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We know that the pots at Tacoma Boys and H & L Produce are beautiful as stand alone decorations, or as homes for thousands of kinds of plants, and even a series of vegetable starts. But an unsung hero for the foodie and young family is easy access to herbs. So here is our quick guide to a do it yourself herb garden.
Ever been in the throes of dinner preparation, only to discover you were out of the herbs you needed to make your recipe complete? Imagine being able to plant your own, and grow them just about anywhere in and around your home. That’s what we’re talking about today: making a potted herb garden right at home.
The healthy growth of herbs is heavily dependent on essential oils that develop through exposure to sunlight. So many of your favorite herbs can happily thrive on as much as six hours of sun exposure every day. Other herbs, considered partial sun, tend to grow well with 3-4 hours of sun each day.
But a terrific feature that comes with keeping your herbs in pots is portability. You can move them from windowsill to floor, or even room to room, as sunlight and seasonality demand. So when thinking of what you most want to plant, we’ve developed a quick graphic to help you know which popular herbs need certain amounts of sunlight. If you have questions on the best potting containers, we’ve got your covered on our blog page. But for the sake of simplicity, you need something that drains well, and pot size does matter. So if you’re planting several, pick a bigger pot.
You may also have questions about herbs that we haven’t noted here, and you are welcome to call us at any of our locations to get your potting questions answered.
Filling And Feeding
In our blog titled Potting that Lasts, we navigate the best practices and purchases for soil and fertilizer, and those rules still apply to your herb garden. While the growth for many herbs is not as robust as flowering plants, and most plants in general, healthy herbs are always eating. So nutrient-rich potting soil and timely fertilizing are incredibly important. A couple additional tips: Do not over-fertilize herbs.The plant will grow, but you will harm the production of those necessary essential oils. Additionally, applying water and fertilizer directly to both root and leaf is beneficial to the herb when done properly. So feel free to spray the leaf when you are watering the soil.
Mixing It Up
Another important consideration to planting your herbs is knowing which ones are acceptable to mix. Many of the culinary herbs we think of are Mediterranean in origin, so they require full sun, warm climate, and well-draining soil. So you wouldn’t want to mix, say, basil and rosemary with more fragile herbs like mint or chives, because the latter grow best in a more moist soil. Just keep in mind the ideal conditions for each herb, and you will avoid any mixing mishaps.
DIY Must Haves
Let’s get down to the essential herbs for potting and gardening, and why we think these few are must-haves for your do it yourself potted herb garden:
- Basil – this durable herb is relatively low maintenance, and can be used in numerous cooking applications and pairs well with anything tomato-based, food or drink. Additionally, basil helps repel mosquitos!
- Thyme – could be potted with basil if you so choose, and works wonderfully in soups, with a host of meats, and is pleasantly aromatic. For an added aromatic punch to go with basil, find some lemon thyme to send those floral notes across the room.
- Sage – a more woodsy aroma, sage is used in numerous vegetarian dishes, and is a staple herb for the fall season.
- Dill – no herb pairs better with salmon than this herb. It has a vibrant color, a unique pickle-like flavor, and adds an unexpected note to many dishes.
These are just a few of our favorites, but a case can be made for the lovely winter aroma of rosemary, the clean scent of mint, and the insect repelling power of both lemongrass (where the citronella oil is commonly found) and lavender. And if you’re pinched for time today, many of these herbs and a whole host of other spices are available in our Tacoma Boys dry spices.
There are so many wonderful herbs to be enjoyed. Whether you’re looking to naturally fragrance your home or take your foodie credibility to the next level, planting an herb garden will get you there. So come by your local Tacoma Boys and H & L Produce to see how we marry our pots and herbs.
Potting plants and herbs is a terrific way to garden that doesn’t depend on the yard that surrounds your home. So here are some tips for how to make your gardening and planting successful.
We love the way planted pots look when they adorn front yards, covered decks, and driveways. The versatility of what can be potted, and the sheer number of pots available, makes potting an obvious choice for many people looking to spruce up their yards and homes. So here are some simple tips to help keep your potting effort sustainable and beautiful for as long as possible.
Pot Before Plant
Even if you know what you want to grow before you ever get started with your gardening and planting, finding the right vessels for planting is paramount. There are options to consider, colors and glazes to select from, and shapes and sizes galore! If you’re reading this, and you aren’t a PNW resident, pot selections will vary and it may be harder to find the right pot than you think. And people will see your pots during every stage of your plant’s life, so choosing the right container is important. If you are one of our Western Washington neighbors, your local Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce have thousands of pots to choose from, so we have you covered. But beyond colors, sizes, and shapes, it’s important to know that some pots actually serve certain plants and soils differently. Let’s talk glazing.
Glazed vs. Unglazed
Of course, a lot of what we select in potting vessels has to do with how we want them to look. And that makes so much sense. Many of us buy plants with the colors of their blooms and leaves in mind, so having a similar thought about pots is just fine. But there are some basic details that every pot should have, so here’s a quick list: drainage holes (unless your ceramic pot is holding a plastic liner pot), appropriate size for plant growth, and watering expectations.
That last one is a big key, and it has more to do with the person planting than the pot being used. Do you want plants that require a lot of watering? Do you intend to water daily? Will the pots be in constant sunlight? Is your area heavily shaded? What’s the weather like where you are doing your potting and gardening? And what do these questions have to do with potting? Great question. The answer is in the glaze.
Unglazed pots are very porous, and so they create a significant airflow for the soil you are planting in. However, the same cellular configuration that allows air to flow freely also pulls moisture from the soil, requiring a potentially higher frequency of watering. Glazed pots do almost the exact opposite. The fired glaze fills in the pores in the ceramic pot, restricting airflow but holding in moisture much longer than their unglazed counterparts. So if you prefer the shinier pots, it means you may need to consider your soil much more carefully.
And speaking of soil, we at Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce proudly serve organic soil because we prefer the natural, nutrient-rich product that more readily benefits a wide range of plants and produce, is chemical free, and can be blended with compost to benefit growth and drainage, but does not need to be.
Should you choose to go with a synthetic soil, we do recognize that those products act fast. However, they break down the micronutrients in existing soils and train the plant life to depend on their man-made nutrients. That means that every time you replant, pot up, or move your plants, you must always use the more expensive synthetic soil, and often the same brand. So we recommend natural potting soil because it blends more consistently with existing soils, can take to ground planting more effectively, carries natural benefits, and is more cost effective to you.
While we are on the subject of soils, let’s quickly debunk a common potting drainage myth: placing materials like gravel, sand, rocks, and compost in the bottom of your pots for drainage does not really work. While those products may drain more effectively than an organic soil does, they do not aid in plant growth, general plant drainage, or the health of your plants. Oftentimes, those materials simply move the pooling of water higher up in the pot, creating a more dangerous environment for root growth and stability. If you fear your soil is too dense, mix in some perlite to the soil, and that should keep it light and airy.
Plants Eat, So Feed Them
Plants are living things. And all living things feed, in some way or another. And for the potting gardener, keeping your plants healthy and your soils nutrient-rich is a responsibility that cannot be ignored.
Your plants need sunlight to gain the energy to feed. That’s photosynthesis. And your plants dependency on sunlight is something you should know beforehand. Water is the fuel that keeps photosynthesis churning. The water travels from root to stem to leaves, and evaporates in carbon dioxide. And for plants thriving in the ground, they can pull nutrients from their surrounding areas to create their own food. But that does not apply to potted plants! They are relegated to the space you give them, and the organic soil you plant them in. When they eat the nutrients around them from your potting soil, there is no natural process to replace those nutrients. And that’s where fertilizer comes in.
We suggest nutrient rich fertilizers, and have found that the best application is mixing fertilizer with water, and spraying your plants as often as is necessary. But how do you determine the frequency for fertilization? A huge helping of common sense will aid you, along with the instructions that come on most bags you buy. But remember these simple rules: 1. If your plant is growing, it’s eating. 2. Whenever you or the PNW precipitation are watering, nutrients may be washed away and the plants are eating. 3. If it’s a sunny day, photosynthesis is kicking in even faster. And in all of these cases, feed those plants!
Now It’s Up to You
Potting plants is so rewarding. Potted herb gardens are brilliant in-home ideas for the health-conscious young family and the recipe-minded foodie. Veggie starts are great potting solutions, as you prepare your gardening adventures. And of course, we love flowers!
But it is up to you what you want in your home, on your lawn, or decorating your decks and outdoor areas. We just want you to have the most rewarding potting experience possible. And we hope these few tips have helped set you up for success!
If you have any more questions, contact us or swing by your local Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce today.
Aside from their beauty, there are so many ways to use our ceramic pots in your home and garden. Here are a handful of the reasons that we love potting!
The multipurpose versatility of pots is always on display at your local Tacoma Boys Market and H&L Produce. While we are proud of the selection of pots that we offer, we know that the many uses of pots is what gives them so many great selling features.
Potting It All
Perhaps the most obvious reason we have pots throughout Tacoma Boys is their versatility. Pots have endless uses as stand alone art, in-home decor, stylized function for your garden, water features around your home, and so many more uses. Here are a few that we are especially excited about.
What’s better than growing a garden? Growing a nice garden that starts with beautiful pots. And all that these starts really need from their host pot is room to grow and proper drainage. That will be a theme to all of these potting options. At least a single hole at the bottom of any pot is needed for planting of any kind. And where produce is concerned, proper moisture, fertilizer, and appropriate sun and shade will make for a tremendous garden.
Hanging Basket Hosts
This might qualify as more of a gardening hack, but we like it for the family that wants the curb appeal of beautiful landscaping, but struggles to find the time to garden appropriately. So for the gardener in a hurry, finding a deeper pot that you can place a mature hanging basket inside of, plastic pot and all, is a brilliant way to get instant gardening gratification. The plastic pot should drain, and the residual water will drain out of the bottom of the ceramic pot. If you have more questions, watch the video we’ve attached here, from Paul Heist, the owner of Tacoma Boys.
Seed Planting – Flowers & Flowering Plants
At Tacoma Boys, we are certainly partial to plants. And for the adventurous gardener that wants to grow their own, pots are fantastic hosts for annuals and perennials of all kinds. We particularly like Nemesia and Gerbera daisies, but there are so many more kinds of flowers to choose from. And if you find yourself with some care questions, give us a call or check out our previous article on caring for hanging baskets.
One of the best uses for pots, and a good plan no matter where you live, is herb gardening. Whether you’re living in an apartment with one window near the sink or in a house with a yard, herb gardening is a crossover of beauty and function. If you consider yourself a foodie or an aspiring chef, fresh herbs will certainly take your home meals to the next level and offer beneifts well beyond their enticing aromas and vibrant colors.
While there are a lot of herbs to choose from, the fresh herb staples that you might want to begin growing are oregano, mint, thyme, basil, and rosemary.
Did you know that there are a host of plants, herbs, and flowers that keep pests at bay? If you’re looking to ward off mosquitos, add basil to your herb garden, or consider a pot full of lemon balm. You could also bring in beautiful flowers like marigolds and lavender, as well as greenery like catnip and citronella to keep mosquitoes away from your home and outdoor seating areas. Many other herbs work to repel unwanted insects and bugs, like ants, flies, and spiders.
You can use pots to make art, ward off invading critters, start you garden, or liven up your landscaping. And for aggressively growing plants, pots are a smart way to keep them contained, avoiding a yard takeover.
For tips on gardening and planting of all kinds, always check us out in our blog section of our Tacoma Boys website.
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