The Q&A Archives: Rocky And Hard Soil. Is It Okay For Herbs.

Question: I have very rocky and dry and dense soil in my garden. It is almost as if it is a dessert. I wish to plant oregeno, thyme, marjoram, basil, dill, and rosemary. Is it okay to plant it in the soil I have, or should I replace it all? I know nothing of gardening, so please be give me some helpful ideas on how to start this garden.

Answer: Most herbs are fairly adaptable to a wide range of soils, but to help your plants thrive, I'd suggest amending the soil with some organic matter in the form of aged compost or aged manure. By digging organic matter into your soil you'll help loosen it (for easier root penetration), and help the soil retain moisture. If you soil is really in a sad state, you might be better off building raised beds for your herbs and importing some top soil.

If you decide to garden in your present soil, improve it prior to planting by spreading 3"-4" of organic matter over the site and digging it in to a depth of 6"-8". Then plant your herbs and place organic mulch over the bare soil to help suppress weeds and slow water evaporation from the soil. Be sure to site your herb garden in full sunshine and space your plants so each will have adequate room to grow. Some herbs need lots of elbow room - check to see what the mature size will be and plant accordingly. Herbs are generally easy to grow and are good choices for a new gardener. Good luck with your new herb garden!

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