Saturday, 1 November 2014

In the garden this week, at a glance.

In the garden this week, at a glance.

  • If you are growing Celery in your garden, then now is a good time to give them a further earthing up. Also, if you have Celeriac in the ground then now is time to ‘lift’ them and store the roots in old ashes or sand for the winter.Make sure that they are in a frost free store.
  • Transplanting of fruit trees can be done now. Lift the tree carefully, and if any roots are damaged, cut them back to the damaged portion prior to replanting, otherwise thee is a dangour of canker.
  • I am still sowing lambs lettuce and spinach. I do this in pots so that if there is a really hard winter, I can easily put them in my glasshouse out of the weather.  

A herb garden in New York; summer 2014 

 How to Grow Herbs In Containers 

  • The great thing about growing herbs in containers is that anybody can do it and you do not even have to have a garden to have all the herbs that you will every need. Some herbs, like mint for instance are better off in pots, because it will stop them taking over your garden.  
  • So long as the conditions are right for the herb; you can grow what your like. After all a what could be better then a collection of your favorite herbs right there in your kitchen. A great assent. There is no real downside to this assembly of herbs, any that die off in the winter can be harvested in the autumn and stored for use in the winter.
  • You sow your own plants or buy ready rooted and potted up plants from your local garden center or super market.
  • Some herbs need to be grown outside after being stated off inside. French tarragon and coriander are two such plants. Grow them in pots out side however make sure you protect from frost.
  • Mint, oregano, rosemary, thyme and sage can live out doors all year round, that being so because they are fairly hardy. 
  • Do not be tempted to rush out and buy your herbs at the first sign of spring. Wait till the weather warms up first. The reason is that planted herbs do not like cold wet potting compost and can be very vulnerable to root damage.
  • The best way to start is to make a list of the herbs that your are going to use. You will be surprised at the number of people that grow what they do not or can not use.

Choosing a Container

  • Once you know what herbs you are going to grow the next thing is to find out how much space each herb will need to thrive. Rosemary is a fairly large bush whilst thyme is a low little plant that creeps along the ground.
  • You should choose a container that is going to give your herb a good home.
  • Long tall pots for herbs that required depth while others will managed very well in small little pot.
  • If you go for glazed pots be aware that you could loose them with the first frost. 
  • A large wooded planter, like a half beer barrel could hold a mixture of herbs 

Planting Your Container

Once you have chosen your containers you can now pot them out. 
  • You will need some gritty, well-drained compost, adding up to 25 percent by volume of coarse grit or perlite to a loam based compost.
  • The compost should be kept moist, but never let it become soggy.
  • Use a balanced fertilizer to encourage leafy growth, rather than potassium-rich fertilizer that might promote flowering. 
  • The herbs can be replanted frequently, using generous pieces of root, into rich potting media, taking care to avoid over potting by putting your cuttings in too bigger container. 
  • The best way to judge if your herbs need re-potting is if they look straggly, lift roots and repot into fresh compost. 
  • Larger perennials such as rosemary and sage can be left in the same containers for several years before they need repotting.

Over wintering herbs in a container
  • Some herbs die back in winter, such as French tarragon and mint. 
  • These and most herbs will look after themselves if placed where they cannot become frozen, saturated by rain or allowed to become too dry. 
  • To protect more tender herbs in winter they are best placed against a sheltered wall away from wind and rain or in a cold frame or even in an open fronted shed.
  • A protective sheet of glass, plastic or plywood will keep off heavy rain and protect from frost.
  • To avoid your container becoming waterlogged, stand it on pot feet or stand containers on bricks.
  • If very cold weather is forecast, protect containers from freezing by wrapping in bubble polythene or garden fleece.
  • Basil is one of the herbs that will not survive outside in the winter and can only be grown if brought indoors into a warm, bright frost-free greenhouse, conservatory or a sunny windowsill.

Growing your own herbs is very simple and satisfying to do. If you select your herbs carefully you can be sure of fresh or dried herbs for much of the year.

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