Thursday Tidbits: How to Plant an Herb Garden
Hi, there everyone! This is Melissa T. bringing you your weekly Thursday Tidbit. It has been almost 100 degrees each day for the past week here in North Carolina, and I must say that it isn’t pretty…especially when you don’t have air conditioning in your car. In my quest to stay cool, I have ventured indoors, and while sitting in the quietude of my bedroom instead of playing in the sun, I have put on a few extra pounds. At least that is what the lovely little chart that my doctor showed me today said. The thing is, that I love food. I love to cook. And nothing seems better than grilled fruit with fresh herbs from my now heat-stricken herb garden.
This is the perfect time of year for growing your own herb garden, and you don’t need a lot of space in which to do it. I take up about 6 square feet on my front porch for my plethora of goodies. There are two things which you need to do before planting an edible paradise: 1- decide where you would like to place your herbs (afternoon sun is usually best) and 2- decide which herbs your family will use on a regular basis. I see no reason why one should take up valuable porch space/deck space for herbs that serve no purpose. For that reason alone, this year I nixed lavender. Also, you will want to start with a few herbs and add a few more each year until you are at a comfortable size for your palate and pocketbook. At this point in the year, you will want to buy already sprouted herbs that are about 4″ to 8″ tall.
Supplies you will need for a patio edible garden:
Plastic pots that are big enough for the amount of herbs you are growing (I recommend 3 separate pots: 1- for basil which will grow tall until the first frost 2- for mint which will grow like a weed and choke out other plants and 3- one large pot for all of your other herbs either in windowbox form or large, circular, and deep.)
herbs of your choosing (I grow basil, mint, curly parsley, Italian flat-leaf parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, and oregano. As you can see, we like Mediterranean food.)
5-8 lbs. potting soil with or without fertilizer depending on whether you want an organic garden
To Build a Patio Edible Garden:
1. Decide which herbs you wish to grow.
2. Purchase already sprouted herbs as desired ($2-$4 is average for a good-sized plant).
3. Remove plants one at a time and place them in designated pots. Remember to keep your basil and mint in their own pots. Almost all other herbs can be grouped together.
4. Place potting soil in each pot taking care to cover all of the roots and the bottom inch or so of the plant itself. Fill in all of the space surrounding the plant and root system.
5. Water your plants from the top to set the potting soil. After setting, you will want to water the bottom of the plant so that the roots will get enough water. Even the cheapest of pots at Wal-Mart or Lowes Home Improvement Center will have a whole near the bottom of the pot to insert your water.
6. Water your herbs daily to ensure optimal growth. Pick herbs from the top of the plant since they will get larger first then block the sun from the other plants.
7. Research recipes containing your herbs at www.freshherbs.com or a similar site. I have found that this site is written by farmers and it offers a wide range of advice and recipes.
8. Combine fresh herbs with the fresh produce you grab weekly from your CSA, farmer’s market. or local farmer. This may take a little more research to find, but it is well worth the price for the value. Plus, you can incorporate this trip into your weekly errands and the kids will enjoy tasting all of the fresh goodies and seeing from where their food actually comes.
9. Enjoy your fresh herbs until the first frost. If planted in pots (as I do), you will need to repeat this process again next year.
Websites for fresh herbs recipes:
Having an Edible Garden is a project your family will enjoy all summer long, from planning to planting, cooking to eating! Remember to make a memory today and be sure to have a camera on hand to capture it. Happy Gardening!