Five Simple Steps to Create a Container Herb Garden

Growing your own herbs can be done without the time and space of traditional gardens by using containers on your balcony or patio. The experience is particularly rewarding when you use them in your own kitchen.

Five Simple Steps to Create a Container Herb Garden

Step One: Survey your space and choose a selection of containers that are about 14" in diameter and 14" deep for each selection of three herbs you will plant. Of course you must make sure your container has a large drainage hole and a waterproof tray under it. Hint for keeping the soil in the pot and letting extra water drain out. Place a coffee filter over the hole and put two or three large stones on the edges to keep it in place and then fill the pot with the soil.

Step Two: Fill the containers with a fast draining, organic potting soil and plant your seedlings about 4" apart. You can get artistic and creative here with your selections. Planting upright herbs in the center surrounded by low growing bushy herbs will give your herb garden variety and interest. You may want to plant dill in the center of a pot and surround it with curly parsley, marjoram and basil. You can also plant edible flowers in with your herbs for a playful and colorful note to the garden. Try planting rosemary on the back side of a pot that will reside against the wall and then plant cilantro in the middle ground and nasturtiums in the foreground. Allow the nasturtiums to spill over the front of the pot and provide an apron of color.

Step Three: Place your planted containers in a spot that gets 6-8 hours of sun every day. If your site does not have an adequate amount of sun you must provide artificial light to make up the difference. Outdoor flood lights can fill the need here nicely but be sure they are not directed at the neighbors windows. You probably do not need grow lights because the sun will be on the plants at least part of the time.

Step Four: Keep your little herbs healthy and vigorous by watering them on a regular basis and adding a good organic fertilizer regularly according to the directions on the package. Fish emulsion fertilizers are good if your herbs cannot be accessed by the neighborhood cats. Protect your containers from all the pets as you do not want the puppy digging in them or watering them. You want to do all the gardening yourself to ensure healthy food, free from contamination.

Step Five: When your growing herbs get crowded you can remove some of them and start a new container or just replant the whole mini-garden into a larger container. Some of your containers will be planted with the idea of leaving all the plants to grow thick and mound up in lovely displays. Some will look better and do better if spaced a little way apart. Follow the spacing directions on the seedling tags for the best results.

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