Thursday, June 23, 2011

Container Herb Garden

Just because I live on a farm does not mean I can't appreciate a nice container garden! We have an old whiskey barrel that sits atop a tree stump just off the kitchen porch - the perfect place for an easy access herb garden. I also refer to this as "Edie's garden," as I have found that if she helps out with the garden, she's more likely to eat what comes from it.

Container gardening is a great sustainable solution for those with limited space (or those with a lot of space who just want easy access). While you can use any combination of containers that works for you, I like to have one big container for all my herbs (you would be surprised how many herb plants can fit!). Here are the steps:

1. Choose a container that is large enough to hold all of your herbs (go for something eco-friendly, like a BPA-free recycled plastic composite, terra cotta, or even vintage whiskey barrel (it's food safe!)). You don't want anything too heavy, unless you are going to plant it in place.

2. Create a good drainage system in your container by drilling small holes in the bottom of the pot (some might come with drainage holes) or lining the bottom of the container with one inch of rocks or gravel.

3. Fill the container within two inches from the top with a good, organic potting soil. Boost the soil's performace with an organic vegetable fertilizer (follow manufacturer's instructions for proper soil-to-fertilizer ratios).

4. Lay out your plants until satisfied with the placement. Using your hands, a dibble, or a small garden trowel, dig holes for the plants and place in the soil (be sure to scarify, or loosen and break up, the roots of the plants). Pat some potting soil around the base of the plant to secure it. Taller plants (like dill and rosemary) should be planted in the center or back of the container, with shorter or trailing herbs (like mint or thyme) on the sides or front. Water thoroughly.

I keep the garden marker with the plants to help identify them

That's it! Easy, right?! Be sure your container herb garden gets plenty of sunlight and water it whenever the soil becomes dry (usually everyday to every-other day, depending on the weather). In my whiskey barrel, I planted dill, rosemary, Mexican oregano, sage, common thyme, lemon thyme, pineapple mint, spearmint, peppermint, apple mint, marjoram, and tarragon. In the empty spaces, I planted strawberries. Afterall, this is Edie's garden, and she really likes picking strawberries. I planted basil, parsley, horehound and catnip in the "big" garden, but really enjoy having herbs right off the kitchen for quick additions to recipes.

If you try to create a container herb garden, send me a picture or a link! I would love to see it. This is a great way to make the most of a small space, perk-up cooking, and introduce kids to gardening.


The Tiny Team said...

Yes!!! I just started one! I see your dill, mine is sky high, too! I suppose I should find a dill recipe fast! Does it get bitter when they flower?


Deanna (Silly Goose Farm) said...

Hi Amy! Thanks for stopping by. No, flowering doesn't necessarily make dill bitter, but it does mature and has a less delicate flavor. The yellow "flower" heads are edible and can be dried. Use the seeds for pickling, dips, and other seasoning. I will post a recipe for dill-onion bread soon, and for dill pickles once my cukes come in.

Sarah said...

Oh wow I love your herb garden. And its even in a wine barrel! Looks great. Thanks for sharing this. :)

Lynn said...

What a great idea!! I love that it still looks so rustic and you could really bring a little "farming" anywhere despite where you live.

Unknown said...

I've often planted zinnias in my Container vegetable gardening but I think I need to add a few more annuals to the beds! I can picture the abundant blooms now! Thanks for the idea . .

weightloss said...

I love herb gardens. An herb garden is your healthy way to cooking and eating. Cook with herbs instead of other high calorie ingredients and you will cut calories and slim down.

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