growing herbs in pots
Just a short post to tell you about an idea from one of my wife’s pals. This lady, who is a real go-getter, decided she wanted to grow veggies and herbs in her tiny courtyard.
She measured one of the walls fronting the courtyard and off she went to her local building supplier and bought guttering and brackets long enough for the wall space available and got her husband to help her put up the guttering on the walls as blind gutters and fill the profiles with a good soil mix.
Next thing she was planting seeds and voila – they now have their own herbs and veggies growing close to the kitchen.
If you want to do this, get a good handyman to help you in the interests of neatness and a sturdy structure, as you will want 3 or 4 rows from top to bottom spaced at about 12 to 18 inches. (30 to 45 cm) Hers is very neat and looks great. Of course there is nothing stopping you from creating a floral display in this way, if you are looking for color on a bare wall.
I will try and get a photo, but in the meantime refer to my rough sketch. As you can see, you can make it any length and any amount or height of tiers. So plan carefully. Guttering is preformed, so choose a profile, choose a length, get extra brackets to handle the weight of the soil and give it a go.
I would put an extra profile right on top and use it as an easy drip feed for all the profiles underneath.
A really good handyman could build one as an indoor kitchen garden, given the right light conditions. Please send me photo’s if you decide to try this.
My previous post examined the features of pots and containers for creating your indoor herb garden kits as well as appropriate kinds of herb for inclusion therein. I would at this juncture like to concentrate on several other options you might want to consider if you want to gain optimum pleasure and functionality from a new indoor herb garden.
The incentive to cultivate herbs inside the garden or house is often a productive one: not merely will the plantings
guarantee a stable supply of fresh and all-natural flavouring for cooking but, in accordance with the variations you want to grow, they will provide possibilities for an array of uses in both the remedial and make up fields. Herbs are, more importantly, among the most convenient of plants to cultivate, and they need minimal room for effective growth.
Contemplating your herb garden
You might desire to cultivate herbs for culinary requirements, for their fragrance, or for their medicinal elements. There are a great number of various herbs, hence your primary factor in planning the garden is its essential function or purposes. Some people grow them as an ornamental feature; others incorporate the plants to fulfill diverse requirements. The options are practically infinite, the eventual preference according to your preferences, on the needs you have and, to some degree, on your inventive ability.
Even though usually informal, your indoor herb garden should be planned in accordance with the height and width of container, the functionality desired and growth features as well as the plants’ needs. Aesthetic considerations are pretty much as important as practical ones, and herbs of comparable height and spread grown in sizable pots should be arranged, with the taller-growing plants (rosemary, lemon verbena) in the back of the container, and the shorter, denser bush-growth in front. Spreading and fast-growing herbs (mint, lemon bairn) should be provided individual pots to refrain from choking of other plants.
Herbs wanted frequently (parsley, sage, thyme, chives) ought to be quite easy to access and not covered up by other foliage, and annuals should be planted independently from perennials. Endeavor to create visual interest by mixing up textures and shades of foliage – paler hues of green and grey, for example, can be used to contrast with bolder greens; set feathery foliage against heavier-leafed plants. Gardening classes at online universities can also teach you how to cultivate herbs inside your home.
Being such versatile plants, herbs provide convenient options – creeping thyme may be potted in or close by a busy room where it will emit an enjoyable fragrance when brushed against. Attractive flowering herbs such as tansy, lavender, yarrow, rosemary and calendula provide lively sections of colour to a kitchen area or any other room. Lavender, thyme and scented geranium, could be located close to the front entrance, featuring a sweet-smelling welcome for friends.
Selecting The Varieties
- For flavouring and garnishes, the following baker’s dozen comprise a good choice: basil, bay leaf, caraway, chives, coriander, fennel, garlic, lemon balm, marjoram, mint, parsley, sage and thyme.
- A fragrant herb garden provides you with the constituents for fragrant sachets and potpourri. Beneficial here might be: angelica, basil, bay, bergamot, chamomile, fennel, hyssop, lavender, lemon balm, lemon thyme, lemon verbena, mint, rosemary and roses.
- The flowers and leaves of these varieties provide substances for teas and herbal drinks: bergamot, borage, chamomile, catmint, hyssop, lemon balm, lemon verbena, lovage, peppermint, rosemary and thyme.
- A medicinal herb garden might include: angelica, basil, bay, bergamot, borage, chives, comfrey, fennel, garlic, lemon balm, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme.
Container and indoor growth
Herbs are probably the most suitable and attractive container plants and virtually every species may be potted with great success, whether initially propogated by seed or nursey seedlings. My first herb garden was indoors – cooking with herbs was just so convenient with a source close at hand. Since the first attempt – almost 30 years ago – I have dished out dozens of mini gardens to friends as gifts. Many of them got over the mystique surrounding herbs in days of yore and became keen herbies.
Herbs ideally suited for planting indoors include popular choices such as basil, chives, coriander(silantro), lemon balm, thyme, marjoram, parsley, stevia, sage and winter savory. However, small pots of many other varieties should certainly survive very well if indoor growing circumstances are favourable. (See below.)
Terracotta strawberry containers are particularly suited for herb growing, allowing taller and bushier herbs (hyssop, for example) to be grown in the top, and for trailing herbs (oregano, thyme) to grow down gracefully from the side openings. When selecting a pot or tub, be sure to check its has adequate water drainage openings and that it is thoroughly clean. Containers must permit good drainage to prevent waterlogging and consequent root impairment.
Besides satisfying these requirements, ensure that the dimensions and colour of the pot match the plant you are planning to grow: un-glazed clay-based pots are widely used and combine nicely with green foliage; timber containers also play a role in attractive presentation and can be utilized as window boxes or on a veranda.
Container plantings offer an array of possibilities to the herb garden enthusiast: a pot including a single species can be arranged with other containers for variety; or you can place several herbs together in a single large container, provided that the grouped herbs need the equivalent growing requirements.
A space-saving and appealing technique for growing is the hanging basket. This allows creeping foliage to cascade over the sides, while central positions can be filled by parsley or chives.
Herbs with invasive root systems (mint, lemon balm) are best planted separately as they tend to overcrowd the other species in a mixed planting. Check first with your nurseryman.
Potted indoor herbs need a well-lit, bright position but do not like the severe direct heat of the sun. A kitchen window-sill which receives several hours of sun each day is ideal. Even decent reflected light will suit such plants as chervil, chives, lemon balm, mint and parsley – none of which benefit from too much heat.
Indoor herbs ought to be examined on a daily basis for moisture and watered on a regular basis to avoid the soil from drying out.
Container-grown herbs do not need to be limited to window boxes or patio positions. In reality, some of the more delicate herbs are better cultivated indoors; certainly in places where winters are severe.
Indoor herbs flourish in a normal, and stable, room temperature of around 17 °C, but will endure cooler night temperatures as long as these do not fall too low. Dry heat is exceedingly detrimental, and relatively high levels of humidity ought to be maintained; this can be contrived by standing the pots on a layer of moist gravel in their drip trays. They will also reap the benefits of an occasional misting of their foliage, and they require decent air circulation. They should not, however, be permitted to stand in a draught.
This perennial blooming plant is 1.2 m (3’6″) tall and .5 m (18″) broad at maturation. Identifiable through its purple cone-shaped flowers, it is indigenous to eastern North America and is known as the ‘purple coneflower’.
Depending on climate, it starts to bloom in late May to early July. Its flowers are hermaphroditic, possessing both male and female organs on each flower. It is pollinated through butterflies and bees.
- Echinacea purpurea may possess antidepressant attributes
- Echinacea is commonly believed to stimulate the immune system.
- Echinacea has traditionally been utilized to deal with or prevent colds, flu, and other infections.
- Less frequently, echinacea has been useful for wounds and skin problems, such as acne or boils.
- Echinacea purpurea can be grown as an ornamental plant, and numerous cultivars have been developed for flower quality and plant form.
- The above-surface elements of the plant and roots of echinacea are used fresh or dried out to make teas, extracts, or preparations for exterior use.
- When taken through the mouth, echinacea usually doesn’t result in unwanted side effects. However, some individuals encounter allergic reactions, including rashes and bronchial asthma. In medical trials, gastrointestinal side effects have been most common.
A genus of herbaceous flowering plants from the daisy group, Asteraceae. The 9 species it includes are commonly known as purple coneflowers.They are endemic to eastern and central North America, where they are found growing in damp to dry prairies and open wooded areas. They have big, showy heads of composite flowers, blooming from early to late summer. The generic name hails from the Greek term(echino), or “spiney,” due to the spiney middle disk. Several species are used in herbal medications while some are usually grown because of their showy flowers.
Propagation and Cultivation (Northern hemisphere)
Useful propogation methods include division, root cuttings, and basal cuttings. Cuttings produced from roots that are 7 to 10 mm thick will grow into plants when started at the end of autumn or early winter. Cuttings of basal shoots in the spring may be rooted after treating with powdered rooting hormones.
Seed germination occurs best with daily temperature variances and help to end the seeds dormancy. Clumps of Echinacea purpurea may be divided, or broken into smaller bunches, which is usually carried out in the spring or autumn.
Its normal habitats feature dry open woods, prairies and barrens. Although the plant prefers loamy or sandy, well-drained earth, it is little influenced through the soil’s pH. Needing the sunlight, Echinacea purpurea thrives in either moist or dry earth and can endure drought, once established.
For indoor sowing: Flowers from February to April (for Spring)
Put in containers of damp compost. Sow thinly and cover using a fine layer of compost. Firm lightly and keep moist. Cover using glass, polythene or a propagator lid. Keep at approx. 15-20°C (60-68°F). The seedlings will come in 14-28 days. Remove cover when seedlings appear. When big enough transplant 5cm (2in) apart in trays. Stand outdoors for several days late May in a frostfree period, after that transplant 40cm (16in) apart in desired situation.
For outdoor sowing: Flowers from May to July (for Autumn)
Place the seeds in a prepared seedling bed. Sow very finely in rows of 30cm (12in) apart. Cover up carefully with fine earth. Firm lightly and keep damp. When big enough thin to 10 cm (4in) rows. Then transplant 40cm (16in) apart in blooming position in September to October. Keep moist and eradicate weeds.
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Appearance: They resemble trim tufts of grass and are thus ideal for use as a path edging for both the kitchen garden and herb garden. As they mature the leaves become circular and hollow, and reach about 30 to 40 cms (l2 to l5 in) in length. (Giant chives grow a little taller).
Description: Chives (sometimes known as onion chives) are one of the most widely grown herbs, their reliability makes them excellent material for cultivation in pots for yards and balconies, or window—boxes with good drainage. The flavour is refined and onion~like and is best before the plants flower, or in plants that are prevented from flowering.
Chinese chives or garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) form clumps in the same manner as their onion chive cousins, but the grass-like leaves are flat. The flavour is pleasant and close to garlicy. They will grow up to 60 cms (2ft) tall with mauve/pink flower heads all Summer.
Chives are known to attract bees to the garden.
Usage: When chopped as a garnish for cheese and egg dishes, soups, salads, sandwiches and quiches, the grassy strips are added fresh just prior to serving. Chives are rarely used in cooking as the mild flavour is overwhelmed. ln the garden allow at least two or three plants to flower for the sheer beauty of the purple—pink bobbed heads. Place flowers as a garnish in soups or use to decorate the cheese board or cold buffets.Flowers and leaves can be incorporated in salads and herb butters.
According to one of my herb garden information sources, chives are widely held to be a blood cleansing tonic and to fight flu or a cold.
Cultivation: Divide established clumps of bulbs every three years in the spring, and transplant clusters from the outer edges of the clumps. Alternatively, chives can be raised afresh from seed. Although they thrive in any good garden loam, they show a marked preference for slightly acid soil and need to be kept moist throughout the growing season. Choose a place where they can enjoy some shade during the day and remove the flower heads to maintain a continuous supply of flavoursome leaves. The foliage dies down in the winter, so cover a plant or two with dry leaves to encourage a few early spikes for their fresh flavour. Alternatively, pot up a clump of bulblets in the autumn (fall) to keep in a porch or on the apartment windowsill for fresh early spikes. In those regions where the summer temperature remains above 32°C (90°’F) clumps can be planted out afresh in the autumn (fall) to provide a winter supply of leaves.
Harvesting: Although several herb garden information authorities hold mildly differing views on this, you can safely use as required – no special rules apply. The flowering heads appear in Summer and can be used for salads.
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Appearance: Sweet basil bears tiny, white, purple—tinged flowers in midsummer and juicy aromatic leaves. A healthy plant reaches about 30 cms (1 ft) in height with good foliage. ‘Dark Opal’ has a gingery aroma, and when used shredded in salads adds a decorative air and exotic flavour.
Description: A tender herb, several types of which are in cultivation. The large leaved, common or sweet basil, Ocymum barilicum, is the plant to choose for the kitchen with its strong, spicy, clove—like aroma. Dwarf or bush basil, O. minimum, is hardier but has a weaker flavour.
Usage: Companion plant to tomatoes, peppers and squashes and essential in a classic Italian tomato sauce accompanying pasta.
History: An ancient plant from the Pacific Islands which reached England via Asia and Europe in the sixteenth century, and was taken by early settlers to America.
Cultivation: In zones with a cold winter, sow basil in early to mid—spring in boxes or in frames, or later out of doors after all danger of frost has passed. Start the seedlings off in an environment with good protection and temperature until they can be hardened off and planted out safely.
In warmer zones, sow directly into beds – thereafter thin out to about 20 cms (8 ins) apart or transplant. Basil seedlings transplant easily. A plant can be potted up and kept indoors to maintain a fresh supply of leaves until late fall, or be grown indoors in a spot affording at least five hours of sunshine daily. A good patio or window—box plant which enjoys a sunny outdoor environment.
Do not plant near Rue, Basil and Rue seem to repel one another.
Other uses: As a fixative in potpourri’s, used in bowls or bunches to repel insects indoors. (Bruise leaves occasionally ) Basil is both an antiseptic and tonic as well as being beneficial when rubbed on the temple for a headache.
Harvesting: Leaves are best picked young. Mine seem to do better the more often I pick leaves off.
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