QUESTION: I want to grow herbs for cooking, but we don’t have space in the yard. Can herbs do okay growing in pots?
Grow three types of basil for an attractive container combination.
Many herbs can grow very well in containers, and if your “garden” space is a deck or a condominium balcony, it’s the best way to have fresh herbs at your doorstep. The things you need to guarantee success are good growing medium, ample sunlight, and plenty of water. You can sow seeds, but transplants get the garden off to a faster start.
Begin with the soil – and by that I don’t mean the dirt you dig up in the yard, but a soilless potting mix, which is lighter and less likely to become compacted in the container. Members of the Herb Society of Nashville recommend a mix that is heavy with peat. Slow-acting organic fertilizer can also be added.
After you fill the pot with growing medium and the herb transplants of your choice (more on that in a minute), find a spot on the deck or balcony that gets several hours of sunlight – at least four to six — a day. After it’s planted, the challenge of keeping a garden pot growing is making sure it gets enough water. At mid-summer, when days are hot and dry, pots dry out quickly and often need to be watered every day.
The container itself is up to you; almost anything that will hold potting mix and drain well can be used as a planter for herbs. In fact, a variety of types of containers may make an interesting arrangement. Consider baskets, bowls, an old wheelbarrow – anything that holds a moderate amount of soil and a few plants (drill holes in a container that doesn’t drain naturally). Of course, traditional pots are fine, too.
Mint is a good choice for a container herb garden.
As for what to grow: Basil, chives, dill, mint, oregano, parsley (curled and Italian), sage and thyme all can grow well in containers. Cilantro also does well, but you should remember that it is a cool-season herb that goes to seed quickly when the weather turns hot. Grow them in individual pots, or consider some container combinations: rosemary sage and chives; parsley, basil and thyme; mint, basil and dill are all good choices for container herb gardens.
For readers in and around the Nashville area, this is a good time to mention a couple of excellent herb sales coming up: the Herb Society of Nashville’s annual herb sale is April 20 at the Tennessee State Fairground Sports Arena Building. The First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville Herb & Craft Fair is April 27. More info on both those events is below.
Garden events in Middle Tennessee
April 6: Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee plant sale 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Tennessee State Fairgrounds Sports Arena Building. Hundreds of varieties of perennials, natives, grasses, vines, groundcovers, small shrubs and more. http://www.ppsmt.org.
April 12 – 14: Trails & Trilliums, guided hikes, wildflower walks, native plant sales, speakers, workshops and children’s events held at the historic Monteagle Sunday School Assembly Grounds in Monteagle, Tenn. and sponsored by the Friends of South Cumberland State Park. Keynote address by David Haskell, author of the award-winning book The Forest Unseen, April 13 during the Wine & Wildflowers event. General admission is $10, and a $20 donation provides entry to all hikes and workshops and the Gardens Gone Wild event. For a complete schedule, visit trailsandtrilliums.org.
April 13: Spring Beauty at Shelby Bottoms Nature Center: Learn to use flowers, garden herbs and other natural ingredients to make facials and other treatments for skin and hair. 2 – 3 p.m., for ages 13 and older. Call (862-8539) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org) to register.
April 13: Williamson County Master Gardeners’ Bloom N Garden: One-day plant sale at Carnton Plantation in Franklin. Annuals, herbs, daylilies, trees, shrubs will be available, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Free admission; nominal fee for a guided tour of the garden at Carnton. Learn more at www.wcmga.net.
April 16: Perennial Plant Society of Middle Tennessee meets at Cheekwood. Refreshments at 6:30 p.m., program at 7 p.m. Speaker is Barbara Wise, author of Container Gardening For All Seasons, on “Planting Beautiful Containers and More.” The meeting is open to the public. www.ppsmt.org.
April 16: Orchid Society of Middle Tennessee meets at 7 p.m. at Cheekwood’s Botanic Hall. Speaker is Barry Jones, topic is “Compact to Miniature Orchids.” Learn more about the Orchid Society of Middle Tennessee at www.tnorchid.com.
April 20: Herb Society of Nashville Herb Sale: Herb favorites and hard-to-find varieties of annual and perennial herbs and plants for companion planting. New this year: a square-foot gardening display and handmade pottery markers by Roy Overcast. 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at the Tennessee State Fairground Sports Arena Building. Free admission; $5 parking fee at the Fairgrounds. To learn more: www.herbsocietynashville.org.
April 20 – 21: The Skillery Grow Down: A weekend of gardening classes and workshops presented in partnership with Hands On Nashville’s Urban Agriculture Program. Events are held at HON’s Urban Farm in South Nashville and at various locations throughout Nashville. For a complete schedule, registration and fee details, visit www.TheSkillery.com.
April 27: First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville Herb & Craft Fair: Herb plants, native and heirloom tomato plants; handmade soaps, pressed-flower cards, garden calendars, jewelry; homemade sweet and yeast breads, spice mixes, gourmet vinegars, mustards, chutneys, jams, jellies and more. 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. at First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville, 1808 Woodmont Blvd. www.firstuunashville.org/herbfair for more details.
Filed under: Container gardens, Garden Events, Herbs, Uncategorized | Tagged: basil, chives, cilantro, dill, Herbs in containers, parsley, Rosemary, sage, thyme | Leave a Comment »