I know some of you aren’t gardeners but like to have some fresh herbs around for creative cooking. Now you can buy herbs in the market and remove some of the bottom leaves and store them in a vase changing the water every day or you could easily grow some major herbs in pots on your patio or railing. You could choose to grow them in one big pot or give each herb it’s own container (then it’s a little easier to change out the plants). You could plant seeds and tend to them as they grow but if you’re not into gardening start as transplants.
Sun, most herbs like sun, at least 6 hours a day and a well draining potting soil. Use an organic potting soil and a liquid fertilizer like Dr. Earth. You should be able to find most herbs in the nursery right now but basil may be lagging because of the cold winter we had, the growers weren’t able to get the basil going as early as usual.
Here’s a little tip I picked up recently, if you are anywhere near a few pine trees (look in your local park) you could find tons of small pinecones. Place them in the bottom of the pot over the hole and it will help the soil from running out the bottom when you water the plant. The pinecone will slowly degrade into mulch helping to feed the plant. Put some potting soil on top of that and then squeeze the sides of the container the herb is growing in, turn the pot upside down holding the plant gently with your other hand. Squeeze the pot until the plant comes out (don’t pull on the plant or you may damage the stem and kill the poor baby before it evens hits the pot!), place the plant into the pot and fill the surrounding area with more soil. Water well and grow little baby herbs! Fertilize according to the directions on the box or the bottle and never snip off more than 1/3 of the plant. I let my herbs flower as it brings the bees and butterflies to the pots but you may not want that so just pinch back the flowers. The flowers are edible as long as you haven’t sprayed the plant with pesticides or herbicides (no no no). Many herbs are annuals such as basil and need to be planted every spring, but some are biennial (every other year) and many are perennial and will continue to grow. If they out grow the pot just move them up to the next size and plant new babies in the small container. When winter comes be mindful of cold weather, most herbs prefer warm sunny areas so you may have to move them or cover them during cold spells. But if that’s too much for you just toss them into a compost pile or chop them up and plant behind a shrub where they can decompose and plant a new herb baby next spring.
For more tips on growing and using herbs come and see me at The South Coast Plaza Garden Show. The seminars are free!
Thursday April 27th at noon
Friday April 28th at 12:30