How to Nourish Your Container Herbs

My herbs are growing in one of the so-called soil-less composts. These are peat based and have the requisite plant foods incorporated. After about two months, I shall begin feeding the plants with a soluble plant food for by this time; most of the existing nutrients will have been used by the growing plants or leached from the soil. A mixed pot of young plants. Make sure to give them plenty of water if they are in a sunny place.

If you want to grow herbs in any kind of container it is important that you begin with a good potting compost. Different types of these are on sale at all garden stores, centers and the internet. The soil-less types are light in weight, an important point for some people in certain conditions. However, where these lightweight composts are used out of doors, for instance in window boxes or tubs where at first, while the plants are young, they do not cover the surface, I suggest that it is both wise and beneficial to cover the soil surface with a layer of clean horticultural sand or with washed shingle or some similar material.

This will prevent the precious compost from being blown away on windy days or in windy places. It will also keep the roots cool by preventing too rapid moisture loss. If you feed the plants from time to time (and when you do be sure to follow the directions very carefully and precisely) you can go on using the same compost for quite a long time for the same plants. It is a good plan to rejuvenate it each spring by giving it a fresh top dressing. Remove the top inch of soil and replace with fresh. Tough, shrubby plants like rosemary originate in the hot, dry garigue areas of the Mediterranean and they can get by with little water, though it is surprising what a difference a plentiful supply makes to them.

If you want a good supply of fresh, tender herbs you must be prepared to water lavishly those which are contained, especially if they are very sunny, exposed places. It helps also to spray the foliage in the early morning before the sun hits it, and on summer evenings. Besides refreshing the plant and helping to keep it turgid, this practice also keeps the leaves clean. Remember that the softer and lusher the nature of the leaves, the more dependent is the herb on moisture. But be sure that you do not kill the plants by drowning, something much easier to do with plants growing indoors than those which are outside.

When potting soil composts are used, it is necessary to place a really good layer of some kind of drainage material at the base of the container. It should fill at least a quarter of the vessel. This ensures that any surplus water that sinks is held in this open layer so that it does not make the soil waterlogged. The soil-less composts behave differently and it is not so important to provide a drainage level for them. All containers used outside should have drainage holes in them so that water can seep away. Indoors this is not so important and where there is no hole in the container, one sh ould provide a drainage level as for containers out of doors. Often a good layer of charcoal nuggets is sufficient.…

How to Add a Dash of Style to Your Herb Container Garden

A hanging basket overflowing with various herbs. If you have a paved area near your kitchen, you could grow a great variety of herbs conveniently near to hand. These could be in tubs, either in the modern types or in those of more traditional styles according to the setting. It is not essential to reserve one container for one type of plant. I would suggest that if you mix them you choose one upright type such as sage, rosemary, lovage or tarragon; one sprawler such as marjoram, thyme, mint or savory; and one temporary kind which can be raised from a pinch of seed sown among the perennials such as parsley, chervil or basil.

Chives can go with any mixture. On the other hand, and especially if you have a large basement or patio, a few big isolated herbs could give it great style and atmosphere. For instance, giant angelica in tubs grouped in some shady spot have great beauty of form. Rosemary can be grown on a stem as a standard, like some picture book tree. These plants revel in the sun. They could tower over a mat of carpeting thyme planted below them. Lemon verbena, Lippia citviodora, is a splendid plant for a container in a protected area. Main Part If the area in which you grow herbs is also the main part of your garden, remember that they can be alternated with showy plants.

Marigolds, borage, nasturtiums and poppies will all grow in containers. Some of the potpourri plants will grow this way also, particularly the scented leaved pelargoniums. A word of caution: If you own a dog, raise the tubs on bricks if necessary so that the plants in them do not become soiled. Small Area An attractive way of growing herbs in a small area and at the same time, to restrict those with wandering roots is to make a three-tiered bed in much the same way as used for strawberries. Aluminum lawn edging would do for this, though if the bed could be made deeper the plants would do better.

Bricks or concrete blocks can also be used and peat blocks too, so long as these are kept moist. The lowest circle is left at, say, nine inches deep, then a smaller circle is placed on this in the center and an even smaller circular bed on top of this. You can go higher, of course, if you wish, though by doing this you would tend to increase the shade on one part of the pyramid. Much depends on the style of the garden and the plants you wish to grow. Obviously those plants which thrive in dry conditions will go at the top, as well as those which are taller and upright growing. It is possible to make such a bed look quite attractive because little plants like thyme and summer marjoram can scramble prettily over the edges. Touches of creative originality such as this do much to give a garden that individual and well-loved look. They help you to establish your own personal stamp upon it.…