Monday, May 8, 2017

Herb Garden Tricks

The last few years Mike and I have felt like our once green thumbs turned black and we’ve had to educate ourselves on gardening and the type of soil we have here in coastal Carolina. This year will be our third year using our raised garden beds. We are die hard tomato lovers and the last two years all of our tomato plants died due to a horrible storm one year and those large green worms the second year. We just purchased all our garden plants a few weeks ago and I’ve been studying new ways to keep our garden healthy and protected from all those crazy elements including planting sacrificial dill.

I’m also super excited we found a couple citrus trees this spring. I’ve always wanted a few and we planted one lemon and one lime in simple terra-cotta pots for our back patio. They’ve been blooming the last few weeks and just this morning I spotted several teeny tiny little fruits growing! Ah, I can’t wait!

We may struggle with our large garden, but we always seem to do well with our herb garden. Last year Mike used some leftover scrap wood and created a wall garden on the fence. We’re planning to rebuild it when we finalize our patio plans so we can incorporate it into our dining space. We want something a little more modern and a little less shabby. We also use herbs a lot so building a larger garden will allow more space for the plants to grow. For now I’m planting all our herbs in pots to make an easier transition when we transplant them. After learning a few nifty tricks our herbs grow very well and here’s our Dos and Don’ts as to why it seems to flourish the way it does.

1. Do spread them out. Herbs need plenty of space to grow. Keep it simple and leave three inches or so between each plant in a container. This will allow enough room for the plant to spread and grow as needed and it gives them room to breathe.

2. Don’t mix mint. Certain herbs should not be together. Mint should never be planted with other herbs and it HAS to be contained because it LOVES to spread. Planting mint in a box or pot alone is best.

3. Do plant what you use. Herbs are great to plant, but if you’re not going to use them they can quickly go to seed and be done. Basil is one to flower and turn woody which shortens the life of the plant.

4. Don’t trim too much. The rule of thumb is to only trim no more than 1/3 of your plant every time you go to use it. Trimming too much will shorten the life of the herb. If you love to use one herb more than others, plant it in its own large pot so you have an abundance all summer long. 

5. Do plant flowers. Bugs and insects like bees love and need to pollinate the herbs, especially lavender. Planting flowers near your herb garden will attract everything you need for good pollination.

As for planters and pots, I love mixing different sizes and shapes, but keeping it simple in color. I love white because it really makes the greenery pop. My favorite pots are still the few we picked up from IKEA eight years ago (similar here). They’re simple and modern with texture. I can pair them with about anything and they always look beautiful. I also love the simplicity of the concrete planters from Target this year.

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