Herb Gardening Can Be Simple and Rewarding!
Where would we be without herbs? It’s not a very appetizing thought. Our food would taste blander, our world would smell less pleasant and we would all be a lot less healthy.
For my wife Roxanne and me, herbs play an important part in our lives. We enjoy the subtle fragrance they add to our landscape. We love to snip fresh herbs just outside our kitchen door and experiment with new recipes. And we are beginning to learn more about how many herbs can make a positive difference to our health and well being.
Perhaps you are like many people I’ve met who like the IDEA of growing their own herbs, but for one reason or another they DON’T actually do it. Here are the three main reasons – or perhaps excuses – that I’ve heard for not getting started:
* “I don’t have enough space.”
* “I don’t want to disrupt my existing landscaping to add an herb garden.”
* “Herbs look so delicate. I’m sure I’d kill them off.”
Let’s take a look at those one by one. Firstly, you don’t need a lot of space in order to enjoy a fairly abundant supply of fresh herbs. In fact, you can enjoy your own herbs even if you live in a high-rise apartment with no more than a balcony!
Secondly, there’s no need to dedicate ANY of your precious soil specifically to herbs unless you want to, because herbs mingle well with your existing plants. And finally, most herbs are a lot hardier than you might think. In fact, some herbs (mint, for example) are like edible kudzu and are almost impossible to kill off!
However, let’s suppose, for whatever reason, a dedicated “herb garden” isn’t an option for you. I believe that I have the ideal solution: containers. In fact, containers actually have some advantages over ‘traditional’ herb gardens. The biggest benefit is that containers are mobile. You can move them around to take advantage of the sun or shade, or you can move them safely out of harm’s way when you’re expecting company on your deck or patio.
Go to one of those large “box” stores or a garden center and take a look at the various containers on display there. You’ll see terra cotta pots as well as light-weight plastic “look-alikes” and containers made of wood or clay. Your container-based mini herb garden can be very attractive and aesthetically pleasing as well as practical, so bear in mind where your containers will be located as you make your choice.
Small pots or containers can be grouped together to make an infinitely variable display, or you might want to place the pots in a wooden tray so you can easily lift up and move the entire bunch in one go. If a large container looks as if it might be too heavy for easy movement, look for “container dollies” that have small wheels or casters that allow you to push it around without too much effort.
Regardless of the container size or type you choose, planting your herbs is relatively simple. You should consider buying some pre-mixed soil specifically blended for container gardens. However, I know some folks prefer to use a cactus soil mix. Carefully transfer your new herbs to the container and moisten the soil. I recommend that you don’t over-water your herbs and you should let the soil become fairly, but not totally, dry before watering again.
And that’s pretty much all there is to do, other than monitor their exposure to the sun and move them out of the direct path of a heavy rainstorm. Every other month or so, you can add a little dose of a balanced fertilizer mixture if your herbs look like they need a pick-me-up.
Most herbs can cohabit with each other successfully, so feel free to mix different varieties, particularly if you’re using larger containers. Oregano, Rosemary, Mint, Sage, Parsley and Lavender will all grow happily side by side, as will many other varieties. If you have specific questions about herbs, I’ll be happy to respond personally if you send me an e-mail at email@example.com.
Question: Jimmie, my backyard is so steep we are simply not able to use it for anything. What’s the best way to make this area usable? Thank you for your time, Chelsie T. in Celina.
Answer: Hi Chelsie! You probably need to think in terms of one or two retaining walls to be constructed to create a tiered effect in your backyard for multilevel functional use. Perhaps one tier for aesthetic landscape, another tier for a grass play area for the kids and the last tier for your functional outdoor entertaining. Maybe you would like to have a sitting area there or an accent water feature? Maybe an outdoor kitchen or an outdoor fireplace? Obviously, every family has their own objectives and tastes but if you tier your steep backyard, you will have many more viable options. With a good designer, some amazing brainstorming, thinking about what fits your family’s needs and budget, the possibilities are simply endless! Until next time…Happy Gardening!!!
Send your landscaping and gardening questions to Jimmie Gibson Jr. at http://www.absolutelybushedlandscaping.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
Jimmie is a Prosper resident and the owner of Absolutely Bushed Landscaping Company, an award winning, family and veteran owned and operated business created in 1980 to provide the highest quality custom Outdoor Renovation available to homeowners in the Dallas Ft. Worth area.