Potential Projects

Monday, May 9, 2011

Patio Herb Garden

Hello again friends!  My apologies for a long absence.  First I lost the charger for my camera.  Which I stubbornly refused to replace for 2 months.  Then I found a badillion and one things to do besides blogging.  But I made this cute little herb pot, and took a few pictures, and thought you might like it.  That's right, dear reader, I missed you.

Growing herbs on your deck can be easy and fun.  I love being able to add fresh herbs to a recipe without paying $3 for a silly little box of herbs at the grocery store.  In fact these herb starts (which often have even more herbs than those silly boxes), cost anywhere from $1.50 to $3!  But they'll last all summer, and maybe into winter!  

I heard about growing herbs in a strawberry pot a while ago.  In fact, I first made an herb pot like this about 8 years ago.   This year I decided to dump out all of my soil and start fresh.  Some years I've been really lucky and had some of my herbs last all winter (during mild winters when I've kept my herb pot close to my house where I figure it's a bit warmer and more sheltered).

If you'd like to make yourself an herb pot (or make one as a gift!--that would be truly lovely!),  here's some basics:

Start with a basic strawberry pot.  I bought mine 8 years ago for about 20 bucks.  You may be able to find them for free on Craigslist, or ask around at the office or church.  Often times people like the idea of growing strawberries, but give up after the first year.  Just take that pot off their hands!
Empty Strawberry pot and some potting soil

Then you'll need to buy some herb starts.  For various reasons, in the course of a week I ended up at 2 local nurseries (Flower World, and Molbaks) and then also spotted some starts at my local fruit stand.  I love all 3 of these places, and I also recommend supporting your local plant sale.  Often times they're fundraisers for local non-profits.  And we know I love those.  

Once you have your pot and your starts, you'll need soil.  I dumped out the old dirt from my pot into a large empty pot (you could use a bucket) and mixed it with new potting soil, and some compost.  I also added some water to make the soil moist.  Once I'd mixed it up fairly well I added soil to the bottom of the strawberry pot to bring it up to the first level of openings.  
Hello Thyme

My herb starts were a lot bigger than the openings, so I gently pulled soil off from the root ball until the herb fit into the opening.  I then added a little soil around the herb from the front and the back.  I also added some slow-release fertilizer behind the root ball.

View from the top as I'm adding fertilizer

Keep adding plants!  Once you have the bottom layer all planted, add more soil until you reach the second layer.

I planted Oregano, Marjoram, Thyme, Sage, Dill, and Rosemary.  I'm going to plant (from seed) the entire top of the strawberry pot with Basil.  That still left me 3 openings.  In the past I've planted other herbs (mint, cilantro, lemon thyme, thai basil, etc).  This year I was tempted by all the varieties of strawberries that my local fruit market was selling, so I decided to buy 3 and give my strawberry pot a layer of tradition.  

There you go!  Easy and fun herb garden.  No need for a big garden space.  Have fun!


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