May 10, 2010

Growing Herbs in Containers

I've grown herbs in containers and in my landscape for years. I love picking fresh Rosemary or Basil and adding it fresh to my recipes.

I grow Basil, Chives, Mint and Thyme in pots and Lavender, Rosemary, Chamomile and Sage in my landscape. I grow Thyme as a ground cover as well as in the pots. This year I added Stevia to a mixed container and wish I had purchased more of it. It is a wonderful sweetener.




I've also been a fan of Mike McGroarty of freeplants.com for years too. I receive his newsletter weekly and the one that came this week was very timely for this post. Matter of fact, Mike said pretty much what I would have said myself so I have re-posted it here.


Growing and Preserving Herbs

Fresh herbs can turn an ordinary meal into an extraordinary
culinary experience. You can easily grow your own herbs at
home, even if you have limited space for plants.


Herbs can be grown in the vegetable garden, in a flowerbed,
in their own garden bed, in pots on a balcony, or indoors
beside a sunny window. Herbs generally are not fussy plants.


Most herbs prefer to grow in a sunny location in well-drained
soil. Few herbs will grow well in compacted or soggy soil.
If your garden has soil that is hard, compacted clay or if it
retains standing water after a rainfall, you may wish to grow
herbs in a raised bed or in pots.


If you must grow herbs in pots, make sure that the pots provide
ample drainage, and use a good quality potting soil. Herbs in
pots will need to be watered more than herbs growing in the
ground, but be careful to not allow the soil to remain soggy.

Herbs are not heavy feeders and generally don't need a lot of
fertilizer. Herbs grown in containers will need more fertilizer
than those grown in the ground, but don't get carried away with
fertilizer even for container-grown herbs.


Most herbs dry very well for storage. If you grow more herbs
than you can use fresh, you might consider drying some for
later use.

To dry herbs, gather several stems together in a small bundle.
Remove a few of the leaves near the base of the stems to make
the stems easier to bundle together, then secure the stems with
a small rubber band. Hang the bundle of herbs to dry in a cool
place out of direct sunlight.


Individual herb leaves can also be spread out on a screen in an
airy room out of direct sunlight. Turn the leaves daily so
they dry evenly, and store them in an airtight jar.


Some herbs freeze well for storage, and will retain their flavor
and bright color better than dried herbs. Parsley and chives
freeze particularly well. To freeze chives or parsley, first
snip or chop them to the size you generally use in recipes.
Spread out the chopped herbs on a baking sheet and place the
sheet in the freezer for a few hours. Frozen herbs can be stored
within freezer bags or small containers.


The ideal time to harvest any herb is in the morning just as the
dew has dried from the leaves. For the most flavor, harvest herbs
just before the plants begin to flower. Do not harvest more than
one third of the plant at one time.

For even more details about growing and preserving herbs, go to
http://freeplants.com/herbs.html

6 comments:

Appalachian Feet said...

What a cute herb sign and beautiful pots! I hope you have great harvests this season. :)

Cianoy said...

Hi there! I'm a big fan of herbs container gardening too. I have basil, mint, gotu kola, lavender and more!

KMG said...

Cianoy, very funny post on your site. keep trying something is bound to grow!

b said...

Growing Herbs is delightful, what a excellent resource this is for picking what plants to choose to grow in your own Herb Garden Gift, I will certainly recommend this post to fellow herb enthusiasts!

Cianoy said...

Hello there again! Well I just want to share that a couple of plants finally succeeded in my seedling bed. ;-) How's your rosemary doing? Mine has some brown leaves down at the bottom. I'm not sure what to do with those.

KMG said...

My Rosemary is doing great. I would not worry too much about the brown at the bottom. Sometimes Rosemary sheds a few needles. Don't over water it though, most Rosemary plants like dry well drained soil.