Here at the Herb Patch we have been looking at ways to make the most of your Herb collection. If you have restricted garden space, then growing herbs in pots may be the answer for you. Many herbs will thrive in containers provided they are given a little bit of regular maintenance. Because the pots are moveable then you can have flexibility in the layout of your herb garden and can move pots as necessary to accommodate growth or tender plants brought inside for the winter. If the pots are located near the kitchen door, then it will be easier to use them than if they were at the top of the garden on a rainy day.
Containers can be traditional terracotta pots, or alternative recycled items such as old buckets, tubs, watering cans wooden boxes or even boots or wellies. Just ensure they have drainage holes and and some broken pot or gravel in the bottom to prevent the holes clogging. Specialist terracotta herb pots are also available with holes in the pot sides for planting different herbs. The container should be large enough to give the plant some stability in windy conditions.
Compost used in containers can be soil based or peat base, although the latter will be harder to keep damp during dry weather. Also a heavier compost will give the pot more stability. Newly planted herbs will have sufficient nutrients for the first few weeks or growth, but may need feeding after this initial period. Seaweed is a good organic feed.
Large pots can have several varieties planted together, such as a central rosemary plant with smaller plants around the edge such as thymes, oregano, parsley, chives etc. Rosemary, sage and lavender also make good feature plants. Mint can be grown in containers, but must be grown in a pot of its own or it will take over the pot and smother other plants. Pots of mint need to be kept well watered. Container growing is also useful for keeping lemon balm in check. Some large deep rooting herbs such as fennel or lovage will need large deep pots if they are to achieve their potential.
Annual herbs such as coriander, dill and basil will need replacing every year. All perennial herb plants (such as rosemary, sage and thyme) will keep growing and will need pruning back in autumn. Simply use scissors or shears to cut off any flowers or long stems. Perennial clump forming herbs (such as chives, oregano, etc ) will also need dividing in spring. Dig up the clump and into 2 or more sections and replant one piece. The other pieces can be replanted elsewhere.
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