I often dreamed of having a beautiful perfect garden… with luscious greenery and bouncy blooms in all the colours of the rainbow. My biggest pride and joy was the vegetable garden – it overflowed with beautiful fresh veggies that I proudly picked early in the morning and laid down on the kitchen table… and letting them inspire the meals for the day….
Now I open my eyes, and wonder why there’s no such garden in sight! I finally have a house with a garden – isn’t that the foundation for a beautiful garden? Apparently not so. We’ve lived here over 4 years and believe me I tried each spring to grow something. Anything.
You see, our backyard has six large maple trees growing in it. Beautiful to hide from the burning sun in mid-july - yes! But not so beautiful to grow my dream garden. And the side yard has poor soil, clay really, and also no full sun for a beautiful vegetable garden like in my dreams. Bummer! I tried and experimented anyway…. only to have green tomatos in October – ya, no thanks.
All veggie plants need full sun. So what I finally resorted to do was to plant them in pots! And they’re not just growing – they’re thriving beautifully. I’m especially excited about my herb garden and my tomatoes. Well, that’s kind of all I have. There’s not that much room for pots either!
So I’m no gardener but I do like to be in the garden and I do like picking up beautiful fresh herbs to cook with and I do like a few tomatoes picked fresh for a summer lunch. I also love that I can teach my daughter about where food comes from and, although small, this little potted garden of mine is enough – you should have seen the excitement on her little face when she bit into that one little cherry tomato! Priceless ;)
I’m no crazy gardener – but there’s a few things I learned along the way. What’s also great is that if you are one of those that is also limited with growing conditions in your garden, or live in a building and happen to have a balcony – Yes! You can have a beautiful little garden of your own ;) Container gardening is just as good in the end ;)
Herb Garden Secret Tips
- Soil – use rich, preferably composted soil (you can see how I ditch my compost here). If you can’t have your own compost, find an organic garden centre in your area and grab some organic quality soil.
- Do not let certain herbs, like basil, grow into flower – this will cause the plant’s energy channel into seed production, the foliage will grow skimpy and so will your harvest. (Plus this inspires the plant to grow back bushier than ever.)
- So For bushier herbs – you need to pinch the top sprigs right off. This will strengthen the stem and you will boost new growth on top which will come up very quickly. So to pick off leaves, don’t be shy and don’t pick just leaves off the stem.
- Plant extra parsley, dill and fennel to attract swallowtail butterflies. If you have kids, this will be lovely to watch the caterpillars develop into butterflies. (but they do eat up the plants – but well worth it ;)
- Place your herb garden pots close to your kitchen so it’s convenient to grab some fresh picked herbs to sprinkle over a breakfast sandwich or just about any meal of the day. And let’s not forget that fresh sprig of mint to dress up your desserts and your lemonade!
- All they need is water and sun – do not forget to provide that to them daily and you’ll have a beautiful herb garden. It’s best to give a good watering in the evening as the plant will replenish itself and strengthen for the next day. If it’s a rainy day – let nature do its thing. If it’s a hot and sunny day, (or you forget to water at night) and the containers dry up faster – water them as soon as you remember in the early morning. If you miss the morning coolness and have to water mid-day – be sure to water only the soil and not to get any water on the leaves, as this might burn them and damage the delicate leaves.
- With young plants, leave them alone for a bit so they strengthen a bit and they’re not picked daily as this might stress the plant’s energy.
For Container Herb Gardens:
- Same tips apply, but the best reason why a container herb garden is actually preferable is that you can move the pots around! Depending on daylight’s changing time the sun may not be its brightest now as it was in the spring – with containers, you can move them around to the sunniest spots throughout the season. I’ve already moved mine twice ;)
For Windowsill Gardening:
- For windowsill gardening – it’s preferable not to use garden compost as you could transport some bugs over into your home. Go to your organic/ natural garden centre and pick up a bag or two of a good quality soil that is suitable for herbs. Unless you can hang your container on the outside of the window – check for permission and make sure it’s safe so they don’t fall.
- You need full sun on your windowsill throughout the day. If you have weak light coming through – sorry, but your plants might live but they may not thrive as they would if the sunshine was right on them. That’s the difference between house plants and herbs inside the home. Most house plants require indirect sunlight, where as local herbs require direct sunlight. But do try, and see how they grow ;)
Fresh herbs are super exciting in the summer season! Fresh herbs don’t just make a dish more fancy when plating – herbs are packed with amazing health benefits – purifying and oxygenating to the blood and rich in various vitamins and minerals.
My favourites that I’m growing this year are : green and purple basil, thyme, oregano, parsley… and my favourite chocolate mint! Yup, it smells like chocolate! ;) These babies just add a new dimension to my cooking pleasure…. and just wait till you see what I’ve done with the chocolate mint! ;)
Other herbs that are wonderful are : savory, oregano, marjoram, sage, dill…. what else should I grow for next year?
Growing a herb garden is a beautiful experience… and now that you know I pull it off with no garden – you have no excuse. Container gardening is new to me, but there’s no crazy science behind it. It’s too easy not to try. I used clay containers that were gifted to me on their way to the curb… and I was happy to use up my composted soil for these containers. I remember how fun it was picking up the herbs with my daughter back in the spring… and now it’s really fun watching her pick off mint leaves and eating them right off the bush ;)
Do you have a herb garden? Can you add some tips to the list? xo
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