Several years ago, I decided to plant my own container herb garden. It was not only nice to have fresh herbs available but great fun to watch them grow. It’s a wonderful experience for your kids too.
There is just something about planting seeds or seedlings and watching them grow that is rewarding.
Planting herbs in containers not only adds to the patio décor but it allows you to bring them inside in case of a cold snap. However, container gardening does require you to water almost daily in the summer. If you travel a lot or just don’t think you will remember to water daily, then I suggest you plant them directly in the ground in a shady spot. Or install an automatic watering system.
I have graduated from containers to an herb garden in my backyard and I really look forward to spring planting time each year.
Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary
I find that herbs do best in a fairly shady spot that gets filtered light through the tree leaves. My herb garden always consists of rosemary, basil, sage, parsley, tarragon, oregano, thyme, dill and cilantro.
If you are just beginning, plant a rosemary bush. They are extremely hardy and you will love the smell as you brush by the plant. Rosemary does well in sunny places and doesn’t need as much water as herbs like basil do. But beware, rosemary grows fast so allow plenty of room for it to grow. Rosemary is wonderful on lamb, in hummus, and in stews.
I have not had much luck with cilantro. It does well for a while and then dies. Do you have any secrets for growing cilantro? Share in the comments below.
My favorite herb is basil. It adds such a wonderful flavor to just about any food especially: margherita pizza, pesto and caprese salad. Basil grows fairly tall, so if you have a garden, you will want to plant it in the back of the garden behind the other herbs. Basil needs lots of water too.
What are your favorite herbs?
The Seasons for Seasoning
Depending on your climate, it is best to wait until you are absolutely sure that there will be no frost before you plant. If a frost sneaks up on you, cover the herbs with a sheet the night before the expected frost and remove it the next day when the sun comes up. Don’t forget to uncover it in the morning or you will have dead herbs!
This is when container gardens can be a better option. You can quickly bring the containers indoors in case of cold weather.
Pests and Other Critters
One of the difficulties of herb gardening is pests. I hate those big caterpillars that eat my parsley and the snails that eat my basil.
Sometimes you can just pick the caterpillars off and they never return. Maybe they turn into butterflies, I don’t know. You will be amazed how much those suckers can eat in a day!
Not wanting to use chemical pesticides that might get absorbed into the herbs or harm my pets, I searched for a natural method to keep the pests away. I have tried various natural methods involving coffee grounds and even beer (!) to get rid of the snails. I think the snails just drank the beer and invited all their snail friends to the party.
I finally found that a mixture of Cedarwood Essential Oil and water sprayed directly on the plants and in the surrounding area keeps the snails away. It needs to be reapplied every couple of weeks. I didn’t discover this trick until after they had eaten my dill and cilantro 🙁
What works in your garden to keep pests away?
I haven’t had any trouble with deer or rabbits eating my herbs. Vegetables, yes, but not herbs. I read that they don’t want to eat the herbs because the strong aroma would make them more noticeable to predators. Smart Bambi and Thumper!
Here’s your simple change for the day: Start with rosemary. Plant tender herbs in a shady spot. Spray with Cedarwood oil for pest control.
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