Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Growing Herbs in a Container Garden

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Whether you are a new or experienced gardener, growing herbs is one of the most satisfying ways to start your garden every year. They grow easily and quickly in a variety of conditions, so you can enjoy fast results and see the fruit of your labor. No matter how much or little space you have, you can start container gardening with herbs today.

Herbs that Grow Well in Container Gardens
You can grow just about any herb in your container garden, but some herbs definitely thrive more than others. Consider these hardy growers:

•    Chives: Chives are so much like grass that it's no surprise that they grow quickly! They do well in shade or sun.
•    Basil: Once established, basil doesn't have intense water needs like other herbs.
•    Tarragon: Tarragon does not need as much water as other herbs, making it ideal for new gardeners.
•    Marjoram: Marjoram is one of few herbs that grows well in cold weather.

Choosing a Container
It's important to choose a container that fits your intended space. You can start a container garden on your porch, hanging from pots in your yard, or even in your windowsill. There are a variety of containers you can use—you don't even have to spend money on containers! These are some possible options:

•    Ceramic planters are often large enough to hold multiple herbs
•    Yogurt or margarine containers that have holes cut into the bottom
•    Windowsill planters
•    Mason jars with holes drilled into the bottom
•    Old ice cream buckets with slits cut into the bottom

Seeds or Plants?
You can begin your container garden with already-growing herb plants or herb seeds. What you choose depends on your experience level and how much time you have. It can take a while to get herb seeds thriving and growing, so if you want usable herbs as fast as possible, consider starting with plants. However, seeds are often much less expensive than flourishing herbs.

Whether you start with seeds or plants, it's important to get them established in your soil system. You should fill your container with enriched soil mixture. If you have seeds, stick your finger down to the first knuckle in the soil. Deposit a couple seeds in this hole and cover them with soil. Repeat until the seeds are gone. If you are using plants, dig a hole deep enough to cover the plant's roots. The plants should stand up on their own if they are planted well.

Nurturing Your Garden
In general, herb gardens are hardier than flower or vegetable gardens. You will want to check their moisture levels daily and water them as needed, but they may need less watering than other types of plants.

Once your plants start growing, you can simply cut off leaves when they're fully grown. The rest of the plant will continue growing. As long as your herb garden has enough warmth and water, you'll have fresh herbs to enjoy!

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