Last year, I planted my very first garden by myself and it did not turn out as I had expected it to. Gardening is a LOT of work on it’s own but add an ambitious girl who thinks she can grow everything and you have a recipe for disaster. I even decided that I was going to grow all of the plants from seeds in small pots and then replant them into the garden. I had every vegetable and herb you could think of like tomatoes, onions, garlic, eggplant, mint, potatoes, chives, kale and the list could go on forever. Most of my seeds grew into great plants however, when it was time to replant them into the garden I found that I didn’t have enough room so I decided that I could plant them closer together then recommended. HUGE MISTAKE. Some of the plants, especially the herbs took up enormous amounts of space and began to block other plants. By the time the plants were starting to fruit, I couldn’t even get underneath them to weed. I got some great vegetables from the garden but it would have been a whole lot better had I not put them so close together.
So this year, I’ve decided that I am going to start with a small garden of herbs planted in containers. By planting the herbs in small containers, I am able to keep them on my deck and can easily access the herbs while cooking in the kitchen. Containers also allow you to make sure that the herbs aren’t taking over the rest of the garden or cross pollinating.
After a ton of research, I decided I was going to plant 6 herbs; mint, sage, rosemary, basil, thyme and parsley. I chose these herbs for a few reason. First, these are some of the most commonly used herbs in the kitchen and will help to bring amazing flavors to your food. I also chose these herbs because of the important health benefits that they provide. Herbs have been used for cooking and medicinal purposes for thousands of years.
Many diets also stress the importance of incorporating herbs into your daily meals as much as possible. A great example of this can be seen in the Anti-Inflammatory Diet created by Dr. Weil. The Anti-Inflammatory diet is “simple changes in how you eat can help counteract chronic inflammation, a root cause of many serious diseases including heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, certain cancers and auto immune diseases like Lupus.”
So here is what you need to know to get started. You can either buy seeds or small plants. Most herbs need a sunny location that will allow them to get at least 6-8 hours of sun. I am going to put mine on my back deck but you can also put in a sunny windowsill or outdoor garden. Also, try to choose a one gallon container with a hole in the bottom for drainage to avoid the roots becoming too wet. You should use potting mix which is made mostly from organic matter and designed to give container plants the texture and drainage they need. The potting mix tends to try out frequently so you will need to water the herbs frequently and keep the soil moist but not saturated. Lastly, make sure that you pinch and prune the herbs in order to help them become lush and bushy.