Being able to grow plants is a very rewarding process. Many people enjoy having large gardens and growing a variety of things. But the truth is that most of us don’t have the luxury of having the time and space to tend to a large garden.
Some are lucky enough to have a patio or balcony on which a few potted plants can be grown. Thankfully, we can use that little bit of space to our advantage and grow a few basic plants. Herbs can be a lot of fun to grow, and extremely useful if you are a keen cook. While herbs can be more demanding of conditions to grow, most are easy to grow and tend, so they also make good plants for beginning gardeners.
The first thing you want to do is choose the kinds of herbs you want to grow. If you are growing herbs with a view to using them in your cooking, salads or for dried herb purposes, consider what the type of cooking you mostly do and what your requirements will be. If you want to make a lot of Italian style dishes, there will be a list of herbs you want, such as oregano, basil, mint, parsley and coriander. You may be making vinegars and oils – this may mean a different set of herbs, although you can’t go wrong with the basic all-rounders as those already mentioned. These herbs are great in almost all styles of cooking.
How to look after your plants? Most plants need about six hours of sunlight each day. A little less probably won’t hurt them, but they will need sunshine in order to flourish. Look at the sunshine on your balcony or patio and see where the sun falls at different times of the day. Even if there isn’t very much space that gets the required amount of sun, you will probably only need one or two plants of each herb variety – this will give you enough to get started!
Getting terracotta pots that are unglazed is one of the best options. Plastic pots have a tendency to hold in too much water and drown the plant. Plastic is acceptable for certain herbs that like lots of moisture, but it is not a good choice for most. If you use terracotta pots, you will want to check your herbs’ moisture every day and probably add a little extra, but you don’t have to worry as much about overwatering.Because most of the herbs you’ll choose to grow come from the Mediterranean lands, they are fairly drought resistant, and need warmth as much as water. Keep a small watering can handy.
There are some herbs that grow better in pots than others. The great thing is that most of the herbs that do well in pots are ones that are commonly used in cooking. Oregano, Rosemary, Parsley, Cilantro, Chives, Basil, Thyme, and Sage are just a few that flourish when potted. But these are many more from which to choose. You could visit a garden nursery and see what will grow well in your area. ask for some professional advice.
Check on the size of pot your herbs should have. Depending on the size the plant will grow to, some will need bigger pots than others. You can either plant seeds in the pots, or buy little seedlings that are already started.
When tending to your herbs, keep an eye on their new growth. Most herbs should not be allowed for bloom unless the flowers are what you want, such as with Lavender. Remove any stalks as soon as you see flower buds. Also, you don’t want your herbs to grow too tall, so keep them trimmed. You need a pair of secateurs for this job. You can fertilise your seedlings a couple of times a year. a good fertiliser is one that has seaweed in it …don’t overfertilise – follow the instructions given.
If you have a little sunny space on a patio or balcony, you can grow your own herbs easily. You can use them for cooking, home remedies, or whatever takes your fancy. One of the best things is that you can even dry them for storing. The herbs you grow will add some life to your patio space, and fresh scents that will give you joy on a warm summer evening. It is really a fun and rewarding experience. The purple lavender, white flowers of the chives, and other colors will look beautiful too!