Herbs for Urbs
My love affair with growing things to eat most definitely begins with herbs. And, if like me, you don’t have much space, you can still design your very own lovely lush herb garden by just covering the space you have with pots and containers ☺ Apparently, more herbs are grown in containers than anywhere else, particularly the ones used in cooking. So even if you have only a little windowsill, balcony, or stairway, as long as there’s plenty of light, you can still have a great time and loads of fun growing your own.
It might seem obvious but try to grow them as near the cooker as you can so that whenever the recipe (or your fancy) takes you, you can just reach out and grab a pinch of this and that. Marjoram, oregano, chives, rosemary, mint, sage and thyme will all thrive in containers and once you’ve cracked the basics you can move on up to more exotic things.
Sun’s the word
If you have a sunny spot, group the sun lovers such as basil, sage, rosemary and thyme together, grouped in different pots, or even planted in the same pot if space is really at a premium.
My kitchen door is in an east facing alley up the side of the flat, so oregano, parsley, lovage and lemon balm will be easy pickings for me ☺ Think I’m going to have a really smart back door, because bay also grows well in sun and partial shade and I’m quite fancying one of these half standard bay trees. Actually I’m quite tempted to get two, because they have a third off right now ☺ ☺
Mint grows well in the shade and is perfect for containers, because, quite honestly, it’s a horrid thug on open ground and will easily take over and if you’re interested here’s a list of ten herbs that will grow in some shade at least.
Special Offer: Herb Collection – 6 culinary herbs, each grown in a 1 litre pot (It’s a kinda lucky dip so you’ll get 6 from the following list: Mint, sage, chives, thyme, flat leaved parsley, curly leaved parsley, rosemary, lavender and lemon verbena). See here for more info ☺
Whatever you’re growing, including herbs, the first step to getting it right is to choose the right pot. It’s easier to get good growing conditions in larger pots, but they get flipping heavy if you need to move them around. (Not always a bad thing as it’s how I actually met my current man, who lived in the flat upstairs!)
Not surprisingly, there are pros and cons of the material for the containers: terracotta looks great for herbs and as it’s quite heavy tends not to blow over or off windowsills too easily, but make sure it’s frost free guaranteed, or you’ll be heartbroken when a much-loved pot cracks over the winter. This very stylish Tuscan looking one would be perfect for an all-in-one herb garden as it will give you plenty of room, and I rather like this similar smaller terracotta kitchen garden pot, perfect if you have a little less space ☺
Plastic and fibre glass pots are a lot lighter than clay, so if you’re no good at humping them about this is a decent alternative. They don’t dry out so quickly either and tend to be less expensive. Flavour of the month are galvanized planters and windowboxes which look absolutely fab against the lush greenery of herbs, the downside is that the roots of the plants can get a little overheated, but I’ve been growing herbs in an old French galvanized farm trough for a few years now and I just made sure it had good drainage and water it regularly.
Last, but not least, wood is a jolly good option for growing herbs as it insulates the roots from the heat in the summer and the frosts in the winter. Best to put a plastic liner in if you can, as it will extend the life of the planter.