When considering the prospect of planting a container herb garden or a backyard herb garden, be aware that all herbs can be grown in containers, however, some herbs thrive much better then others. Indoor herb gardens require the same growing conditions that garden herbs require.
One advantage to growing container herbs is the ability to transport the pots to any desired location. Annual herbs can spend their entire time indoors. On the other hand, Perennial herbs thrive much better if they are placed outdoors during the summer growing season. With the exception of mint, chives and tarragon, all herbs should be brought indoors to avoid the loss of foliage before the first frost. Mint, chives and tarragon tend go into a “rest period” then they become firmer and provide a fresher growth after they are introduced to a light frost. It is important to research the specific type of herb you will be planting to ensure maximum growth.
It does not matter so much the type of container used as much as the fact that the conditions of the soil, sunlight and water are held into account. These are the 3 basic ingredients in order for a herb to grow properly.
The main key is sunlight whether grown indoors or out in a garden. Always place your indoor herbs in a southern or western exposed windowsill to maximize the best exposure to the sun. Different types of herbs have different light restrictions but, for the most part, all need sunshine to thrive. A supplemental light source can be used such as “grow lamps” or fluorescent lamps.
As far as the soil is concerned, herbs need a well-drained, semi-rich soil to grow. For best results with container herbs, add a 2 to1 mixture of sterilized potting soil with one part coarse sand or perlite for herbs that are grown in containers. Be sure to include an inch of gravel at the bottom of each pot to ensure that the plant has good drainage. Adding one teaspoon of line to a 5-inch pot enhances the “sweetness” of the herb.
Herbs grown in pots also require additional water, more so than herbs grown in a garden. Pay close attention to the amount of water however; you do not want the roots of your container herb to become too drenched or become too soggy. This will rot the roots. To maintain the right humidity conditions, moisten the pebbles or mist the leaves to keep the herb from drying or developing brown leaves in the hot sun.
Pruning plants and an occasional harvest does encourage new growth and a healthier herb. You will then be able to use your herbs as much as you desire. Use them in your recipes or store, dry or can them or even give them away as gifts to friends and relatives.
The tips listed above will enable you to care for your herbs so they become healthy, thriving and stable. Remember to periodically give your herbs a light feeding and a yearly repotting for optimal growth. Also remember to replant annuals every year and move perennials outdoors when the time is right.
This is but a small excerpt from my new ebook: Holistic Herbs ~ A Beginners Guide to Herbal Gardening.
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Kali S Winters
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