If you're a gardener and love to cook, you know the joys of growing your own fresh herbs. But many gardeners are starved for garden space and often are looking for places to grow plants. Luckily, herbs fit in containers beautifully. You can grow perennial herbs, such as rosemary, lavender and chives, year round in pots. You'll just have to bring them indoors in a cold winter area. I love growing container herbs in window boxes, railing plants, hanging baskets or pots close to my kitchen so I can grab a handful of parsley and basil when making my mother's famous tomato sauce.
The first step is to select the pots. Large clay or plastic pots are great for bigger herbs, such as rosemary, 'Genovese' basil and anise hyssop. For smaller herbs, try using the 4-inch sized VELCRO® Brand PEEL AWAY® Seedling Pots. These pots are large enough to grow herbs such as parsley, 'Fern Leaf' dill, thyme and cilantro. You can keep the plants in the pots all summer harvesting as you need them. In fall, compost old annual herbs and replant a new indoor crop or keep your perennial herbs growing in a sunny window. Here are more herb growing tips.
- Select the easiest herbs for containers such as parsley, chives, sage, oregano, thyme and dwarf rosemary. They stay relatively tame in small pots allowing you to enjoy them for months, if not years.
- Grow herbs in well-drained potting soil. Group moisture loving herbs, such as parsley and chives, in separate pots from dry soil loving herbs, such as thyme and oregano.
- Group pots together to conserve moisture, save space and for a more decorative look.
- Keep herbs well watered growing them in self-watering containers or using water absorbing polymers mixed in the potting soil.
- Fertilize regularly with an organic liquid fertilizer such as fish emulsion or worm compost tea.
- Harvest regularly picking off leaves and stems to stimulate new growth.
Move tender perennial herbs, such as lavender, rosemary and sage, indoors to a sunny window in cold climates in fall.
What's your favorite summer dish that features homegrown herbs? Talk to us in the comments below, and stay tuned for more from Charlie later on this summer.