Last week I posted some ‘before’ pics of a few projects we have on the go. One of them was to make a herb garden from some old concrete laundry tubs we found on the farm. CrashHubby has grown herbs before, but as he was busy with the fence, this was to be my little project. So I turned to a fellow blogger for some tips to crash test!
Kyrstie from A Fresh Legacy – a leaf from my garden might have a new blog, but she has a well established vegetable and herb garden. She has been kind enough to share some tips with me to get me started growing my own herbs at home.
Crash Test: Growing Herbs in Pots
A stretch of Melbourne’s hottest weather this summer, two hot cranky kids who like to ‘help’ by flinging out all the potting mix, a busy husband (which means I had to do some of the hard work!).
Kyrstie’s guide to growing fresh luscious herbs at home! Here we go . . .
1. Select Herbs that you like and will use
Kyrstie advises selecting according to the type of cooking that you do.
We, I mean, CrashHubby does a lot of cooking. I actually cook too from time to time ;). Here’s what I chose:
- Lavender (I use this in an awesome tart tartin, hmm pre quitting sugar days though – oops)
- Parsley (flat leaf Italian and curly)
- Lemon Verbena
- Basil (already had three plants going in a pot)
- Mint (again, already some in a pot
Selection of herbs, potting mix and scoria
2. Planting Guide:
- Select a sunny location that is close to the house.
Check! The laundry tubs are sitting on a north facing wall at the back door – just steps from the kitchen.
- Prepare the pots/tubs
This is actually my own step (gee aren’t I all professional and stuff?). Before I could plant in the tubs I had to drill holes in the bottom for drainage, cover them with mesh so the holes don’t clog up and then put down a free draining layer of gravel (I chose scoria – $6 for a bag from the local gravel type place around the corner). Drilling was really hard, even when CrashHubby had started some of the holes for me already. It shook me to my teeth!
- Prepare the soil for planting.
Kyrstie’s tip is to use a good quality potting mix if planting herbs in a pot, or ensure your soil is rich in nutrients. I did a bit of both as we had a lot of tub to fill! I made a mix of 2 bags of Brunnings EasyWetta Potting Mix, rich soil from an old garden bed and sand. It took two large wheel barrows of this mix to fill the four tubs and we still needed an extra bag of the potting mix to top them up and allow for settling.
- Plant your seedlings as per the label instructions for spacing between plants
Check. Well, kind of. OK, no, I did not follow correct instructions for planting. I will cull if I have to!
- Plant spreading plants in a pot (alone) eg: Mint, oregano
Oops again. I really should have printed Kyrstie’s tips and had them next to me when planting. Mint is ok as it is in its own pot. But I forgot about the oregano.
- Plant herbs with similar requirements together
This I got right, well, eventually! I put the Mediterranean herbs that can handle drier soil in a couple of the tubs and the ones that like a bit more water in another. Unfortunately I put the latter in the tub that gets the sun first and for the longest! My parsley got fried when we were away for the day. I had to do a switcheroo.
- Water seedlings once they are planted and water at least every second day, more frequently if the weather is hot
It has been really hot, and my parsley and dill suffered a bit. I will water their tub morning and night as the soil is really drying out.
- Cover with a net if birds are a problem in your area as they tend to demolish new seedlings quickly.
Not a problem yet, but I am a bit worried about our rampant possums. I will be ready with a net.
- Spread eggs shells around new plants to deter snails
I dare you snails. I have eggs and I’m not afraid to break them.
- Fertilise with Seasol or a similar product within a week of planting
I haven’t done this but will today – the weather is too hot not to.
- Monitor the progress of your plants often
Absolutely! I have to be super vigilant and watch out not just for scorching heat or rampant wildlife, but also CrashBoy digging in my garden with his new sandpit toys.
“CrashHubby – we need that sandpit, stat!”
Well, you’ve already had a sneak peek with the photo at the start of the post. So, do you want to see the rest of my herb garden? Of course you do!
I was going to paint the tubs, but decided against it in the end. I’m planning on adding extra colour along the front of the tubs with with Blue Chalk Sticks (a lovely succulent), or pots of bright flowers. Got any suggestions?
A big thank you to Kyrstie for setting this wee challenge for me!
A Fresh Legacy – A leaf from my garden is written by Kyrstie. Kyrstie is a mum to two little boys, Punky and Cuddles, she loves to cook – especially with her home grown herbs and vegetables. She has recently added chickens to her backyard and has many new kitchen and garden projects planned for this year.