I have a relatively large backyard for living in an urban area, yet my herb gardens live in pots. There are many reasons for this, but I first became a believer in the potted herbs after my first attempt at growing them. I had purchased seedlings and planted them hoping to serve more flavorful dishes to my family without handing over $3.00 every time a recipe called for fresh herbs. It was going well, my plants were growing, and then June appeared and brought with it a rash of thunderstorms. One thunderstorm in particular sent high winds and hail whipping through my backyard and, subsequently, my herb garden. That was the end of my first herb garden.
Ever since that first year, I’ve gone to planting my herbs in easily transportable pots. When the thunderstorm comes brewing, I’m out there ushering them under the eaves of the house to protect them from any harsh elements. I’ve even had them spend a night in the kitchen until it was safe to come out the next morning. Yes, I cherish my herb gardens.
First, get your pot of choice and your seedlings. I have a mix of seedlings from seeds and starter plants from our local farmer’s market.
This is dirt from an herb garden from last year. Ole gave it a good hack to cut up all the root systems, and I’ll use this as the base dirt for all of my herb gardens along with some compost from our compost pile in the back corner.
This is the base in one of my new pots. We did two pots last year, but Ole wants to expand further so we have more basil and parsley for pesto later in the season. We then freeze it and have homemade pesto all winter long to keep us going during the cold winter months.
We’re going with a total of four pots this year. We have a “pesto pot” full of nothing but basil and parsley, both flat and curly. We also have a pot that houses arugula and spinach with one tiny mint plant. The mint plant dominates every year, so I’m hoping I gave them adequate room to spread out together. Pot 3 contains two of each: rosemary, thyme and oregano. The last pot is full of dill, chives and cilantro. Our first year I started with one of each herb in one pot. I’ve definitely grown since then.
See those? Those are recycled packing peanuts. They help with drainage. I had someone suggest it once after a sad herb garden attempt, and it worked. You could also place stones or perlite in the bottom of the pots to help keep your herbs from sitting in soggy soil. Herbs need to be watered regularly, but they will actually be more fragrant if you avoid excessive watering and keep them on the drier side of life.
Once you get all your soil in your pot, level it out.
Because I’m using new planting mix on top, it’s very easy to push aside to make room for my plants.
Insert your seedling and pack the soil down around it. Then repeat the process until all your plants have new homes in the dirt.
These are my four herb gardens. This may seem excessive, but I’m looking forward to drying out the extras and storing them for later use, and buying quality herbs gets expensive versus growing them myself. After you have all your herbs planted, give them a drink of water and repack the dirt around them to secure them.
I also planted a hanging salad basket. This is the first time I’m growing lettuce, so I’ll let you know how it goes. I read about the different ways to harvest it, and because it doesn’t need a lot of room, it is supposed to work well in window boxes and this lovely hanging planter. I dare the squirrels and rabbits to try to get to my lettuce.
Hello, basil. I’m going to eat you later. Just you wait.
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