A patio or kitchen herb garden makes a gift that takes a very little work and organization when special occasions like Mother’s Day, birthdays and other events occur.
If you find yourself scrambling for an inexpensive-yet-personal last-minute gift for your mom, sister, aunt, grandmother or friend, an herb garden can be almost free to put together, especially if you have friends who grow herbs.
What You Will Need:
1. A planter or pots
2. Loose gravel
3. Potting soil
Choosing a Container
There are so many containers to choose from these days? Gone are the days when herb gardens were planted in boring oblong boxes. Now there are stacked containers, hanging baskets, hanging stacking planters, colorful elevated garden beds, and more as well as more traditional plastic and terra cotta planters, including the terra cotta EarthBox 1010002 Garden Kit herb boxes with wheels!
How to Set Up Your Planter
1. Unless the container comes with its own drainage system, look for small drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. If not, drill two or three small holes the size of a pencil eraser across the bottom.
2. Fill the pot with enough loose gravel to completely cover the bottom of the planter. Broken pieces of terra cotta pots also work well. This allows water to drain more freely so roots don’t drown in standing liquid.
3. Cover the gravel with potting soil up to about an inch below the top of the pot.
4. Plant your herbs.
5. Water them.
6. Make sure there is something under the pot to catch the draining water.
7. Keep the soil moist for the first week after planting, especially if you are rooting some of the herbs.Then water as needed, paying close attention to your rooted herbs in case they start to droop.
8. Place the small herb garden in a sunny spot.
Where to Find Herbs
You can also buy small herbs at most of the same stores that carry pots. The Ferry Morse Herb Garden is a popular choice, but there are other ways to get herbs. Ask your friends if anyone grows herbs. Parsley re-seeds itself and your friends may have extra parsley plants coming up they wouldn’t mind parting with. Oregano, rosemary and mint are easy to grow from cuttings, so you might have a friend or neighbor who will let you cut a 6-inch sprig off one of their plants that you can root in your new pot by keeping the soil damp for a week or so. Find out what your friends and neighbors are growing successfully and ask for cuttings or small plants.
Ready-Made Herb Garden
If you decide it is simply too much trouble to get a pot ready, plant the herbs and care for the until maturity, you can always buy a Windowbox fully-grown herb garden that’s ready to eat!
Plants will eventually outgrow a small container, but a small to medium-size herb garden is a good size planter to give as a gift. It will fit in a kitchen window, on a patio or a deck garden easily, and the herbs can simply be pinched back as they grow and used for cooking.
Herbs are not just for women. Men who enjoy cooking, healthy eating, green living or alternative medicine will enjoy a small herb garden, too, so an herb garden can be a great gift for Father’s Day, Dad’s birthday or a gift for a friend. Happy planting!