Grow Herbs Anywhere

Use creative containers to grow herbs in tight spaces.
Ellen Ruoff Riley

Even if you don't have a square foot of garden soil, you can still grow herbs. Agreeable to almost any type of container, they have few requirements. And they get along beautifully in a variety of combinations, because most have compatible light and water requirements.

Drainage is essential: Herbs cannot tolerate soggy roots. If the vessel you use does not have a way for water to escape, add one large drainage hole or several small ones around the bottom. This is your best insurance for success. But remember, well-drained soil must be watered frequently, especially when temperatures soar in the summer.

When planting containers, always use a good-quality potting soil. There are numerous types available, so keep the following considerations in mind when making your selection.

First, cheap is not always the best choice. Also, choose soil that's light in the bag; heavy sacks can indicate soil that may not drain well. If your containers are small, consider a potting mix with moisture-retaining polymers already included.

Place the soil in a clean bucket, and add water to thoroughly moisten. Loosely fill your container with the damp dirt, and add a well-balanced, timed-release granular fertilizer to the mix.

Needs and Nourishment
Herbs are sun lovers. Be sure to place your containers where they will soak up at least four hours of sunlight daily. Water them in proportion to the pot size and the amount of heat they receive. (Keep in mind that small containers will need to be checked daily.) Herbs generally will forgive a little bit of dryness, but too many days of drought will damage even the toughest planting.

Harvest your herbs frequently for use and to prevent containers from becoming overgrown. Allowed to flower, many herbs will quickly set seed and die. Pinch buds as they appear for sustained growth throughout summer.

Frequent watering and heat will quickly deplete the timed-release fertilizer. By midsummer, feed your containers every other week with a water-soluble, well-balanced fertilizer, such as 20-20-20. To avoid fertilizer burn, always wet the soil with clear water prior to feeding.

 


Thyme To Sit Around

Flea markets and yard sales are good places to find old, inexpensive chairs. If the finish is not to your liking, paint the chair to complement the garden.  Follow these steps to create an unusual thyme garden.

Step-by-Step
 

  • Step 1: Remove the seat from the chair if it's still attached. Using wire cutters, cut chicken wire several inches larger than the seat's frame. Staple the wire's edges to the chair, allowing excess wire to sag inside the seat.
  • Step 2: Cover wire with sheet moss, and fill the planting area with moist potting soil. Use a high-quality product that drains well; if you're working in a small space, choose a soil that will help retain moisture.
  • Step 3: Plant herbs, placing some near the edges so foliage will tumble over the sides. Water gently, and feed every other week with a water-soluble, well-balanced fertilizer.