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Growing Herbs in a Potted Garden

How to Grow a Potted Herb Gardenherb1.jpg

If you want to start gardening but don’t have a lot of yard space, one thing you can do is grow an herb garden. As The Tasteful Garden points out, herbs are easier to grow than many other houseplants. Herbs can thrive in containers, which you can place on a porch, fire escape, or well-lit window ledge.
With just a little effort, you can add your own basil to your pasta, slice your own cilantro for tacos, and brew tea with homegrown mint. Just follow these simple steps to add flavor to your cooking and subtract dollars from your grocery bill.
1. The Right Container
The first step is finding the right containers. Better Homes and Gardens says that you can grow herbs outside year round if you use plastic containers that won’t crack if it gets too cold. They must be large enough to hold 5 gallons of soil and have good drainage. If you’re worried that you’re cheating by using pots, Better Homes and Gardens points out that mint becomes invasive if planted directly in the soil.
2. Lighting
Gardening Know How says that herbs need six to eight hours of sunlight a day if you want them to be as healthy and tasty as possible. The site adds that one advantage of planting herbs in containers is that you can move them to follow the light if no single spot in or outside your house gets enough.
3. Mix it Up
When it’s time to plant your herbs, Burpee recommends buying “potting mix” instead of “potting soil.” Dirt sold as “potting soil” is usually poorer quality and doesn’t drain as well as “potting mix” made with organic matter.
4. Fertilizing
Planet Natural advises not to over-fertilize your herbs because too much fertilization reduces their essential oils. However, potted plants do need more fertilizer than garden herbs because soil stuck in a pot contains fewer nutrients and dries more quickly. Planet Natural recommends you mix an organic fertilizer in with your potting mix at planting time. If you're growing herbs look colorless or stressed, you can use half the suggested dose of liquid fish fertilizer every few weeks.
5. Water and Wait
Now that your soil’s ready, The Tasteful Garden explains how to plant and water your herbs. Make a hole for your starter plant in your potted soil and remove the plant by turning the container upside down, tapping on the bottom, and removing the plant by the base of the stem. Place the plant in the hole, press gently on the surrounding soil, and water. After that initial watering, wait until the soil feels dry before you water again. Herbs are sensitive to over-watering.
6. Fragrant Harvest
When you’re ready to begin picking your herbs, Martha Stewart advises you do so in the morning, when the aromatic oils are at their highest concentration. Always leave at least two sets of leaves so that the plants can regrow and you can enjoy them again and again.
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