Benefits of Crop Rotation and Green Manure
Gardeners and farmers have been practicing crop rotation since Biblical times. People who worked closely with the land knew that, like people and animals, soil itself must experience cycles of action and rest to be productive.
Rotation is one of the keys to preventing soil erosion, one of the most pressing problems our earth faces today. Along with allowing the soil’s natural chemistry to recover, rotation discourages weed and pest depredations without harmful chemicals. Different crops add their particular nutrients to the soil, benefiting the next crop. People usually rotate two or three crops in a particular area of land. Often, certain plants are grown specifically so that they can be plowed under and fertilize the soil.
Even in small to medium-sized vegetable gardens, it is possible to do three- or even four-way crop rotation. Start with a sketch or map of the garden as it is now. Mark off three or four areas in which plants will be rotated. The most important factors are the time periods of years or seasons in which plantings will occur in a particular area and the botanical families to which these crops belong.
Plants from the same family are often susceptible to the same insects and diseases. Once a family has occupied a particular area, it should not be planted there again for two or three years. Certain families should follow others in the rotation, because each family uses a different amount of water and fertilizer and has different beneficial traits. A rough list of families and some examples might include the following. More detailed lists can be obtained online or from a rural extension advisory service.
- Cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, arugula, kale
- Beans and peas of all kinds
- Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant
- Onion, garlic, leek, chive
- Carrots, parsnips, celery, dill, parsley
- Squash, pumpkins, melons, cucumbers
- Spinach, chard, beets
Allow one or more areas to rest by planting cover or “green manure” crops. This can also be done over the whole garden in winter, after the regular growing season has ended. Buckwheat, winter peas, millet, clover, rye grass or winter wheat are frequently used. Growing cover crops is better than simply leaving the area unused for several reasons.
Cover crops stop weeds, aerate the soil and reduce runoff and erosion. They promote diversity and attract helpful insects. Beneficial soil fungi can only reproduce when plants are present, because they grow right into the roots. They extend the root system, supplying additional nutrients.
These plants should be cut down before they begin to flower so that they will not spread or utilize soil nutrients in their own seeds. They are then plowed into the soil to die and decompose for several weeks before putting in a different crop.
Rotation can seem a bit complicated. As with nearly every aspect of working with the earth, it takes patience and practice. Take your time and do as much planning as necessary. You’ll see the difference in your healthier, more nourishing vegetables.
The Facts That Support Companion Planting
Some gardeners consider companion plants little more than a myth or folklore. But as with many fables, this one has a basis in reality. Plant biologists are only now uncovering some of the ecological and biochemical facts behind this practice.
People have practiced companion planting for many thousands of years. Through observation and experimentation, they discovered that certain plants grow better when in close proximity to others. They may provide or share essential nutrients, or one plant may shade another. Some wildflowers and even weeds make great companion plants. They may repel insects or attract helpful ones.
Evidence of companion planting by Native Americans in both northern and southern hemispheres shows that it has been practiced for over six thousand years. By examining the seeds and rind of preserved crop plants, scientists found that Indian cultures deliberately selected and seeded plants with certain characteristics. These ancient farmers developed a complex system of growing vegetables involving cooperation between three staple crops, known as the Three Sisters. Corn is planted in little hills, with beans and squash surrounding it. As the corn grows tall, the bean and squash vines can climb on it. The beans add nitrogen to the soil, while the broad leaves of the squash create shade, stop harmful weeds and pests, and provide additional nutrients.
Examples of Companion Choices
There are many methods for growing vegetables together with other vegetables, herbs or flowers. Each pairing has its own kind of etiquette in terms of when, how and where they should be planted. Usually the companions should be planted at least a foot away from each other, so they have plenty of room for roots to spread. The best known combinations include roses with onions, carrots with peas, and basil with tomatoes. Sunflowers provide shade and make good support for cucumber vines. Marigolds and yarrow can be planted next to almost anything for their pest- repelling magic.
Most plants have garden “enemies” as well as companions. Beans and garlic should not be planted near each other, as the garlic will inhibit the growth of the beans. Plants that consume a lot of fertilizer will compete for nutrients and should not be placed near each other. Certain herbs are beneficial to nearby plants but harmful to animals. Be very careful about tansy, sorghum and pennyroyal. Some crops can be planted in the same area year after year, while most will need to be moved around to give the soil a chance to replenish itself.
Brief Summary of the Benefits Of Companion Planting
- Helping each others growth- so for example, plant prostrate horizontal growing vegetables like cucumbers under taller growing veggies like tomatoes bushes for the shade benefits to the smaller plant
- Better use of space in the garden- in the example above, the cucumber is a vine plant that could grow around the base of the upright tomato plant (be sure to prune off lower stems of the tomatoes trunk and support it with a “‘tomato cage”).
- Pest Control- Veggies like onions repel many garden pests while other plants actually lure pests away from your favoured vegetables.
- Attracting Beneficial Insects-Many companion combinations attract beneficial insects such as lady bugs and other predatory insects that control the harmful plant eaters
If you plan on growing vegetables and herbs in your own garden, a companion planting guide is a valuable reference tool. You can find them free online or buy them from your favorite seed supplier. Consult your local cooperative extension for detailed information.
For a comprehensive listing of Companion Planting choices click here
When you’re just getting started in gardening, the most important seed you want to see grow healthy and strong is the seed of your enthusiasm. Start small – don’t get over-ambitious and bring stress into your project. Plant the plants you love to eat, or the ones you’ll most enjoy planting.
Make each plant a learning experience and an adventure. Keep things simple. If you succeed at small projects, tackle bigger ones. If you start small and get confident, you’ll get joy from the journey and enjoy many seasons of good gardening.
You’ll need to have proper tools for the job. A spade, a garden fork and a soaking hose are key tools. A hoe is also very useful. A wheelbarrow or bucket will come very handy in mulching. You’ll also need to decide in advance how big an area you have available, and this will play heavily in your choices of which plants to grow.
Beginner gardeners tend to over-water their plants. Over-watering can cause the root systems to remain immature and shallow, and will create more work for you – you will have to water more often. By forcing the plants to develop healthy, long roots, you’ll get stronger plants.
You should water when you have new seeds, and then maybe once per week. The only time you might water more often is in periods of intensive drought or hot spells.
Start by fertilizing the soil before planting. Then fertilize again when the plants are about two inches tall, and once again when they begin showing flowers or fruits.
Make sure your plants are getting good sunlight exposure. They should be getting at least six to eight hours of direct exposure to sunlight.
Some plants are a bit more tolerant to shade: lettuce, spinach, cauliflower tend to be less needy of the sun. Eggplant, melons, tomatoes, cucumbers are very sun-dependent. Keep this in mind not only in selecting which plants to grow, but where to plant them.
You can keep weeds to a minimum by planting your plants close together. This is especially true of carrots, radishes, peas and beans. As they grow, they will create their own natural canopy. This will lessen the chances for weeds to find a spot. You can also reduce weeds by mulching. Add a layer of dead leaves or dead grass, which will make it harder for weed seeds to take root. Spend about fifteen minutes a couple of times a week to pull out weeds while they’re still small.
Gardening teaches patience. Over time, you’ll learn the patterns and rhythms of your plants. In the meantime, keep a notebook with notes on planting times, expected maturity, and other observations. In today’s breakneck-paced world, gardening reminds us of the slow pace of the earth, or celebrating each sunrise and sunset, of soaking up the sun. Allow gardening to transform your thoughts, and you’ll grow as much as your plants.
Best Way to Grow Tomatoes
Tomatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to grow, but there are still environmental factors you will need to plan for and take into consideration during the spring and summer growing season. Growing a full and healthy set of tomatoes is best accomplished by considering issues of sun exposure, watering, and soil health. By planting intelligently, a grower may avoid common tomato pitfalls like a lack of fruit growth, and tomatoes that never ripen. Learning how to grow tomatoes starts can be a very gratifying experience when done properly.Read on to find out the best practices.
Choosing the Best Location
Before heading into the backyard to plant some seeds or seedlings, it’s important to determine the best spot for optimal tomato growth. Tomato plants like full sun and they always should get several hours of sun a day. Little sun means little tomatoes or even non producing plants. The soil in which the plants sit shouldn’t be too soggy, so considerations of yard slope and drainage are critical. If there’s very little room for tomato plants and not a lot of choice for location, building a raised bed is a good solution for reducing soggy tomato problems.
Preparing the Soil
Before planting tomatoes, it’s important to till about 5 or 6 inches of soil, and to mix compost into the area. Tomatoes enjoy very fertile soil and will respond well to organic matter mixed into the beds. One of the mistakes that new tomato growers often make is watering the plants too much and not giving the soil enough attention. The soil must be fed to produce big and plentiful fruit from tomato plants.
Tomato Plant Choice
New gardeners will find that there is more than one type of tomato suited for growing. Usually referred to as “hybrids” or “heirlooms,” different types of tomatoes offer different benefits. While an heirloom tomato has a long history of tasty tomato production, hybrid tomato plants will usually offer more fruit each season. One of the additional advantages granted by a hybrid is that those plants are usually much more resistant to disease. Certain types of hybrids have even been grown to be resistant to a specific type of disease, which may be helpful for a person with a garden in a disease-prone area.
Seeds or Seedlings
For picky gardeners or anyone who wants a particularly specific type of tomato, the easiest way to accomplish this goal is to consider growing tomatoes from seeds. Deciding how to grow tomatoes from seed does take longer, and sometimes growing the seeds inside prior to planting is necessary, but this method does allow great variety in tomato type. If learning how to grow tomatoes from seed isn’t on the menu, an alternate strategy is to choose planting seedlings, which don’t require weeks of work to sprout before the spring. When purchasing a seedling, it’s vital that the plant doesn’t have any visible signs of infestation or disease. Every leaf should be examined closely for signs of pests.
Best Watering Practices
A tomato plant should be watered at its base, and much like an African violet, it’s best not to get the leaves wet. This means it’s probably not a good idea to set the sprinkler to water the plants and forget about them for a half an hour. Unless temperatures reach over 100 degrees during the day, the plants may be watered every 2 or 3 days.
When to Pick
Tomatoes are ripe when they are a solid color and are firm to the touch. It’s best to keep a daily eye on the plants and harvest a few tomatoes whenever they ripen. Once picked, the tomatoes should never be stored in the refrigerator. Keep tomatoes on the counters to retain their flavor. It’s also a good idea to familiarize one’s self with the terms of “indeterminate,” “determinate,” and “semi-determinate.” A determinate tomato plant stops growing at a certain point in the season, an indeterminate tomato plant continues to grow throughout, and semi-determinate means a plant could exhibit characteristics of either. Learning how to grow tomatoes that provide big fruit and enjoyment for the gardening process isn’t too difficult as long as thought is put into the place where the plants will grow, and healthy watering and fertilization techniques are utilized.
How To Grow Endive
With today’s interest in finding new ways to consume more green vegetables, it was only a matter of time before people rediscovered endive. It’s a wonderfully low-calorie vegetable filled with helpful nutrients.
Unlike spinach, kale and other green leafy vegetables, endive can be eaten raw as it does not contain harmful oxalates. Curly endive makes a fantastic addition to soups and stews. Chopped fine, it enhances pasta sauces and sandwich fillings. Belgium endive is extremely versatile and its flavor changes subtly depending on how it is cooked. It can be used to make fine gourmet dishes. By learning how to grow endive, you’ll have plenty on hand for all your culinary needs.
Growing Curly Endive
Start seeds in early to mid-summer in an indoor tray with a transparent cover. Moisten soil with water, then drop two seeds into each container. Cover lightly with more soil and moisten again. Cover tray and keep at 60-70 degrees until germination. Begin putting the tray under a grow light during daylight hours or keep it in a sunny window. In about four weeks, begin setting the tray outside for a few hours each day for about a week, then transplant into the garden. Use rich soil and plenty of natural fertilizer. Dig holes 6-8 inches apart and put the seedlings in. Keep well watered. Plants should mature in about two months. Harvest a few leaves from each plant at a time.
Blanching — How And Why
Blanching is done when the plant is almost mature. Many people tie the endive plant’s outer leaves tightly around the plant, completely covering the inner leaves. Leave it like that for two to three weeks. Discard the outer leaves. The inner leaves will be pale green or white. You can also simply cover the entire plant to block light.
Blanching reduces the bitterness of the leaves, but it also diminishes their nutrient content. You may want to leave a few plants unblanched, as the bitterness not only imparts a lively tang to salads and other cuisine, but is good for the liver.
Growing Belgium Endive
Begin in late spring. Use a well-drained soil with moderate fertilizer. Prepare the soil by digging and loosening thoroughly. Create furrows about two inches deep, with soil well loosened, and water before planting. Drop in four seeds at six-inch intervals along the furrow. Water regularly.
To blanch Belgium endive, dig up plants when mature and let them lie on the ground for a few days to dry. Cut the foliage off about two or three inches above the root. Fill a deep pot with compost and put the roots in it so that they are standing straight up. Add more compost until the roots are covered. Make sure the remnant of the foliage is above the top of the pot. Water well. Cover the pot or set it in a cool dark place and keep moist. When you see the green-white “chicons” or leaf heads poking out of the soil, you can begin to harvest them.
The art of pumpkin growing can sometimes seem like a dark art to the uninitiated, but the fact is that it can be a lot of fun to learn how to grow pumpkins in a way that both maximizes their size and flavor.
The first decision that you need to make is whether you are growing the pumpkin to be used as a lantern at Halloween, or for eating in pumpkin pie. The reason is that different types of pumpkin are better for each use.
If you want a real monster pumpkin that you can carve out a face on and discard the innards, then you will generally be better off
buying a variety like Howden. But if you are looking to use the pumpkin for baking a pie, a variety like Baby Pam’s would be a better choice as they tend to have a nicer overall flavor (but are smaller in size).
Once you have chosen the type of pumpkin that you want to grow it’s best to find fresh seeds of that variety. While seeds that are many years old can germinate, the odds of growing a healthy pumpkin will be better if you plant seeds that are as fresh as possible.
Wherever possible you should plant your pumpkins where they won’t be disturbed, or need to be moved.
You should choose an area for your pumpkins that gets as much sunlight as possible, and where there is a large amount of available space. Remember that these vine driven plants want to spread out 3-5 feet in all directions. So, be realistic when you look at the amount of space you have available, and if things are a little on the cramped side then you will need to at least be pruning back the vines regularly and settle for a fewer amount to harvest.
The soil needs to be well drained, because if the pumpkins sit in water, there is a good chance that they will end up rotting rather than being eaten in a pie!
Plant the seeds about two inches deep in a good mound of soil so that there is plenty of room for them to grow, and only do so when the weather is nice and warm (at least 70 Fahrenheit), as pumpkins are not a plant that appreciates the cold weather.
Some people think growing carrots is difficult since they are root vegetables. This far from the truth and growing your own carrots can be rewarding as there are many different varieties to choose from. When thinking of growing carrots you will need to choose those varieties that suit your soil. You can grow them both in spring as well as fall.
Once you have chosen the varieties of carrots that you want to plant, you must then choose an appropriate spot you want to plant them in. Carrots require a lot of sun so choose a place that gets ample sunlight. The soil needs to be worked to a depth of at least twelve inches. Work in your soil amendment until it is mixed evenly but at the same time not overworked into a fine powder which can form a crust.
Carrots prefer compost rich in phosphorus and potassium but do not do well with nitrate fertilizer. If you are planting in spring, plant the seeds about two weeks before the last frost. The ideal soil temperature is 70 to 80F but you can plant when the temperature is 60F.
The seeds need to be sown directly in the soil and spaced in rows about 12 to 18 inches apart at a depth of about half an inch. After you have placed the seeds in the ground do not compact the soil excessively. Water sparingly until the seeds sprout in about 10 days.
After the seedlings have appeared you have to thin them until they are about four inches apart. Be careful not to disturb the nearby plants. Use plenty of mulch around the sprouts so that the soil retains moisture. Weed continuously while your carrots are growing being careful not to disturb the roots.
If the top of the roots poke out through the soil, cover them with mulch…..roots exposed to sunlight will make the carrots bitter and tough. Your plants need to be well watered while they are growing but you need to cut back on the watering as they approach maturity.
Harvest your carrots according to the time frame indicated on your packet of seeds. You can harvest them a bit early if you like your carrots juicy and tender. The usual time frame for harvesting is between 70 and 80 days. When harvesting the carrots, grab the root and not the greens and wriggle it in a circular motion to loosen it before pulling it out of the soil.
When growing carrots, you can plant them in spring and also fall. Since carrots are a root vegetable they can withstand colder temperatures longer than most other vegetables and it is possible to get a crop even in late fall.
Because they are so easy to grow and have so many culinary uses, include cucumbers when you are starting with your raised bed vegetable garden.
They generally fall into 2 category types…pickling and slicing cucumbers. Most cucumbers are of the vine type and send out runners, but there are also some varieties of bush cucumbers that can be easily grown vertically as shown below.
Cucumbers like warmth and need plenty of sunlight. When planting cucumbers do not plant them too early in spring unless your are starting from seed indoors. Wait till temperatures reach between 60° and 70° F when you plant them outdoors since even the slightest frost will kill or damage the plants.
Like the other vegetables in the cucumber family (the cucurbits), for example zucchini , pumpkins, and melons, they are heavy feeders and need to be supplemented well with nutrients. Work organic matter (compost, well-rotted manure) into the soil before to planting, and fertilizers will not be needed early on. But when they begin to blossom and fruit appears, add a balanced soluble fertilizer to help them produce their potential of thriving cucumbers in large number.
To maintain an even amount of soil moisture, water often and never let the soil dry to the point that the leaves wilt. It’s a good practice to spread mulch around the base of the plant to 3 to 4 inches deep as the vines mature. For optimum production warm moist soil is essential so some growers will implement dark plastic mulch around the cucumber bed. Not only will these speed up growth and facilitate better production of cucumbers in number and size, but it also aids in suppressing weeds. Another popular method of growing cucumbers is by the “vertical” method. You can train the vines to climb a trellis or garden netting for several advantages over the ground growing method:
- It frees up space for other veggies nearby. This is perfect for raised beds that depend on optimum usage of space.
- They are less likely to be affected by soil-borne fungal wilts and pathogens because of a cleaner area around the base of the plant
- They also become less prone to disease in humid areas because the leaves dry faster after precipitation and fog
With this method you will train the vines to grow up a supporting structure by gently guiding them with soft cloth ties or gardening tape being sure to twine around the support creating loose loops that allow for at least an inch of space for the vine stem to grow.
Cucumbers are ready for harvest in about 60 to 70 days after planting. Cucumbers need to be harvested when they are young and tender as they get bitter as they grow bigger. The slicing type cucumbers can be harvested when they are 6 to 8 inches long while pickling types are gathered at around 5 inches.
Tips on growing Veggies From Seeds
Growing vegetables from seeds may seem like a daunting task to the first-time gardener. With a few seed starting tips in your back pocket, however, it’s actually pretty easy and can give you a jump start on the growing season. Seeds are also a great way to save money, and they give you far more control and variety when
compared to buying starter plants. With a basic understanding of sprouting and transplanting, as well as a few green thumb tricks, you’ll be serving home-grown veggies for supper on a regular basis.
Starting Seeds Indoors
Typically, sprouting seeds indoors is the preferred method for starting a variety of vegetable plants. There are many advantages to this method, and you’ll generally find that it’s far easier than sowing them outdoors. Most importantly, you’ll get a head-start on the growing season, and you’ll be able to protect those delicate seedlings from the threat of a late frost and frigid soil. The
best candidates for indoor sprouting include:
Tender vegetables like tomatoes and peppers.
Bulb plants such as onions.
A variety of other plants like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, celery, eggplant and more.
The process for growing vegetables from seeds indoors is relatively simple. Main considerations include the soil or soilless mix, the containers, the light source and water.
The delicate nature of seedlings requires a soil mixture that is precisely balanced. Just like Goldilocks and her three bear-friends, the mix needs to be just right. If it’s too wet or too dry, too heavy or too light, the baby plants will have a difficult time taking root, and the chance for success will be far lower. The following is a soiless mix conducive to sprouting seeds indoors:
Four to six parts peat moss.
One part perlite.
One part vermiculite.
Since seeds contain their own nutrients, adding a fertilizer isn’t necessary. However, it’s vital that the mixture is sterile and free of disease.
The containers should also be sterilized. To clean them properly, use one part bleach to nine parts water. Any recycled container can be used, but it shouldn’t be larger than four inches across. Since you’ll be transplanting them in the near future, anything bigger will simply waste soil and space.
Lighting can come from a variety of sources as long as the delicate seedlings get plenty of it. Depending on your location, a south-facing window may suffice. If you live in the north, you may want to use artificial lighting. Before you go out and spend a bunch of money on grow lights, however, consider using fluorescent shop-lights from your local hardware store. Many experienced gardeners have found great success from this inexpensive lighting source.
The final ingredient for successfully sprouting seeds indoors is water. Before planting, ensure the soil is moist, and cover the containers with a plastic bag during germination. Most importantly, never water the seedlings directly. Instead, place the containers in a tray and add water indirectly.
Sowing Seeds Outdoors
There are certain vegetables that must be directly planted outdoors. These include veggies such as corn, beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, peas, beans and other root crops, brassicas and legumes. Since these types of plants are generally durable and resistant to cold, they can be sown in their final positions. In fact, transplanting can be detrimental and actually halt growth for several weeks.
The seed packet will contain all the information needed for success such as soil depth and time to harvest regardless of the plant type. Using this vital information as well as the seed starting tips above will ensure a bountiful supply of veggies for your kitchen table. Check out our Vegetable Growing Tips category for more information.
How to Grow Herbs
Growing herbs is relatively easy with the right amount of sunlight, water, soil and love. You can grow them indoors or out, in pots or in the ground, in traditional soil or in a soiless mix. Regardless of how you decide to grow herbs, the goal is to create a steady supply of ready-to-pick accouterments for your dinner table that are not only tasty but also visually appealing. Let’s look at a few of the different ways to grow herbs, and how to get the best results depending on your specific situation.
Tips for Growing Herbs Indoors
The most important consideration when setting up an indoor herb garden is location, location, location. This is because herbs need to catch as much of the natural sunlight entering your home as possible in order to survive and thrive. The best location is on a sun-drenched windowsill that receives at least four hours of direct, natural light every day. This type of light enters through south and southwesterly facing windows the most. Windows to the east and west can also be sufficient. However, the north side of the house typically doesn’t catch enough light. Performing a simple test to see how much sunlight a particular spot receives throughout the day will help you to determine the best way to grow herbs indoors.
Besides the sun, water is another important factor to consider when growing herbs indoors. Proper drainage and overflow control is a must. Using saucers, pots or trays to catch any excess water will not only keep your herbs healthy and bountiful, but they could also save the finish on your furniture from damage or watermarks.
Clay pots may be a good choice for this depending on your specific location and environment. However, they can dry herb roots out quickly in hot, arid climates, and during winter months when heated air from the furnace flows through the house. In most cases, it’s typically best to simply use rubber, plastic or metal saucers.
Another consideration for your indoor garden is the temperature. Fortunately, herbs are happiest at temperatures that most people find comfortable – between 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. However, it’s important to remember that herbs close to windows may be subject to drastic changes in hot or cold depending on where you live and the time of year.
Tips for Growing Herbs Outdoors
Herbs are relatively easy to maintain and care for outdoors. As long as they receive plenty of sun and the right amount of water, you should be able to cultivate a steady supply of food-enhancing plants right in your backyard. There are a few things to consider, however, when determining the best way to grow herbs outdoors.
Soil mixture is an important part of any garden. When it comes to herbs, you may choose to use a topsoil-based mix or a soiless variety. Depending on your specific situation, one may be more appropriate than the other.
Soil Mix – This is a standard mixture that uses equal parts compost, sterilized topsoil and builder’s sand. If the topsoil used lacks nutrients, adding an organic fertilizer will ensure that your herbs are as healthy and bountiful as possible.
Soiless Mix – This mixture uses four to six parts peat moss as the base with one part vermiculite and one part perlite. Oftentimes, you may want to add nutrients to this blend. Mixing in a half cup each of bone meal, oyster shell lime and cottonseed/canola meal to eight gallons of this soiless variety will help your herbs thrive.
Growing herbs from seed can sometimes be a challenge for a new gardener. Each variety of plant will require different techniques to ensure that they sprout and grow into productive adults. Here are a few things to consider when planting seeds:
Herbs such as mint, parsley and lavage like soil that is fairly moist.
Rosemary, thyme and sage prefer their soil to be relatively dry by comparison.
Seed depth is important. Some can lie on the surface of the soil while others require a specific depth. The seed packet will typically include this information.
A seedling heat mat may be the perfect solution if your herbs seem to be under developed.
When transplanting seedlings, water them at least an hour or two beforehand.
If transplanting to a prepared hole, ensure the plant’s base is even with the ground, lightly tamp down the soil and water.
Consider using your herbs for their oil benefits. Lavenders, sandalwood, frankencense , and many others can be used for aromatherapy, massage oils, and much more if you’re so inclined