The 7 most common mistakes to avoid with aromatics

What could be more satisfying than adding fresh herbs straight from your planter to your dishes? Have you ever tried unsuccessfully to grow aromatic plants? Thanks to the tips of blogger Tom the Gardener, here are the mistakes that hinder their flowering.

The month of April is conducive to the flowering of aromatic herbs that you can add to your cooking, to your teas, or simply to bring a little green and good aromas to the nose. Chives, mint, thyme, rosemary, basil… these herbs please the eyes, the nostrils, and the stomach, they are worth it! They are grown both in the ground in the garden and in small pots on the windowsill. To cultivate the herbs, you can either sow them, that is, spread the seeds on well-prepared soil so that they germinate, cut them off, a technique where you replant a piece of a plant, or buy them. already potted and ready to use (prefer organic plants). But in order to optimize the conditions for your beautiful plants, there are a few mistakes to avoid, regardless of the technique used.

Thanks to the tips of Tom the Gardener, blogger, influencer, and author of the forthcoming book “A natural vegetable garden” with Albin Michel editions, we give you the 7 mistakes frequently made about aromatics.

Mistake # 1: Confusing the sowing seasons

As with fruit trees and legumes, it is important not to reverse the seasons of planting aromatic herbs. Although you would always like to have fresh basil available in the kitchen, aromatics cannot survive throughout the year, you have to follow their seasonality to get good results. Do not worry if you do not know the herb seasons by heart, Tom the Gardener gives you his tips: “In the spring you can plant perennials, that is, plants that live for several years such as rosemary, thyme, and sage, among others, as well as annuals (plants that live a year), see biennials (plants with a life of two years) such as parsley, because severe winter frosts are no longer to be feared, but still cool nights will not harm the plants either ”. From mid-May, you can plant all the others, including frost plants, or those that fear frost: coriander, basil, dill… Treat yourself!

See also: 7 pro tips to always have beautiful plants in the spring

Video by Juliette Le Peillet

Mistake # 2: overwatering or underwatering

If your plants are not in good shape, the main problem is water: too much or too little. In general, at the time of planting, the amount of watering is at the maximum and it must then be gradually reduced. The main rule to follow is “To dig your fingers about two knuckles into the earth. If the soil is dry at the end of both phalanges, it is time to water again ”, explains the specialist. If the plants are turning yellow, gray, or smelling bad, don’t delay checking the soil’s moisture before it’s too late.

Mistake # 3: Planting in non-perforated pots

Another pro tip to avoid these watering errors is to “Always pierce the pot before planting”. A perforated container allows excess water to drain to the bottom, reducing the risk of overwatering.

Good shopping: fresh and organic aromatics

Mistake # 4: Skipping the rest period

You cut your aromatic herbs, that is to say if you replant them instead of leaving them in the jar of the purchase, Tom the Gardener advises to “Let the plants rest for a fortnight to allow them to make new leaves and get used to the soil”. If you tend to pounce on aromatic plants after planting, it’s not easy to resist the good aromas. But you will have them for longer if you let them sit a bit before cooking them, your patience will reward you!

Read also: What flowers to plant this spring?

Mistake # 5: Not fertilizing your plants

You may already know that fertilizing flowers and plants is an essential step in cultivation. But did you know that in order to allow your aromatic herbs to develop well, you have to give them a little boost? “A long-lasting organic fertilizer, placed at the bottom of the aromatic containers with the soil will give a boost to the plants and promote their growth”, reveals the gardener.

Long-lasting organic fertilizer

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Mistake # 6: Not differentiating between the periods of sowing and cutting

If you don’t buy your already potted herbs, there are two options for planting them: “the act of sowing consists of taking seeds, putting them in potting soil, waiting for them to germinate, and then potting the aromatic plants, specifies the gardener. The cuttings consist in taking part of the plant (thyme and rosemary cut very well), and planting the stems directly in a pot where the plant will take root naturally ”. The best time to sow the seeds is in the spring, as the seeds require warm, moist soil to germinate well. Also, if it rains too much after sowing, the seeds may rot. Unlike sowing, the ideal time for cuttings begins from August, as the plants prepare for winter and they undergo the process of lignification, the moment when the plant turns from its green and flowering state to a more solid state of wood, which makes it more suitable for giving roots at this time of year. While seedlings allow you to clearly see your plants blooming, maintenance takes more work.

The essential tools for your planter

Mistake # 7: Not pruning your plants

Just like cutting hair, pruning plants allows them to expand: “For plants that live for several years, perennials, you have to prune them all at the beginning of spring to put them back in shape after winter and get rid of dead branches”, explains Tom the Gardener, this allows the center of the plant to breathe better to regain strength after several months of rest. But not all perennials prune the same: Rosemary creates more wood than most perennials, so it should be pruned often in the spring to allow it to breathe well. On the other hand, prune chives, tarragon, and mint is done from October, because these are plants that restart in the fall. It is also essential to prune annual plants, which live a year, such as basil, but it is not necessary to cut them as much as the perennials, because it creates less wood and therefore less dead stems.

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Mistake # 8: Buying a non-organic plant

Although the organic market has exploded in France, is eating organic really that important? In the world of aromatic plants, nothing is more certain. If you buy fresh and ready-to-eat plants in pots, it is essential to make sure that they are organic because they are made to be eaten whole: it is therefore not possible to remove the part coated with pesticides and herbicides. If you are sowing the seeds, the organic fertilizer mentioned above is to be prioritized.

Juliette Barlier

Web editor for AuFeminin since January 2021, Juliette comes directly from California and writes on subjects related to culture, astrology, and plants from an angle …