Advantages Easier to grow and use
Disadvantages Somewhere to store in the winter
After the herb reviews went down a storm I did a review on "How to make a herb garden"(http://www.ciao.co.uk/Member_Advice_on_Herbs_Spices__Review_5630783)
So where do we start, well what herbs can be grown on containers, the answer is nearly all of them can. There is a few that are not to happy but the majority are happy to grow in them.Think about what herbs you want to grow as some herbs will grow tall like the "Feverfew" which can grow between 2 and 4 foot high and will need a bigger and wider container, but don't forget about something like a chamomile which would need a small container as it only grows a few inches.
First thing is "DON'T" use ordinary garden soil!Even if you think you have the best soil in your garden it isn't suitable for containers, It's less easy to drain and can contain diseases, and also becomes compact which will prevent the roots from getting established and the herbs will look stressed and will probably eventually die.
Herbs in containers is a lot easier to look after than a herb garden, it makes weeding easier and stops herbs like Mint from bolting as its very invasive. It's also handy to move around if a certain herb like a sheltered spot it's easy to move.There is a massive choice of containers to be used, it's "YOUR" decision, and you can use things like old watering cans and even half beer barrels. I use old pots that I have been given from other people, having an allotment does have it perks.
Terracotta pots look the best but I find they are just too expensive, you can of course maybe buy one or two this year and do the same next year. Keep an eye on your local Wilkinson's store as they have a end of season sale in the summer and you may pick a few up there.You must remember the main thing is drainage; you may have to drill some holes in the containers.
Once you have picked the containers you are going to use and checked for good drainage, we need to place some gravel or some old broken pots, this help the plant with the drainage and stops the roots from sitting in water.Well that sort the containers out, what about the soil I hear you ask. Well as I mentioned above using ordinary soil is a no. The best soil to use is homemade soil based compost; mix all the ingredients below to make good compost for the herbs.
4 parts good weed free top soil
3 parts well rotted garden compost
3 parts moist peat
1 part horticultural sharp sand
**Organic compost cost a lot more because of the word "Organic" don't ask me why but they charge about 25% more at my local garden centre, than there peat free multi purpose compost.I have a big mixing tray that I got for about £15 from B&Q and its one of the best things I have bought, it's about 2 foot long and about 1 foot in width which makes it great to empty the multi purpose compost into, and saves messing up the patio or decking.
I get done of the misses for using it in the kitchen, as most of you lovely ladies know us men can't do anything with out making a mess.Back to the review, I empty a good amount in the mixing tray, say about 5 buckets full and then add half a bucket of horticultural sharp sand as this helps with the drainage, I also add a bit of organic fertilizer which is in a slow release form give it all a really good mix and we are ready to start planting.
Did you know you can also grow herbs in hanging baskets? We will use an herb like Chamomile as an example for this kind of container.The main problem is the position of the basket, herbs don't like high winds and sitting in the full sun, so somewhere that gets shade and is out of the wind is best.
Don't make the mistake by putting the hanging basket to high, you are growing these herbs to use and you don't want to have to get a step ladder out every time you need them and to water, so place them about eye level then you can easily get to them.**Preparing your hanging basket
Line the basket with a sphagnum moss, then place a layer of black plastic and make some drain holes in it.Fill you basket half full with the soil mixture we made earlier, place your small and trailing growing herbs to the sides, and the taller growing in the middle, don't over crowd the basket as herbs will soon fill the basket. Fill the basket up with the compost, water and let it drain of, before placing it into position.
In the summer it will probably need watering twice a day, in the morning and at the evening is the best time.There is a good list of herbs you can put in baskets which I can recommend, flowering Chamomile, creeping Thyme, Catmint, dwarf Marjoram, pineapple Mint to name just a few.
***Preparing the potsPlace in the bottom of the pots some old broken pots, or use some old bricks smashed up. You need about a good inch of a layer or so as we don't want the roots to be sat in water.
Fill you pot half full with the soil mixture and again place your small and trailing growing herbs to the sides, and the taller growing in the middle. Again don't over crowd the pot as the herbs will soon fill it.Top up the pot with the compost, water and let it drain of, before placing it into position.
As I said above in the summer it will probably need watering twice a day, in the morning and at the evening is the best time.You can grow lots of herbs in pots; I like a one herb for one pot personally.
Why I hear you ask?Well certain herbs can intermarry, for example if you plant Dill and Fennel together they become a Fendill, which loses it flavour, Same can be said for Coriander and Wormwood which will impair its taste.
Hopefully you will find it very interesting and start to grow your own herbs.**Maintenance
Well you should have your herb growing in no time, so what's next?Herbs need looking after; this section will hopefully help you to maintain your herbs.
**SpringThis is the time of year to pot on the herbs if needed; a good sign if a pot need re-potting is the roots are they coming out of the bottom of the pot? If so you need to pot it on in a bigger pot.
Gently take out the herb and give it a clean up, remove weeds and dead leaves. Give the perennial herbs a trim to promote new growth, and place it into the new pot, not forgetting about the drainage of broken pots etc, Once herbs start to flower it will need feeding with something like liquid seaweed.**Summer
Keep your eye out for the pot drying out and water when needed, don't let it dry out completely. Dead head the flowers, and keep an eye out for pests, and remove damaged leaves. You need to feed at least once a week with liquid seaweed.**Autumn
This is the time of year to be cutting back the perennial herbs, and weeding the containers. The tender herbs need to be brought inside before the frosts come along.**Winter
Protect your container grown herbs from the frosts, if they are grown on terracotta the very cold winter could crack the pot, if you can move them to a greenhouse or a conservatory or even a cold frame, something that gives the protection form the cold. If you can't get them in wrap the pots in sacking hopefully this ill help, keep watering down to a minimum.Thanks for reading my reviews, and thank you for rating them.
Tashi Delek (May everything be well)the_enlightened_one © 2007
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