Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Grow Your Own Herbs - No Garden, No Problem!

There are literally millions of people who could quite easily grow herbs whether they have a garden or not. All that is needed is a Terracotta pot or equivalent and to adhere with simple instructions to get guaranteed results. Once set up either in the garden, balcony or windowsill there will be a constant supply of herbs throughout the growing season for free.

The whole cost of this can be reduced further by not using terracotta but cheaper plastic pots. Also, if you know someone who already grows herbs you can take some to plant from them either as cuttings or whole plants. Many herbs take quite easily to their new homes this way.

You need a pot which has cup-shaped holes or better described as holes with lips. There is a good reason for this as plain holes in your terracotta are difficult, clumsy and messy to water. Generous protruding lips which catch the water and ensure it all drains into the terracotta. If you can't get hold of a lip-holed pot a good tip is to put a perforated plastic tube through the centre before packing the compost in the pot. This way you will have a central watering system that works just as effectively

Soil based compost is always going to be the best choice for terracotta, John Innes No. 2 or another similar gritty compost with soil added is a good alternative. This composition of soil is important for drainage and the compost won't shrink or dry out. The shelf life will be longer for your potted herbs as well as giving good health, better flavour, scent and all round condition.

When choosing your herbs try to pick out young, healthy and small-growing herbs. Another good tip is to look at the root ball. Unless it is smaller than the holes in the pots, plant them from the inside of the pot, this will avoid any damage the roots.

Broken pieces of brick, pebbles, glass or other hard non-toxic material waste should be place at the bottom of the pot, but at the same time giving a loose covering over the drainage hole.

The pot can now be filled with compost to just below the level of the first set of holes and then lightly tapped firm. Removing the plants from their containers, lay first root ball on the compost with the plant lying slanted. Tease the foliage and stem through the hole with one hand whilst at the same time guiding the root ball towards the inside of the pot with the other. Once the first level of holes have all got new herb residents, sprinkle in some more compost to settle in the herb roots. Make sure all the air pockets are filled with the compost. With one hand gently lift the foliage of the herb and with the other hand fill the cup or lipped hole with more compost firming in the plant when done.

This system should be repeated until all the levels are reached and filled with settle in herbs. A herb plant can now be planted in the top and the whole system watered with a watering can with a rose end. This will disperse the water into all the holes.

The next step is to just watch your herbs grow and make sure the compost doesn't dry out. That's it, well apart from picking a few harvests to eat. Heathier, infinitely cheaper and better tasting by a mile than anything you can buy in the shops.

If you liked this way of growing herbs you may want to find out about window boxes www.tipsnwrinkles.com



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