your own potting soil: justfowlingaround.weebly.com/earth-friendly-projects/diy-organic-potting-soil
Refer to the link to make your own fertilizer: justfowlingaround.weebly.com/pioneer-gardens/easy-green-manure-tea
Containers do not need to be expensive and they don't even need to be your typical store bought planters, refer to the link to upcycle and recycle found objects:
Refer to the link below for one type Felco(R) pruning sheers I use:
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CREDENTIALS: Certified Oregon State Master Gardener since 1999. Horticulture degree 2001. Study of Herbs and Horticulture Therapy, heavy research and study of all plants and herbs. Gardening a lifetime