Fresh herbs are a great addition to the kitchen. However, not everyone has the room to grow them in the garden, or if you are in a flat you may not have a garden. Planting up a pot or a window box is a good substitute.
Some great herbs to grow in a pot are chives, thyme, oregano and parsley. Sage and Rosemary are ok for a season but will then do best if planted out into the garden as they become reasonably large plants. For my pot I’ve chosen chives, rosemary, marjoram and thyme. You can grow them from seed, got a garden centre for plants or even buy ‘living herbs’ from a supermarket. I bought mine from the supermarket – it was lockdown at the time and that was my only option!
The thyme plant I bought was nice and bushy so I divided it into 2. It is really easy to do. I gently separated the leaves into two distinct clumps then using my thumbs pulled the two halves apart.
To plant the herbs fill your window box or pot with some general purpose compost. A reasonably deep pot is best to give their roots some room and it will hold more soil. I always use peat-free compost. It is considerably better for the environment. Peat bogs are not being replaced and are a threatened habitat.
Plant your herbs into the compost so they come to the same depth as they were in the pot in which you bought them. Put your pot in a sunny and sheltered spot then water your new plants. Whenever you move a plant, or repot it, always water round the roots straight after planting. It helps to make sure the plant has soil around its roots and no air locks. However, move your pot into position before watering as it helps avoid water down your trousers. Not that I’ve done this obviously…..
Leave your herbs for a week or two to start getting their roots settled in before beginning to use them.
Over the summer remember to water them. They don’t like to be wet all the time but equally if you don’t water them for several days they will stop growing and die. Window boxes in particular will dry out more quickly. They will also do best if you feed them with a general purpose liquid fertiliser every couple of weeks through the growing season.
At the end of the summer pop the pot in a sheltered spot and they should over-winter ok to give you fresh herbs in the summer. You can use a few over the winter but remember they are not really growing so don’t go mad. Also, don’t cut them when it is frosty or there are cold winds.
Herbs like fennel are best grown in the ground. They need lots of space and grow really tall. However, they look really attractive grown in a flower bed.
Mint is best grown in a pot by itself – it is a thug! If grown in the ground it can quickly take over.
Bay trees are best grown in large pots as it restricts their growth. If put in the ground they quickly become very large trees if not kept pruned. I have one by my front door. It smells nice if brushed against when coming in and out and is handy when I need some for cooking.
Experiment and see what works best for you.