Grow Your Own Garden

Fresh herbs are a delight. Cooking with them makes any dish taste better, and growing your own herbs is pleasing not only in taste but in their beauty and in the aromatic pleasures they offer. Think you don't have room for an herb garden? Think again! Unlike some crops, you can easily grow herbs in small spaces. You can create your own herb garden in containers that will easily fit on your patio or even in your home.
Lisa Beamer

Benefits of container gardens
The uses for herbs in containers are plentiful. First, containers are portable. If you are working with limited space, you can get creative in your arrangement. Use cement blocks or empty pots turned upside down to create a tower of sorts upon which you can stack and stagger your various herb containers. Alternately, you can use the pots to line the edge of a patio. You can strategically place them around the sunniest spots in the house. According to Amy Rawson, owner of C & A Greenhouse in New York, container gardens are a wonderful way to "try out" herb gardening. "You can see how they look and taste and learn how to handle them," she says, and then if you choose, you can move on to more advanced herbal landscaping later. Herbs gardens are practical. Depending on your tastes, you can grow the herbs that you use most in cooking. Simply go to your containers and pinch off whatever amount you need when you need it. Having fresh herbs at your disposal is also wonderful if you use them for homeopathic purposes.

Lastly, herbs are an easy exercise in aromatherapy. Place a group of herb containers by the front door, and as you and your guests pass by, their refreshing scents will greet you. Likewise, herb containers around the house allow you to accent your rooms with a living potpourri.

Getting your container garden started
You can grow almost any herb in a container, but you need to consider the eventual size of the herb before choosing a pot. Basil, which can become rather bushy, needs a container large enough to allow for its growth. If you want to plant a combination garden (several herbs in one pot), take into consideration the needs of each individual plant before putting them together. Place tall herbs in the center, medium-sized herbs around them and then put a creeping herb of some type around the edge of the pot. Be sure your pot will accommodate the growth of all plants, both above the ground and below. Dwarf varieties of herbs work well in containers.

According to Rawson, you also want to consider your herbs' water needs when choosing a container. Plants, such as rosemary, which require more water, do better in less porous pots (which will dry the soil out more quickly) than an herb like basil, which will fare well in a porous pot.

If you are growing your herbs outdoors, they will likely thrive in whatever amount of light they get. Indoors, however, herbs require at least five to six hours of sunlight per day to keep them healthy explains Barbara Damrosch in her book The Garden

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