Planting herbs

Can you believe that we have barely touched the garden beds since all that digging and slaving? The first week we were just too busy, and since then it's been kind of rainy and the soil has been too wet to do much with. However, our planters have been draining nicely and we decided to get our herbs planted. Why planters, you ask? One of the containers was already at the house and just needed a little potting soil added to it. The other we purchased at Home Depot for about $15. Since we plan on growing veggies and some edible flowers in the garden beds, we were quickly running out of room! I already knew I wanted to grow mint in a planter (it tends to take over and can even spread throughout your lawn!), so we figured having a one-stop-shop for all our herbs would keep us organized.

The same day we prepped the beds we filled our containers with potting soil - note that this is different from garden soil or top soil. It should say "potting" on the bag. Read the label carefully, but the idea is that potting soil comes premixed with the nutrients that your plants need (this isn't the always the case, so check the package!). We didn't want to have to amend the soil too much (aka buy MORE compost, lime, or other fertilizers) so we went for the most complete mix we could find for a good price.

Some herbs, like rosemary, originate from areas like the Mediterranean where soil is sandier. If you plan on growing these, add a little garden sand to your potting mix if it doesn't already have it. The sand will help your soil drain faster and keep your plants roots from getting soggy.

We decided on three different kinds of mint in one container and five other herbs in the slightly larger container. That way the mint won't run anyone over! The other herbs we chose were rosemary, thyme, chives, sage, and parsley. We plan to grow basil as well, but basil is a tender plant and is planted later in spring (they also make nice growing companions for tomatoes, so we'll probably plant some around the base of our tomato plants in a sunny spot).

We chose to plant only seedlings for herbs because a) we were too lazy to make our own starts, and b) herbs in particular can take a long time to germinate and produce usable leaves. We want the goodness to start right away!

Dig a hole in your container slightly larger than the root system of your seedling. Loosen up the roots a little (handle them gently), particularly at the bottom. It should look something like this:

Place the plant carefully in the hole, and fill in around it with dirt. Make sure none of the roots are exposed, as the plant will get too cold. Repeat with other seedlings.

Water each plant carefully (try not to create any trenches in your fluffy soil).

Admire your handiwork. Happy Earth Day!

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