A Beginner’s Guide to Potted Herb Gardens
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.