In that case, by now you enjoyed the many benefits that Mother Nature’s toughest working – and finicky – plants offer. Simply put, they make our food taste better; make the air we breathe sweeter and more fragrant; keep us healthier; and enhance the beauty of our environment. However, you might not have given a whole lot of thought to why herbalists, like me, genuinely prefer pot herb gardens over others.
Otherwise, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to learn why it simply does not make sense – at least in my opinion – to grow herbs anywhere else but pots – even in the event that you have acres of property available!
Following are several quick and straightforward reasons for getting into container herb gardening.
1. City dwellers, apartment residents, and “small home” owners – or anyone with limited space – can grow fresh herbs! No problem. Just set your pots under artificial sun lamps and you’re ready to go! It is like having your own mobile farm!
2. Pots offer greater flexibility, reliability, and longevity. Begin your herbs indoors or outside – the choice is yours. Then, when weather – or desire – dictates, move them out. Also, since the huge majority of herbs are perennials (i.e. they “come back” year after year as opposed to annuals that live one season and die off), they are like the gifts that keep on giving!
However, if planted in the ground outside, your herbs would go dormant during the winter months (unless you live in a very mild climate) and you’d have to wait till spring for them to come back. So, why settle for fresh herbs a few months when you can have them year round simply by planting them in pots!
3. Alright, this one is a small stretch, but worth mentioning. Although your herbs don’t give a hoot whether they are planted in a tin coffee can or a fancy urn (and they will do just as well in either), you might. After all, there is a great chance you’ll be looking at your herbs for a very long time, so why not let select pots that improve the look and feel of your house as well? I happen to be a “container enthusiast” – I totally love beautiful Mexican pottery, ceramic urns, odd terrariums, easy terra cotta pots, and such. It gives me great pleasure to make beautiful surroundings (I am a frustrated interior decorator : >), so I plant my herbs in pots that are pleasing aesthetically also. Additionally, I set my herb plants with other ornamental flowers, vegetables and fruits. The results are often stunning and provide me that much more pleasure.
4. Herbs grow like weeds; as a matter of fact, some botanists still consider them weeds (a bit insulting, if you ask me). And although herbs are wonderful “garden mates” there are several that will just grow out of control if left to their own devices! So, pots then carry out another valuable service; they act as natural “containments” for fast-growing, prolific herbs, such as mint. But be sure to provide your herb plants enough room to stretch out comfortably! And if your plants badly outgrow your containers, simply transplant them into something larger!
5. Pots allow you to move your herb plants to stains less tempting to creatures. Recently, I wrongly placed two of my herb pots (including my favorites – dill and sage) in my deck’s railing. As I sat out and sipped my coffee the next morning I discovered that one quite determined squirrel had his small head buried in one of my pots and was happily chomping down on my cherished dill! He/She had eaten down my plant to the very nub, and my luscious blossom plant was nothing more than a memory.
My advice? Keep your pots near your home; near your cats and dogs; near your own forehead – far away from “easy-access” critter areas! (What is even worse is that there is loads of food on our deck for birds, squirrels, chipmunks, and the whole animal kingdom. They need to leave my herbs alone).
So, grow those herbs! But please, put them in pots in order too, can enjoy their bounties throughout the year! Here’s to your happy and healthy pot herb garden!
Mary E. Eule, BA, MS is a professional writer and researcher that been an avid container herb gardener for over 25 years. She’s also the author of this comprehensive, step-by-step guide, “The Down to Earth Guide to Easy Container Herb Gardening,” Visit her site: http://ContainerHerbGardening.com to buy her e-book, download her free herb e-course or to get additional tips and articles on pot herb gardens.