Having easy access to a few choice herbs can be as simple as keeping a good sized pot by the door to your kitchen or a decent sized window box. In this article however, I will show you how easy it is to set up a mini herb garden in a pot and get started growing!
The first thing to do is select your pot. A good quality terracotta pot roughly 30 inches wide and 40 inches deep is perfect for the job. Of course there are no hard and fast rules as a different size container or a plastic pot will do just fine. It really depends on how many different types of herbs you wish to plant and your own personal design preference. I myself like the look of the terracotta pot however I also love the old wine barrel for its visual charm. Emptying the wine barrel before use can also provide you with some enjoyment!
Ensure you drill some holes in the bottom of your pot if it does not have some already, to help with drainage from over watering or rain.
Line the bottom of the pot with a mixture of wood chips, gravel or small stones and then fill the pot three quarters of the way up with a loose style, good quality, well draining soil.
Now the most important part – choosing your herbs! This will depend a lot on not only what you want to eventually use but also where your pot is going to live.
A few herbs that grow well in sunny conditions are thyme, dill, rosemary, sage, basil, bay laurel, lemon verbena and French lavender.
If your mini herb garden will be spending most of its time in a shaded area then herbs such as spearmint, peppermint, lemon balm, oregano and borage will do well in these conditions.
Herb favourites like parsley, coriander and chives will thrive in both sunny and shady conditions so do not be too afraid to experiment. The beauty of pots unless they are too big and heavy is that they can be moved to take in a little more sun or shade as required. For this reason, pots with wheels or castors can provide some excellent advantages when it comes to seeking out the best growing conditions.
When choosing your herbs, try and include both upright and also trailing or creeping types to add some nice visual appeal.
Some of the most common and widely used herbs that would suit this type of garden are the traditional favourite’s parsley, coriander, chives, basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme.
Now you have selected your herbs, decide on their final pot placement taking into consideration your own personal design flair and also how tall they will grow when mature. It will not do you much good choosing your centrepiece herb plant as one that only grows 4 or 5 inches high and then planting other, larger growing plants around it.
It is really up to you how you configure your herb plants, after all – it’s your garden! Some popular styles however are based on the traditional clock design where you have a centrepiece plant right in the middle and then herb plants at 12, 3, 6 and 9 or a slightly different version with herbs at 4, 7 and 12 again with a nice centrepiece plant to top it all off.
After finalising your herb plant placements, all you need to do is plant them lovingly in your pot and then fill the rest of the pot up to about an inch from the top with a good potting mix, being careful not to bury the seedlings. Press the soil down firmly and give them a good soak. To promote thick growth, an effective trick is to pinch out some of the lower lying stems and branches. This will encourage a strong trunk and additional, thicker foliage.
After about two or three weeks, a little liquid fertilizer will assist in keeping these young plants well nourished. Because the herb seedlings grow quickly and are nice and lush, they make excellent targets for snails, slugs and birds so watch out for these and control appropriately with environmentally sound products.
And that’s all there is to it! As I said at the beginning, growing your own herbs at home can be as elaborate or as simple as you like and a Mini Herb Garden is not only easy to set up and care for, but will supply you with all the herbs you need to add a little bit of flair, ambience and great taste to your kitchen and the food you prepare within it.