Herb container gardens are one of my favorite ways to bring herbs easily into the kitchen when cooking. Whether you grow an herb garden on the patio or a couple pots on the windowsill, growing herbs is one of those essentials that every home cook should have. Containers can come in all shapes and sizes and are made from different materials like terra cotta, coconut husks, or even heavy duty plastic containers that come cool colors. You can grow most herbs in a container, as long as the container is the correct size and has drainage holes.
Having the right size pots for your herb container garden is key. If an herb plant has only a small pot to grow into, then it will not grow very large on top. The more room the roots have to grow, the more edible leaves and flowers the herb plant can produce. So for herb gardening, bigger is certainly better. If you want 3-4 herb plants in one container garden, start out with a pot that it is at least 12” wide and 4-6” in depth. If you want each plant to grow in its own pot then you can group the pots together to give the allusion of a larger garden. Putting pots up on stands and organizing them either by style of container or type of plant is a great way to group your herb garden together.
Drainage holes are essential to a good herb container garden and if the pot does not have any pre-drilled holes, you will need to drill at least 3 ¼” holes in the bottom. Layer an inch of pebbles in the bottom of the container and then fill ¾ full with potting soil that has bone meal and blood meal already mixed in. Bone meal is an organic fertilizer that helps the roots grow and develop a healthy root system and blood meal is a nutrient for the leaves and flowers of the herb plant. A key thing to remember about using organic fertilizers is that the plant will only uptake the nutrients it needs and you can’t burn the plant with too much fertilizer as you can when using synthetic fertilizers.
The most popular herbs to grow in a container herb garden are basil, thyme, oregano, marjoram, cilantro, parsley, rosemary, and lavender. When growing multiple plants in one container, put the tallest plant like basil or cilantro in the center and have the plants that like to vine out like thyme and rosemary on the outside edges of the pot.
Once the plants have been transplanted into the container and new potting soil is gently put around the roots, water the herbs in deeply until the water runs out the bottom drainage holes. Water the container garden daily the first week and if the temperature is above 90 degrees, water twice a day.
Once the soil settles down into the pot, add more of the mixed potting soil with the organic fertilizers to it – usually every 2 weeks.
Once the plants are 6” tall, snip off a few leaves to go in your recipe.
Having an herb container garden makes many cooks happy campers.
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