Growing Herbs

Growing herbs has to be one of the great pleasures of modern day gardening. For centuries these versatile little plants have been grown for their beauty, fragrance but above all for their flavour. Herbs are very easy plants to grow and will thrive in most soils if given a sheltered, free-draining, sunny spot.
   While in the past it was popular to grow herbs directly in the ground, either in a specific herb patch or in a border between other plants, in recent times there has been a shift toward growing them in containers. There are many reasons why growing herbs in containers has become popular. These include the fact that pots can be placed anywhere around the garden to fill an empty space or to get the benefit of full sun. Pots of herbs can also be placed near the kitchen door for convenient harvesting during cooking. Container gardening can also be of benefit to people of limited mobility as pots placed at waist height will eliminate the need for kneeling and bending.
   When selecting a container for your herbs it is worth remembering that the size of the pot is almost more important than the type. Pretty much any container is suitable for growing herbs as long as it is a good size and has plenty of drainage holes. Traditionally terracotta pots were recommended for growing herbs but plastic or wooden ones work just as well. When planting up your herb pot, good quality compost should be mixed with some grit to help drainage. You should then add a little Osmocote slow release fertilizer to this mixture to keep your herbs fed all season long.
   Any small, slow growing herb will look good growing in a pot and when selecting herbs for your containers probably the best rule of thumb is to think of the foods that you like best and then plant herbs that compliment these foods. If you are fond of Italian cooking you could try a pot with, basil, sage, thyme, oregano, rosemary, chives and parsley. For seafood a combination of parsley, dill, basil, lemon thyme and chives usually works well.
© Copyright, Highland Landscapes, Letterkenny, 2008.