Growing Culinary Herbs in Small Spaces
Do you have a green thumb but you don’t have a backyard? Well there’s no need for wishful thinking, because you can grow your very own culinary herbs on your porch or balcony in a variety of containers. Even with the minimal amount of space, you can easily grow herbs such as: chives, thyme, rosemary, oregano, sage, or parsley. So, put zest into your culinary skills by using your own grown herbs. Herbs accentuate the flavor of salads, dips, pesto, meat and fish dishes, soups…just to cite a few possibilities. So what do you need to do to get ready? You’ll need to get your containers together, as well as good potting soil, and simple instructions for the novice gardener.
Containers: Just about whatever you can think of as an open container will serve as an adequate home for your herbs. It’s important that there are small holes at the bottom to let excess water seep through; otherwise the roots will rot. For great photo-inspired ideas, check out www.curbly.com . It is an excellent site that shows you how to creatively use different containers. It includes great photos of various small contained herb gardens. For example, they suggest using a dingy old BBQ and giving it new life as a living garden BBQ! There is a stunning photo of one on the balcony. For another take, there’s that old wood dresser and drawers that we thought only our pussy cats enjoyed hanging out in. Now your herbs will easily take root in your cozy drawers. Thyme works particularly well in drawers because they like to ‘hang around’ as they grow. There are visuals of buckets, metal cans and sieves, fruit and vegetable hangers, as well as a herb terrarium. There is a video http://youtu.be/3wDVdjiU14E which shows you how You can get so much from so little space. Turn your porch or balcony into a little green oasis.
Potting Soil: A good quality potting mix is somewhat porous which allows the roots to breathe. A premium potting soil includes peat moss, composted bark, and other products for optimum results. The soil should not be too dense or wet. Avoid potting soils that have pesticides which are not necessary for home-grown plants. As most of the plants mentioned here are Mediterranean, they prefer lots of sun, but the soil should be consistently moist but more on the dry side. The soil should drain itself of excess water within 7-10 seconds. There are various fertilizers that can be used, and composting products are usually included. For more info visit award winner: http://www.jonestopsoil.com and National plant wholesaler www.bonnieplants.com.
Instructions: The afore-mentioned video, introduces you to the strawberry jar, which is usually ceramic or clay. It instructs you how to pack the jar firmly but not too compacted, around a 2-inch perforated pipe which evenly distributes the water to all parts of this unique jar. At the bottom of the container leave a few inches of gravel for good drainage. For pests such as white flies or spider mites there are safe eco-friendly insecticides. When the weather turns cool in the fall, you can bring the herbs indoors near a sunny windowsill. Quarantine any plants that may harbor any hitch-hikers. As they are perennials, they will do well as they wait for the spring.
A Vertical Garden or Living Wall (oxygen - producing piece of art)
A convenient way to garden in cramped spaces is the vertical garden. These gardens can be installed indoors near a sunny window, at entryways, or on your patio wall. It is also ideal for those who live in apartments, since they can be placed on the balcony wall. Bricks, concrete blocks, wood or recycled wooden pallets are all suitable materials for building your oxygen-producing living green wall. A pallet, placed sideways against a wall or fence, reinforced with poles for balance also works well. For more tips, please visit award winner Wilson’s Garden Center http://gardencenterohio.com/ for home and garden tips.