The Best Way of Growing Herbs in Containers

Guest writer: Jack Grant

Plants or even herbs can be planted in different ways. They can be planted in a container and placed it inside the house or plant it directly in the soil of your garden.

Whichever way you will use in planting herbs, their requirement for survival are just the same to the other plants.

Herb growers or even plant growers should always bear in their minds that all kinds of plants have their three basic needs for their survival. One of these three needs is sunlight. Herbs require a huge amount of sun, so if you plan to grow them indoors, you must have a location that receives direct sunlight for much of the day. The sunlight directly affects the growth of plants. Another need of herb is the soil. Use a good quality potting soil that drains well, but also holds moisture, so that the herbs will not be exposed to large variations in moisture level. And the last need of herb for them to grow in their best way is water. Just like humans, herbs also need water as a source of their energy. They should be watered regularly to maintain their moisture and good quality of growth. But avoid the roots of the herbs from being soggy for they might penetrate your flooring inside the house.

Growing herbs in a container makes it easy for you to move them anywhere in the house. It is as handy as you all wanted. Annual herbs can be planted in a container and placed it inside the house but perennial herbs grow at its best when planted outside the house especially during summer.

Other herbs should be stayed outside even before the first frost because these types of herbs like mint, chives, and tarragon form firmer and fresher growth after it is introduced to a light frost.

All herbs can be grown in containers but some herbs do better then others. Mint is an herb that needs to be contained or it will take over the garden. Over all it is fairly easy to maintain an indoor herb garden. Growing herbs in container keeps the herbs handy and within reach anytime you need them for cooking.

With these tips listed above, you will be able to care for your herbs and ensure a healthy plant. You should also include periodic light feeding and yearly re-potting for optimum health of the herbs. You will also have to remember to replant annuals each year and move perennials outdoors when needed. Plus, if you growing herbs in container use your herbs as much as you want as well as harvest them occasionally. It is no secret that pruning plants encourages new growth.

With these tips I have given, you are now ready to have your own herbs in a container.

Before buying anything anything online, make sure you check Jack Grants’ excellent free report on Growing Herbs In Containers , and Home Herb Garden Ideas.

Choosing The Best Plants For Your Garden

Many times we buy plants on impulse then find there is nowhere in the garden that really suits them. Before buying plants carefully examine your garden to see how much sun and shade it gets, whether the soil is well drained or waterlogged and whether your aspect is sheltered or windswept.

You’ll then be equipped to go and buy the best plants for your situation; shade-loving plants for the sheltered areas, sun-lovers for the warm spots, drought-resistant plants for the parched areas which may be either sunny or shaded, and swamp plants for the poorly-drained parts.

But wait! Test your soil first, to determine the pH level of your soil and what kind of nutrients you need to add, if any. Is the soil acid or alkaline? Most plants prefer soil that is slightly acidic, but there are some that must have alkaline soil to grow. You can alter the soil’s pH level, but it’s much easier to simply plant for the soil you have.

Now you are ready to plant. Well – almost. Will you plant in groups or singly? If you buy ‘one of everything’ your garden may seem rather spotty. Group plantings are organized, harmonious and you can vary the color for interest.

Before planting out, place your chosen plants around the garden bed in their pots to see how they will look. Re-arrange them until you are satisfied. Grouping plants in sets of threes or fives usually looks better than planting in groups of even numbers.

Be sure that you have an interesting combination of colors and textures of plants. Tall plants should go to the back or the centre if your garden will be viewed equally from all sides. Try to keep your plants away from trees. The roots of trees are fiercely competitive and will steal all the nutrients and moisture meant for your flowers.

The right color scheme is one way to maintain the harmony in your garden. Imagine the color of the flowers when they are in bloom. Some colors may clash with others, but can still be planted side-by-side if they have a different blooming season. Foliage color is also important. Many flower plants have silver, grey or purplish foliage that is just as attractive as the flower. This means that they are still attractive well past the blooming season and so have added value.

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How to Make Indoor Plant Soil

Garden soil is for sale most months of the year, even in my cold area, but I tend to repot a lot of plants and start cuttings or seeds so I make my own soil. You do need a certain mix for your indoor plants and indoor gardens. When you use garden soil indoors it tends to turn hard.

Houseplants can’t thrive in cement-like soil. They need sufficient drainage and aeration. Tough soil will also tends to stunt the plants roots. Houseplants also need nutrients to grow healthy and strong.

With a few materials, you can easily make your own indoor plant soil.

Mix together two quarts of clean sand, topsoil and peat moss in a bucket. Mix in 1/2-cup charcoal and 1/2 cup perlite.

Stir in just enough water to make the indoor plant soil damp. Place the soil into an old, large roasting pan. I picked up such a pan at an auction. It’s my “make a mess pan.”

Level out so the soil is not more than four inches deep. This gives you an even cooking depth. If your mix is deeper than 4 inches, divide it into two pans.

Preheat the oven to 180 F. Next place a potato down deep into the center of the pan. It should be completely covered with soil. Cover the pan tightly with aluminum foil.

Make a small hole toward the center of the foil, but away from the potato. Place a meat thermometer through the hole and into the soil.

Place the roasting pan of soil into the oven. When the meat thermometer reaches 180 F, set the oven timer for 30 minutes.

Remove the pan and check the potato. If it’s cooked done, that means the heat of the oven passed through the soil successfully. Your indoor plant soil is now sterilized. Allow it to cool before you use it.

This may seem like a lot of effort, roasting your soil. But you need to kill any disease and you need to do it at a moderate even temperature. Too high of a temperature will kill good soil properties.

I have made soil for years. It extends my supply of planting matter and I have very healthy seedlings and plants.

Notes: It’s even wise to precook the soil you buy in a garden center. It occasionally carries bugs and dormant seeds.

Once you have a feel for creating your own soil you can add a little fresh compost to the mix for freshening soil in planters or feeding new seedlings .

Create your own Holiday Centerpiece

Flowers add to the holiday holidays and parties that we have. Here are directions for an easy to make centerpiece. The arrangement is in red, white and pine giving it the Christmas look.

What I like about the centerpiece is the use of hardy flowers that last. Carnations and cushion mums stand up in arrangements so that you will be able to enjoy the flowers for a week or more.

You may also have family ornaments or other valued items that you can add to the centerpiece or set nearby that will bring family tradition to your arrangement.

I often will mist an arrangement to help it last a little longer. To do this I place the arrangement on a towel and mist lightly. When it has a chance to dry I will replace it on a table.  If you have bows you may want to remove them when misting or cover them.

This is a basic arrangement form and can be used for other holidays by changing colors, flowers or the centerpiece container.

Tips:

  1. Find containers or floral trays at garden sales.
  2. Choose flowers that have a long life. Cutting flowers are best for floral displays.
  3. Keep watered.
  4. If your taking to a party or giving as a gift, keep covered well if you going outdoors in the cold and use a nice container or added nick nac to keep after the arrangement is finished.
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