So picture this! It’s Sunday morning, you’re in the kitchen cooking and everything is going as planned; you have a nice flow of dishes, you’re in the zone, everything is on and popping, and the food looks like it’s going to be done in a timely manner before the children start to complain. You’re almost at the finish line to put it all away…you just have the meat left to season and stew before you turn that final burner off. You look in your fridge and all you see is that alien green colour of bottled seasoning.
You grimace and wonder to yourself if there’s some kind of misunderstanding. You go back and check the grocery list you gave your husband and it says “green seasoning” but clearly he didn’t follow your instructions before he left when you said to get the seasoning from the market. Now you’re annoyed and have no choice but to cook with that horrid bottle seasoning.
That sounds like a pretty drab reality, right?
Couldn’t agree more!
That’s why we’ve taken it upon ourselves, with the help of Ria Ghent and myself, to save you having to settle for that gooey bottled seasoning, and have the choice of fresh herbs grown right from your own backyard or windowbox herb garden.
This is how you to set up your own potted herb garden. Here are the things you’ll need.
- Plant Pot or Trough (With drainage holes.)
- Trowel and Hand Rake
- Coffee Filters
- Water and Watering Can
You want to first set up your plant pot or trough on an elevated surface that makes it easy to manoeuvre around.
Take your coffee filters and place them over your drainage holes in the trough or pot. By using the coffee filters, this allows for proper drainage and prevents your soil from escaping through the holes. This works much better than newspaper because it doesn’t degrade as quickly.
Now take your trowel and shovel out your soil from the bag into the pot/trough. If you have muscles like I do, you can just lift the entire bag of soil and full it up to about ¾ of the way.
After you’ve filled up the trough, take your hand rake and just even out the soil and make sure everything is distributed evenly.
Take your trowel and dig it into the dirt vertically. Then, in a clockwise, circular motion, carve a ring into the dirt and scoop it up and out. This way the dirt plops right out in a perfect circle without any trouble or resistance. Try to dig the holes at least 3 inches apart from one another to avoid cross grafting when you plant the herbs.
For your seeds, use your fingers and make ¼ inch holes into the dirt and insert about two or three seeds per bed. Cover over the tops with the soil, and again, try to make the holes or rows at least 3 inches apart to avoid cross grafting of different herbs.
Now, you want to add a little bit of water into your holes before installing the plants to give them a helping start.
Gently ply the container that the plants are in to loosen up the soil so that it slides right out. This also helps loosen the roots ever so slightly to help the plant from becoming root bound. When it’s out of its container, place it into the soil and cover over the top. Try to avoid getting dirt on the leaves
Use a watering can or mug and wet the soil to get it all settled. Try not to get any water on the leaves themselves.
And in these seven easy steps, you can set up your own personal herb garden within 20 minutes and have fresh herbs for cooking whenever need calls for it. Take note however, that your herbs require at least 5 hours of sun per day, so keep that in mind when you position them in a location where it’s easy for it to receive enough sunlight and germinate beautifully.
Contrary to popular belief, using stones or gravel at the bottom of your plant pot or trough for better drainage is only but a myth. It doesn’t help filter the water through to the drainage holes.
- If you’re having difficulty finding plant pots with drainage holes, buy a regular one, and with a drill, bore around 4 – 6 holes at the bottom. Be sure to use protective eye gear.
- You can also get small bamboo shoots and labels to stick in the soil to remind you which herb is which, and be very organized.