Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Growing Herbs in Containers

I am fairly new to growing herbs, only starting a few years ago. I have found that it is very rewarding and a great addition to my garden. I love when I am cooking and the recipe calls for one herb or another, and think, "I have that!" Then run out to the garden and clip what I need. It makes the recipes taste fresh and full of flavor. Even the fresh herbs you can buy at the grocery store do not compare to the flavor vcpjherbs provide. They are also fairly low maintenance and easy to grow, that it seems like an obvious addition to any vegetable garden.
 I have also found out that some herbs do better grown in pots, even if you place them right in the garden, then when the cold weather comes, just pick up the pot and bring it indoors. There are even a few herbs that tend to spread and take over if they are not kept contained in the pots such as mint, and possibly oregano. Mint likes to take over and will quickly become a problem, so put them in a pot, and place them in the cabbage patch to keep away the bugs. Oregano is more slowly at spreading, but will eventually spread out, so if not in a pot, it should be watched, and cut back periodically. We cut ours down to an inch above the roots every winter, and harvest what we can of the leaves to freeze for winter use.
Then there are many herbs that can be grown as house plants in a sunny window. Basil is an excellent option, and makes the Italian recipes sparkle. They are wonderful to grow among tomatoes as they help keep some of the bad bugs from finding the tomato plants.
Plant the herbs in medium sized pots with drain holes on the bottom. this will allow the herbs to have enough space for the roots to grow, and also drain any excess water out so that the roots are sitting in water. If the container is too small, it will easily become root bound and inhibit the growth, and quickly dry out the soil. Most herbs need a fair amount of sunlight, but can do with sightly less then vegetables because they are not producing any fruit, just leaves.
When planting the herbs in the pots, be sure to use a nice potting soil, to provide a nice growing environment for the herb. The roots are limited on space, and therefore need a moisture retaining, and loose soil. Regular garden soil will dry out too easily and not have all the nutrients needed for the confined pot.
The potted herbs will also require fertilization every so often to keep them healthy. Be sure not to fertilize too often as this will cause the plant to grow too big, and dilute the quality of the herb.
Although I just mentioned a few herbs here, there are many options to choose from. I would start with the ones that you would use the most often. There are numerous uses for herbs, and it can be an adventure finding new ways to make use of the herbs.
For more information and guides please visit The Gardener's Spot Website.
Happy Herb Gardening! 

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