Gardening in the Historic District

It’s still not too late to start a garden (plant some tomatoes, peppers and eggplant) but if you want to get the biggest bang for your effort, try growing herbs in containers.  I’m going to tell you why and then give you my top six herbs to grow in containers.  If you have space for a few pots on a small balcony or patio you could be self sufficient in herbs from spring through autumn.

My top six recommendations are rosemary, sage, thyme, chives, basil and parsley. These herbs are rewarding and easy to grow in containers.  Still, there are a few things to bear in mind for your potted herbs to reach their very best.

First, make sure you pick your herbs regularly during the growing season, and make sure you pick off the tips of each stem – about the top inch or two, just above a pair of leaves. This will allow two new shoots to grow from each stem, creating a fuller plant.

Secondly, feed all your herbs in containers with liquid seaweed while they are growing. This will give you strong, lush plants since liquid seaweed is packed with trace elements and minerals that will also help the herbs retain good flavor.

I find using a one gallon pots are a good size for most herbs, big enough to support decent-sized plants, but small enough to fit in a small space. You can grow herbs in smaller pots, but a gallon are a lot easier to look after, as small pots dry out quickly.

I’ve chosen these six herbs for how easy they are to grow in containers and for how useful and versatile they are in the kitchen.  You can start any of these from seed, but I suggest buying healthy plants at any garden center.

Basil – loves warmth.  It’s best grown in a warm, bright, sheltered spot.  Grow in well-drained soil and water in the morning.
Parsley – once established it will give you leaves for nearly two years before it flowers and dies.
Chives – only needs four or five hours of sun. Make sure it doesn’t dry out, as chives like damp soil.
Sage, Thyme and Rosemary – they don’t like wet roots, so grow in well-drained soil and take care not to over-water.

If you’d like some help or additional advice, don’t hesitate to contact me or come pick fresh herbs from the pots on our front sidewalk.

-Pat C.

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