Yes, you can grow herbs in Miami!
Wanting to grow herbs in Miami, South Florida? Well it's easy, super easy. Unlike most of America, Miami has a year-long growing season, meaning we can grow herbs all year long! Wow, imagine a garden full of Italian basil, mint, parsley, dill, and rosemary. These are just a few of the herbs that grow in South Florida.
In this article, Brent offers some of his proven organic gardening tips. He's always talking soil, so let's start there.
What's the best soil to grow herbs in?
If you've ever tried to grow herbs in our South Florida soil, you've probably found that it's pretty rocky. South Florida, especially Miami, is one big coral rock and/or construction fill. Digging in coral isn't fun. Trust me, I know! I've been designing and installing gardens for over 20 years in the Sunshine State and my best friends for digging are a pick and jack hammer. Crazy but true.
Besides being extremely difficult to dig in, coral rock is low in organic matter and very alkaline. Construction fill consists of crushed lime rock and whatever is left from the development of the site, like chunks of concrete, bottles, plastic, tires... you get the picture, pretty toxic stuff. Herbs tend to grow best in a more acidic environment with a pH of around 6 to 7. So, you have a couple options: you can either amend your soil with organic matter or build up.
Raised bed gardens are our most popular method for growing herbs. In these raised bed gardens the soil is built up and contained in frames made of 2-inch pine, cedar, or cypress, or cut lime stone rock. And what's the best soil to grow herbs in? Brent's Super Soil of course! Or compost. We make our own organic soil and use it for all our organic garden installations. The pH is a perfect 6.5, it's full of life-giving minerals and rich in microbial life. If your soil isn't right, your plants will grow weakly or not at all. So, gardening always starts with the soil!
How much water is needed to grow herbs?
When it comes to watering your herbs, the general rule of thumb is to keep the soil moist. Make sure your organic garden, container gardens, or raised bed garden has good drainage. Herbs don't like to live in soggy soil. Remember to water your herbs first thing in the morning, with spot watering in the afternoon if needed. Lay down hay or compost to help preserve moisture and keep the soil cool.
How much fertilizer and maintenance is required to grow herbs?
Not much! I fertilize my raised bed garden installations once per month with an organic fertilizer that I purchase from a local nursery or from compost that we make at our nursery. Both work very well and are loaded with micronutrients. Remember to take care of your soil and it will take care of you!
Do herbs need much maintenance? Not really, most herbs are bug free. The oils in the leaves and fragrance tends to keep bugs at bay. I love to mix herbs in with vegetables and fruits as companion plants.
Harvesting your herbs
How and when to harvest your herbs? Know the growth habit of your herbs. Allow your herb plants to become established before harvesting. Watch some tutorials on YouTube. In fact, we have our own YouTube channel loaded with information on organic gardening.
What herbs grow best in Miami?
Most herbs do! With our temperate tropical climate it's so easy to grow herbs in Miami, it really is. Note that every herb has a season, for instance Italian basil loves the summer sun, cilantro likes winter months, mint and rosemary grow year-round.
Want to grow herbs but need help?
We create a variety of landscapes and some are quite delicious! Edible forests, edible landscaping, and raised bed gardens are a great way to grow herbs seasonally or all year long. Get in touch to schedule a consultation to discuss the possibilities for growing your own food.