Farming a Few Acres of Herbs: An Herb Growers Handbook

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The following sections go into detail, emphasizing the economic and agronomic, or specific growing requirements for herbs. Marketing strategies are separated into local direct marketing and growing for a marketing chain or network. Cultural practices include information on how the plant is harvested because harvesting equipment limits what is grown on an individual farm more than planting or weeding equipment. Root crops are probably the most labor intensive because they may require several seasons to reach a marketable size. Digging, washing and drying equipment or space are required. Plants harvested for their aboveground biomass (tops) may be harvested by hand or mechanized, but drying equipment or space is necessary. Some of these plants may be harvested once, and others are perennials and can be harvested multiple times, similar to alfalfa or grass hay. Some herb crops can be grown for their flowers or seeds. Flowers might be too labor intensive to grow in the United States because they are grown in other countries where labor is less expensive. It is unlikely that a U.S. grower could compete at current market prices. Growers may want to consider seed crops, however, because harvests can be mechanized. Some seed crops are from annuals, which must be replanted, but others are from perennials, which offer the possibility of multiple harvests.

Rhonda Janke
Jeanie DeArmond
David Coltrain
Kansas State University Agricultural Experiment Station