How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies — 5 Easy DIY Fruit Fly Traps to Kill Fruit Flies
5 Simple Ways to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in Your Home
- 1 5 Simple Ways to Get Rid of Fruit Flies in Your Home
- 2 First of all, what causes fruit flies anyway?
- 3 Can I just use bleach kill fruit flies?
- 4 How to get rid of fruit flies using a DIY fruit fly trap:
- 5 1. Apple Cider Vinegar and Plastic Wrap
- 6 2. A Paper Cone, Vinegar, and Old Fruit
- 7 3. Vinegar and Dish Soap
- 8 4. Old Wine or Beer
- 9 How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Taking Over Your Kitchen Right Now
- 10 Where Do Fruit Flies Come From, and How Long Do They Live?
- 11 The Trick to Preventing Fruit Flies in the First Place
- 12 How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Once They’ve Taken Over
- 13 How to Help Get Rid of Water Bugs
- 14 Cockroach vs. Water Bug
- 15 What Does a Water Bug Look Like?
- 16 Pest Removal
- 17 Fast and Easy Weeding Tips
- 18 Herb Gardens
- 19 Pest-Deterrent Herb Chart Herb Gardens for Beginners Growing Herbs: Winter Tarragon Herb Growing Herbs With Flowers Fast Growing Herbs How to Dry Herbs How to Prune Herbs Herb Garden Plant Information How to Grow Herbs in an Apartment How to Grow Herbs Organically List of Perennial Vegetables & Herbs Growing Herbs: Lamb’s Ear Herb Herb Garden Designs for Hillsides How to Maintain an Herb Garden How to Grow Herbs in San Diego What Herbs Should Not Be Planted Together? The Best Selling Herb Plants How Long Does it Take to Grow Herbs? How to Start an Indoor Herb Garden Growing Herbs: St. John’s Wort Herb Herbs That Re-Grow Hair Harvesting Herbs
- 20 Pest-Deterrent Herb Chart
- 21 Herb Gardens for Beginners
- 22 Low-Maintenance Herbs
- 23 Various-Sized Pots and Containers
- 24 Separate Annual and Perennial Herbs
- 25 Soil Preparation
- 26 Plant Spacing
- 27 Growing Herbs: Winter Tarragon Herb
- 28 Growing Herbs With Flowers
- 29 Fast Growing Herbs
- 30 Sweet Basil
- 31 Arugula
- 32 How to Dry Herbs
- 33 How to Prune Herbs
- 34 Herb Garden Plant Information
- 35 Identification
- 36 History
- 37 Types
- 38 Requirements
- 39 Expert Insight
- 40 How to Grow Herbs in an Apartment
- 41 How to Grow Herbs Organically
- 42 List of Perennial Vegetables & Herbs
- 43 Asparagus
- 44 Rhubarb
- 45 Sorrel
- 46 Horseradish
- 47 Radicchio and Garlic
- 48 Herbs
- 49 Growing Herbs: Lamb’s Ear Herb
- 50 Herb Garden Designs for Hillsides
- 51 Lavender
- 52 Rosemary
- 53 Cascading Herb Mix
- 54 How to Maintain an Herb Garden
- 55 How to Grow Herbs in San Diego
- 56 Step 1
- 57 Step 2
- 58 Step 3
- 59 Step 4
- 60 Step 5
- 61 Step 6
- 62 What Herbs Should Not Be Planted Together?
- 63 Toxicity
- 64 Growing Conditions
- 65 Growth Patterns
- 66 The Best Selling Herb Plants
- 67 Basil
- 68 Oregano
- 69 Thyme
- 70 How Long Does it Take to Grow Herbs?
- 71 How to Start an Indoor Herb Garden
- 72 Growing Herbs: St. John’s Wort Herb
- 73 Herbs That Re-Grow Hair
- 74 Homegrown Herbs
- 75 Chinese Herbs
- 76 Combination of Herbs
- 77 Harvesting Herbs
These natural, DIY, and store-bought strategies will banish those pesky pests as quickly as possible.
You’re not alone in your love of seasonal produce: Pesky fruit flies always seem to find their way to your farmer’s market haul before you even get a chance to fully enjoy it. And it doesn’t take long for fruit flies to take over your kitchen — as soon as you see one, it’s only a matter of time before it feels like you’re battling thousands. Fortunately, you don’t have to suffer a fruit fly infestation forever — there are simple and effective ways to get rid of fruit flies fast using natural fruit fly traps you can make at home.
First of all, what causes fruit flies anyway?
If you’re looking to get rid of fruit flies, you might be wondering how you got them in the first place. According to the experts at Orkin, fruit flies are attracted to ripe, rotting, or decayed fruit and produce, as well as fermented goods like beer, liquor, and wine. Female fruit flies lay about 500 eggs at a time, and the eggs hatch in as little as 24 hours. Obviously, that makes these critters almost impossible to control.
To cut off fruit flies from their food source and prevent them from entering your home, take these preventive measures to get rid of fruit flies.
- Throw out overripe produce
- Store fruits and veggies in the fridge
- Wash produce as soon as you get home to remove any potential eggs or larvae
- Take out the garbage regularly
- Clean up spills ASAP, especially fruit juice or alcohol
Can I just use bleach kill fruit flies?
If you notice fruit flies in your drain, you might consider pouring bleach down the drain. Doing so might kill some larvae, but it will not kill enough of the eggs or larvae to eliminate the problem. That’s because bleach passes down the drain too quickly to do a thorough job.
How to get rid of fruit flies using a DIY fruit fly trap:
- Make a trap with apple cider vinegar and plastic wrap.
- Trap flies with a paper cone, vinegar, and old fruit.
- Drown flies by leaving out a bowl of vinegar and dish soap.
- Put out an almost-empty bottle of old wine or beer.
- Buy Aunt Fannie’s FlyPunch! on Amazon.
You may also want to double-check that your pests in question aren’t drain flies, which lurk around drains or garbage disposals, or fungus gnats, which prefer overwatered houseplants. For those critters, you’ll want to check out our guide for how to get rid of gnats. If you’re sure you’ve identified the critters correctly, then try one of these effective remedies to get rid of fruit flies in your kitchen.
1. Apple Cider Vinegar and Plastic Wrap
For this DIY fruit fly trap, pour a little apple cider vinegar into a glass, or just remove the cap from a bottle. (It doesn’t have to be full — nearly empty will also work.) Cover the opening in plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. Then, poke a few small holes for the fruit flies to enter. They can’t resist the scent of vinegar, and they won’t be able to exit once they’re inside.
For an even better chance at success, make several of these traps and place them around your kitchen.
2. A Paper Cone, Vinegar, and Old Fruit
Place a little vinegar and a chunk of very ripe fruit in a jar. Then, roll some paper into a cone and stick it into the jar, placing the narrow opening down. (You can recycle or compost the homemade funnel afterwards.) The smell of rotting produce will help entice the fruit flies into the mixture, but the cone part of this fruit fly trap makes it difficult for them to get out.
3. Vinegar and Dish Soap
If you find your fruit flies impervious your plastic wrap or paper cone traps, try adding three drops of dish soap to a bowl of vinegar, and leave it uncovered. The soap cuts the surface tension of the vinegar so the flies will sink and drown.
4. Old Wine or Beer
Like vinegar, fruit flies love the smell of wine. Try leaving out an open bottle with a little leftover liquid — the skinny neck will keep the flies trapped. The Old Farmer’s Almanac also recommends using stale beer to attract fruit flies to a DIY trap. Add a couple of drops of dish soap to either for surer success.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Taking Over Your Kitchen Right Now
Are there pesky little flies all over your day-old bananas and bottles of wine? Here’s how to rid your kitchen of fruit flies for good.
How do you get rid of those tiny, little flies that love your produce and seem to multiply before your eyes? They frequently appear near unrefrigerated produce in your kitchen are probably fruit flies (sometimes called vinegar flies). They’re extremely hard to get rid of (they’re tiny, so they can even sneak through screened windows), but if you use a multiphase plan of attack, you should be able to get rid of them and spare both your produce and your sanity.
Where Do Fruit Flies Come From, and How Long Do They Live?
Fruit flies can lay up to 500 eggs at a time near the surface of fermenting (ripening) foods or other organic materials. The entire life cycle from egg to adult takes only about eight to 10 days so they proliferate with great rapidity. They can also lay their eggs in sink drains, garbage disposals, empty bottles and cans, garbage bags, and even damp mops and sponges.
The Trick to Preventing Fruit Flies in the First Place
The first step in fruit fly control is to eliminate the sources of attraction and breeding. Don’t leave ripened fruit or vegetables—like bananas, onions, tomatoes, or potatoes exposed; keep them in the refrigerator until the problem is resolved. Fruit flies also tend to like alcohol and other sugary drinks, so be wary of keeping things like an open bottle of wine and juice products out on the counter.
Frequently clean your recycling bins that hold empty bottles and cans, and make sure the contents are thoroughly cleaned before discarding. Be sure the bottoms and sides of all garbage cans are free of any small bits of food or spilled juices.
Even when all sources of attraction are removed, those speedy adult flies can scatter and lay eggs in a drain or another hard-to-reach location, so the cycle starts all over again. A pyrethrum-based aerosol insecticide may be used to kill adult flies if you can hit them, but it won’t take care of any eggs or larvae lurking in your kitchen.
How to Get Rid of Fruit Flies Once They’ve Taken Over
Try a Homemade Fruit Fly Trap (That Couldn’t Be Easier to Make)
Fruit fly traps are important control tools that continue to eliminate new adults as they emerge. A simple, free, and effective homemade trap can be made by forming a cone-shaped funnel with an 8-by-10-inch piece of paper, sealing it with tape while leaving a small opening at the narrow end, and sticking it into a clean, empty wine bottle or jar. Bait the jar with a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar or a slice of ripe banana. Place one or more of these traps on counters or in pantries where the pests are seen most often. The fruit flies enter the trap easily, but can’t fly out. After you trap all visible flies, kill them with spray or release them outside. Re-bait and replace jar traps, if necessary.
Buy a Fruit Fly Trap
Store-bought fly traps can be purchased at your local hardware store. Disposable fruit fly traps, which are baited with a nontoxic lure, can catch about 2,000 flies each, and can last for one month. A few favorites:
How to Help Get Rid of Water Bugs
If you’ve ever spent a summer vacation near a pond or lake, it’s possible that you’ve been spooked by large insects zipping around in the water. You may have even been bitten by one! These creatures are called toe-biters or giant water bugs. But wait a minute… you’ve also seen insects like this in your home. Are they water bugs, too?
When it comes to figuring out how to get rid of water bugs, you need to first identify what insect is actually causing problems in your home. It may help to know that a true giant water bug won’t likely turn up inside your home. That means you’re probably dealing with one of the species of cockroach.
Cockroach vs. Water Bug
Many people think «water bug» is just another name for a cockroach. But are they the same insect?
Giant water bugs and cockroaches actually aren’t the same insects at all. Take a look at some of the features that set them apart.
Giant water bug: True to their names, these large insects spend most of their time in the water, specifically in ponds and lakes. Giant water bugs are predatory and will hunt and kill other insects, as well as small fish and animals.
These insects have an infamously painful “bite,” however it’s not actually a bite, but rather an injection of venom with their legs. But because people consider this a bite, this is why they’re known as toe-biters in some regions of the United States. Additionally, they fly during mating season and are attracted to lights.
Cockroaches: There are several different species of cockroaches that are familiar to homeowners in the U.S. However, three that are commonly mistaken for water bugs tend to be American cockroaches, Oriental cockroaches and Florida woods cockroaches. Sometimes these types of roaches are also called palmetto bugs.
Unlike true water bugs, cockroaches do not live in the water and are typically known to be scavengers. Also, these insects rarely bite humans and most can’t fly, even though they do have wings. Those that do fly, or really just glide, are likely going to scatter when the lights come on rather than be drawn in like true water bugs.
What Does a Water Bug Look Like?
A true giant water bug is one of the largest insects in the U.S. and Canada. Most are about two inches long and one inch wide, but some species can grow to be 4 inches in length. Giant water bugs are tan or brown with flat oval-shaped bodies.
As mentioned before, giant water bugs have clawed front feet that they use to capture their prey (cockroaches also have feet similar to this, but they use them to climb). These insects can also be distinguished by their beaks and mouthparts that are used for piercing and sucking. Their antennae are located under their eyes and tend to be shorter than their heads.
DIY pest control can be ineffective and can result in you spending extra time and money, among other things. Skip the DIYs and call the pest control professionals at Terminix® when you’re trying to tackle a pest issue. A trained pest control professional can evaluate your situation and work with you to find the control plan that best suits your needs
This should help you tell the difference between cockroaches and true water bugs, as they actually aren’t the same insect. If you want to learn more about cockroaches and how to help get rid of them, then Terminix can help.
The Best Mouse Trap Method
Everyone has seen the cartoon mouse trap: A big wedge of cheese perched precariously on a small wooden rectangle, just waiting for an unsuspecting mouse to come along. Most modern mouse traps don’t use pieces of cheese, although they can still use food as bait. One of the most popular baits, believe it or not, is peanut butter. There are still versions of the snap trap from cartoons, but there are also other kinds like electronic traps. Because these traps usually mean dealing with dead mice, plenty of people wonder if there’s a way to help get rid of mice without classic mouse traps. Although mouse traps are the most effective in helping to get of mice, you can also try the following natural methods to see if they help remove these pesky rodents.
How to Help Remove Fruit Flies from Your Home
Fruit flies are one of the most common household pests and they can be a huge nuisance for homeowners. Not only that, but researchers have found that fruit flies can “transfer bacteria from a contaminated source, food, or waste to surfaces or ready-to-eat food.
How to Naturally Get Rid of Bugs on Plants
Buying houseplants can put you at risk for harboring unwanted pest infestations. Before these bugs cause damage to your new plant, know how to take care of them using natural remedies.
How to Help Prevent Mosquito Bites
Itchy bites and illness may occur after exposure to some arthropods such as mosquitoes and ticks. The bites can cause discomfort and, in some cases, transmit pathogens (bacteria, viruses and protozoans) that can cause a variety of diseases. Some examples of diseases that are of concern in the United States include: (mosquito) chikungunya, dengue, La Crosse encephalitis, West Nile fever, Zika; (tick) Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. The good news? There are many precautions you can take to help avoid bites from mosquitoes and ticks.
Fast and Easy Weeding Tips
Make this garden chore fly by with these simple tricks.
Be sure you pull up weeds by their roots, and don’t just yank out the leaves. They can re-grow if even small pieces of their roots remain.
Photo by: Photo by Lynn Coulter
Photo by Lynn Coulter
You’ve probably heard the saying that weeds are simply plants that grow where they’re not wanted. Maybe somebody—somewhere—tolerates weeds, but most of us want to rip them out of our lawns and gardens and toss them in the sun to die.
Maybe that sounds brutal. But most weeds are aggressive and invasive, and left unchecked, they’ll crowd out desirable plants. Even after you pull them, you can’t toss them in a compost pile, because any seeds that have already formed can sprout. It’s not a good idea to leave them on top of the soil, either, thinking they’ll wither. An unexpected rain or some runoff from your hose can wash dirt over them, and they’ll stage a comeback.
Remember: Weeds are survivors by nature, so don’t be afraid to fight dirty. Try our tips to make the chore of weeding fly by.
By: Garden Guides Team
09 October, 2017
- Pest-Deterrent Herb Chart
- Herb Gardens for Beginners
- Growing Herbs: Winter Tarragon Herb
- Growing Herbs With Flowers
- Fast Growing Herbs
- How to Dry Herbs
- How to Prune Herbs
- Herb Garden Plant Information
- How to Grow Herbs in an Apartment
- How to Grow Herbs Organically
- List of Perennial Vegetables & Herbs
- Growing Herbs: Lamb’s Ear Herb
- Herb Garden Designs for Hillsides
- How to Maintain an Herb Garden
- How to Grow Herbs in San Diego
- What Herbs Should Not Be Planted Together?
- The Best Selling Herb Plants
- How Long Does it Take to Grow Herbs?
- How to Start an Indoor Herb Garden
- Growing Herbs: St. John’s Wort Herb
- Herbs That Re-Grow Hair
- Harvesting Herbs
Pest-Deterrent Herb Chart
The idea that herbs make good companion plants is not new. Some of the earliest written documents on gardening discuss these relationships. When selecting your companion plants you will need to consider more than which pests are deterred. Think about what each plant adds or takes away from the soil and what effect the proximity of strong herbs may have on the flavor of your vegetables. Try to avoid placing two heavy feeders or two shallow rooted plant types near each other.
Herb Gardens for Beginners
Nothing could be easier or more rewarding than starting a small herb garden just outside your back door, whether it be a home with a yard or the balcony of a high-rise apartment.
Herbs like thyme, chives, parsley, marjoram, rosemary sage, basil and mints make good choices for the beginner’s herb garden. These herbs aren’t fussy when it comes to sunlight, fertile soil or water.
Various-Sized Pots and Containers
If there isn’t a plot of ground available, herbs planted in a group of pots and containers clustered together near the back door are a good start for beginning gardeners.
Separate Annual and Perennial Herbs
To simplify garden care for specific herbs, plant annual herbs (those that need to be replanted every year) and perennial herbs (those that grow back on their own each year) separately.
It’s important to till the soil to a depth of about 16 inches using a spade or a fork so that newly planted herbs have lots of room to spread their roots.
Spacing between herbs plants such as chives, parsley and dill should be at least a foot. Rosemary, sage, thyme and basil need 2 to 4 feet between each plant.
Growing Herbs: Winter Tarragon Herb
Growing Herbs With Flowers
Fast Growing Herbs
A member of the mint family, sweet basil (Ocimum basilicum) is a savory annual originally native to tropical Asia. The plant produces bunches of fleshy green leaves used as a seasoning in many different kinds of cooking, though it is particularly prominent in Italian cuisine. The fast growing, low maintenance plant does best in full sunlight (with a little shade in hot climates) and well drained, consistently moist soil.
Dill (Anethum graveolens) is an upright, wiry annual that is recognizable for its blue-green foliage and tiny yellow flowers. Originally native to southwest Asia, Dill is an easy-to-grow, fast growing herb that is naturalized throughout much of North America and Europe. The plant requires full sunlight—it won’t amount to much without a full day’s worth of sun. Soil should be well drained and watered regularly.
A native of western Asia and the Mediterranean, Arugula (Eruca sativa) is an herb similar in appearance to a radish plant, boasting jagged, green leaves and small stalks of whitish flowers. The leaves of the herb are frequently used in salads, or as a garnish. Like most herbs, Arugula grows best in full sunlight. The plant will grow best in soil that is well drained and consistently moist. Leaves should be picked before flowers appear for the best possible flavor.
How to Dry Herbs
How to Prune Herbs
Lightly prune—but do not shape—woody perennial herbs in early spring, shortly after new growth occurs. Remove any dead growth with pruning shears. Use lopping shears for extra leverage if you encounter very thick stems (on large, scraggly rosemary plants, for instance). Take care to ensure you only remove dead wood, as cutting live pieces may damage or kill plants.
After herbs bloom in spring or summer, you can shape them. Wait until flowers fade; however, do not wait too long after bloom, or you run the risk of damaging new growth that formed on old flowers.
To shape, clip the soft stems of woody and non-woody perennial herbs by up to one-third. Cut just above leaf nodes approximately 3 to 5 nodes down the stem. Annual herbs like basil can be cut completely to the ground each fall, as they will need to be replaced the following year (parsley, a biennial, can be cut to the ground in its second year).
Though it’s not necessary, you can lightly prune herbaceous stems throughout the year to maintain plant shape. Remember to regularly deadhead all herbs by pinching off flowers to encourage healthy growth.
Herb Garden Plant Information
Herbs are fleshy-stemmed plants that die back at the end of a season. Herbs are best-known as aromatic plants used for seasoning or medicinal purposes.
Ancient Abyssinians, Greeks and Romans grew such herbs as celery, laurel, dill, chives, mint and mustard. Herbs have been used in Europe and Asia for centuries for medicinal, aromatic and ceremonial purposes. Early Americans used herbs as medicinal remedies and to preserve foods.
Herb garden plants are most popular as culinary or aromatic ingredients but are also used ornamentals. Native Americans grew herbs for dyeing cloth and tanning leather, as well as for cooking.
Most herbs do best in full sun and in sandy loam. Most never need fertilizer. You can easily grow annual and perennial herbs from seeds or nursery plants. Pinch kitchen herbs back to encourage branching; blooming plants are making seeds and will stop growing.
Choose plants you will use. Use herbs as companion plants in vegetable gardens, backgrounds for flower gardens or in a kitchen herb garden. Basil, parsley, lavender and mint are popular herbs with which children can easily help.
How to Grow Herbs in an Apartment
Select one or more locations for the indoor herb potting containers. Most herbs require four to eight hours of sunlight or artificial plant grow lights for optimal growth. The location should have enough room to allow 6 inches of space between containers and room to set up plant grow lights.
Fill each potting container 3/4 full with organic potting soil. Place one herb seedling in each container. Fill the remainder of the container with peat moss. Water the container until it drains from the bottom.
Set up a plant grow light in your chosen location. Place each plant container under the grow light. Space the plant containers 6 to 10 inches apart to allow for air circulation.
Fertilize the herbs monthly with fish emulsion. Leach pots every six months. Examine containers and transfer to larger pots every six months, if needed.
Harvest herbs just prior to use. Store the herbs properly to extend shelf life.
Do not overcrowd the herb growing area. Poor air circulation stunts herb growth and increases the potential for fungus and bacteria problems.
How to Grow Herbs Organically
Growing herbs organically means without the use of manufactured chemicals including fertilizers, weed control products, insect or fungus treatments. Applying organic growing methods is part of the sustainability agriculture movement that aims to reduce exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. Organically produced vegetables and herbs have become increasingly popular as more is learned about the harmful effects of chemicals in food and the environment. Many herbs are perfect candidates for organic growing because they naturally repel bugs and do not require extreme measures to grow well in most gardens.
List of Perennial Vegetables & Herbs
Asparagus spears emerge when the soil temperature is about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The optimal size at harvest is 7 to 9 inches. Asparagus plants grow from crowns or seeds and produce for 15 years or more.
Rhubarb stalks are used in pie, bread, cake and sauce recipes. The red or green stalks are edible while the leaves are toxic. The cool season plant grows well in the northern areas of the United States. Rhubarb grows from crowns.
The lemony flavored sorrel leaves are used in salads, soups and sandwiches. Individual leaves are harvested in early spring when 4 to 5 inches long. Sorrel is grown as an annual in cooler climates and as a perennial in warmer climates.
Ground horseradish roots provide a pungent sauce for roast beef. The hardy plants grow 2 to 2.5 feet tall. The roots are dug after the first hard fall frost and before new plant growth appears in the spring. The plants grow from root cuttings and spread vigorously.
Radicchio and Garlic
Heads of white and red radicchio are a major ingredient in Italian salads. Garlic, a popular seasoning, grows in bulbs. Both types of vegetables are perennials but are usually grown as annuals.
Lavender and lemon verbena provide a basis for potpourri. Catnip is a favorite herb for cats and provides leaves for tea. The remainder of the perennial herbs season soups, casseroles, meat and sauces. This list includes chives, French tarragon, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme. Perennial herbs grow well in pots and containers. The individual leaves or stems are harvested as needed for recipes.
Growing Herbs: Lamb’s Ear Herb
Herb Garden Designs for Hillsides
Mimic the hillsides of Provence, France, by planting rows of lavender. With its ethereal texture and sprawling nature, lavender is the perfect choice for softening a hillside landscape. English lavender will produce a stunning purple flower in the summer and the hillsides will look like a sea of color. This fragrant flower prefers well-drained soils, making this a perfect hillside herb. Plant the flowers in full sun to prevent yellowing of the leaves.
Rosemary complements lavender and other herbs with its pale blue blooms. Rosemary adds height and depth to a hillside. Its evergreen leaves and silvery green texture add luster to the slopes. Plant rosemary vertically or horizontally down and along the hill to create an herb wall. The common green variety, which is the most popular, can be paired with the goldstriped variety for a stunning hillside pattern. Rosemary needs full sun to thrive.
Cascading Herb Mix
A neat way to design herb beds is to plant individual herb varieties according to their height. Start at the top of the hill with tall herbs such as dill and cilantro. Basil and licorice will also add height and help to create a cascading effect. Next, bring in medium-sized herbs such as oregano, chives and marjoram. Low-growing herbs such as sage and creeping thyme will help to fill out the bottom of the slope.
How to Maintain an Herb Garden
Remove sickly looking plants and stems from your herb garden. Cultivate around the plants, or use organic mulch to protect the soil over a larger area. Because lawn cuttings can be too absorbent, use gravel when mulching herbs, such as lavender, thyme or rosemary, that thrive in drier soils.
Water mint, chives or basil, and any herbs that are in small containers, but only minimally unless the weather is very dry. For herbs planted in the ground, use about half of the amount of water that you would use for other plants, as herbs are drought-resistant and are able to withstand drier conditions better than damp ones.
Create your own non-toxic pesticide for your herbs by picking leaves from plants that are unaffected by pests—mint plants are a good example—and boiling them in three parts water to one part herb. Allow the mixture to stand for 15 minutes, then let it cool, and strain it through a piece of cheesecloth. Pour the mix into a spray bottle and spray on affected plants. Store the spray for up to a week for reuse, then make a new batch, if needed.
Bring frost-vulnerable herbs, such as bay, lemon verbena, scented geraniums or rosemary, indoors during cold winters. If replanting them every year is an inconvenience, you can keep them potted for easy transport.
Cover frost-resistant or perennial herbs with a thick layer of mulch, including tree branches, leaves, straw or newspaper, when the ground freezes. Leave the covering on the herbs until the danger of frost has passed in your seasonal zone. To prevent rot, check on the herbs in mid-April, and uncover them on sunny days when new growth appears. Recover them on cold nights to prevent freezing.
How to Grow Herbs in San Diego
Determine the size of your herb garden. This will be the predominant factor in the number of plants you will buy. If you have a small space, consider using containers for growing herbs.
Select herbs that will grow well in your hardiness zone while taking pride in your California heritage. Supplement herb garden staples such as basil, mint, thyme and rosemary with a selection of herbs that are native to California.
Amend your garden soil to improve drainage and nutrient content. Till the area in which you will plant your herb garden, removing approximately 18 inches of soil. Place 3 inches of crushed stone at the bottom of the area to improve drainage. Mix 3 to 4 inches of compost and 1 to 3 inches of sand into the garden soil, and return it to your planting bed.
Plant herbs approximately as deep as the container in which you purchased the plants. Space multiple plants apart according to plant directions; generally 6 to 12 inches.
Water herbs thoroughly after planting and regularly throughout the growing season. Most plants require 1 inch of water per week.
Harvest once the plant has enough leaves to maintain its growth. Picking your herbs too soon may diminish its growth and kill the plant.
What Herbs Should Not Be Planted Together?
According to Rodale’s «Ilustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs,» while there is little research to explain why certain herbs harm others, gardeners have observed the same results for generations. Rue should not be planted near basil or sage. Sage should not be planted near any member of the onion or garlic family, including chives. Coriander should not be planted near fennel.
Different herbs thrive in different growing conditions. Each herb grows best in a certain type of soil, a certain kind of light, and each needs a specific amount of moisture. Herbs like bay laurel and lemon verbena thrive in hot climates and die if there is a freeze. Others, like nasturtium, dill and rosemary, thrive in full sun, so they should not be planted with a shade-loving herb like sweet woodruff.
Some herbs grow prolifically and take over large patches of space; do not plant these herbs next to more delicate varieties. Mint herbs all spread above and below ground. Tarragon takes over large areas. These herbs will quickly overcome a smaller plant like chamomile.
The Best Selling Herb Plants
If you like to cook Italian dishes you know how important fresh basil is. Dishes such as pesto and marinara depend upon the sweet aroma of this tender herb. Growing basil is quite easy and can be done indoors, in pots. The most important aspect of growing basil is sunshine; the herb needs at least six to eight hours of sunlight a day.
Oregano is a staple in Italian and Mexican cooking. This perennial plant is easy to grow in the home garden as long as you have a spot that will provide it with all-day sun. Harvesting the leaves is best done before the plant flowers, usually when it reaches 5 inches in height.
This is an herb that will grow best in a dry, sunny location. Gardeners grow thyme not only for culinary use but as an ornamental plant as well. If you are growing it for use in the kitchen you will probably want to dry some of the herb. Just hang a bunch of thyme sprigs upside down until they dry. Thyme can be grown in full sunshine or partial shade.
How Long Does it Take to Grow Herbs?
Herb seeds typically begin to sprout in 2 to 4 weeks. The tiny seedlings grow to full maturity in about 60 days for most species of non-woody aromatic herbs. Herbs purchased as young plants will reach maturity quicker as germination time is eliminated.
How to Start an Indoor Herb Garden
Find a sunny location in your home—either a south or west window will do. Herbs must receive at least five hours of sunlight per day.
Determine what size pot you will use. You can use a large pot for a variety of herbs, or single pots for each herb. If planting more than one herb per pot, be sure to place the largest ones in the center, and trailing herbs, such as oregano and thyme, at the edges.
Mix two parts potting soil and one part perlite. Add stones or gravel to the bottom of each pot.
Use your finger to make a hole in the soil and drop the seed in. The hole should be no more than three times the size of your seed.
Cover lightly with soil and water. Cover with plastic wrap to keep the soil warm and place the pot or pots in a warm, sunny location. Do not allow the soil to dry out and remove the plastic once seeds have germinated.
Water herbs once a day after the seedlings have emerged.
Begin using your herbs when they have grown enough leaves, usually after four weeks. Some herbs, such as basil, should not be allowed to flower.
Growing Herbs: St. John’s Wort Herb
Herbs That Re-Grow Hair
The following herbs are commonly grown at home for use in cooking, but they can also be used to help re-grow hair. Sage is natural herb that helps to strengthen weak hair. Not only is chamomile soothing, but it is an excellent resource for promoting hair growth. Catnip is another herb that works well for hair re-growth, and budrock root offers double benefits of encouraging hair re-growth and reducing its fallout.
Dong quai, a traditional Chinese herb, stops hair loss and promotes hair growth. Pygeum, available in capsule or pill formula, takes it origin from the bark of an evergreen tree and is effective at reducing male-pattern baldness. The American Botanical Council has found he shou wu to be effective at restoring hair growth.
Combination of Herbs
Stinging nettle is an herb available as a capsule or pill and has been found to be very effective at re-growing hair when taken in combination with saw palmetto, another herb commonly used for reducing hair loss and encouraging hair growth.
Herbs are at their peak of flavor when they’ve just been harvested. Midmorning, just after the sun has dried the leaves but before it’s too hot, is the best time of day to harvest. You can cut back as much as 3/4 of the plant without harming it. If the leaves are dirty, rinse them quickly in cold water and dry them with paper towels.
The best time of year to harvest is before the flowers bloom. You can prolong the optimum harvest time by pruning off the flower buds as they form, but even the most attentive bud-nipper will find that the harvest season will eventually come to an end, and it’s time to think about preserving some of your crop.
Freezing is the best ways to preserve herbs. An easy way to freeze herbs is to place them in ice cube trays, cover with water, and freeze. Once they are frozen solid, place your herbal ice cubes in a plastic bag.
Freezing or preserving in olive oil are the best ways to preserve herbs, but many gardeners prefer drying because it is easy and doesn’t require any special storage. Here’s a tip to keep the dust and bugs out of your herbs while they are drying:
Hang your bundles of herbs in a cool airy place, and place a paper bag over them. Make sure your herbs are tied in bundles small enough that they don’t touch the sides of the bag when they are covered, and tie the end of the bag closed. Check back in about three weeks. When the herbs are dry they will crumble easily into jars for storage.
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