Our backyard has a pool and paver deck. That’s it. No grass for poor Bentley. To bring some green into the backyard I have cheap annuals in multiple planters. For a long time my “garden” only consisted of flowering plants until my mom came over with a few herbs for me (isn’t she sweet!). After killing a few basil plants I realized my problem was the lack of or too much water. I would forget to water the plants before I went out of town or I would water the plants before a huge storm creating a swamp in my pots. I now keep a small watering can (a cheap one from Ikea) out as a reminder to water my little backyard garden.
Now that my black thumb has turned light green I have a lovely little garden with sweet basil, cilantro, rosemary, lemon thyme and English lavender. The price and packaging on herbs at the grocery store annoy me. Most recipes only call for a few basil leaves or sprigs of rosemary, yet most herbs are sold in massive bundles that can never be fully used unless making 15 meals. If you’re going to purchase the entire basil plant why not have one in your backyard? And if you live in the city put it by a window, or out on the ledge if you have one.
Having herbs readily available in the backyard is awesome! There is much more flavor with fresh herbs and I don’t have to run to the store to get it. The best part is that it’s easy and cheap (you will spend more money on nicer planters). A bag of soil runs around $7 and that’s for a HUGE bag. Herbs will cost about $1.25. I purchase Bonnie Plants from Lowe’s and they come in biodegradable pots.
Fist place some soil in the bottom of the pot and then put the entire plant with the plastic wrapper on in the pot. The plastic wrap helps keep the biodegradable material together. Start to shovel in soil around the new plant. Once it is almost buried cut the plastic wrap with scissors and remove it. Now the material of the plant will grow with the soil. How easy is that?! AND if you have a black thumb and forget to water your new plant, you can easily remove the plant with a small shovel and replace it with another cheap plant!
When I first started I placed to0 many herbs in one pot since they are so small when you first get them. I had planted basil, lemon thyme and cilantro in one huge planter and it quickly became a jungle! So don’t overcrowd your planter as your herbs will grow.
Some tips: When you want to use some basil leaves pinch them off at the base where new leaves are forming out. Basil plants will also produce small white flowers and it is important that you pinch them off in order for the plant to survive. Also if you use terra cotta pots remember to check the water often as those pots soak up water quicker than others.
Our front yard has plenty of soil to test my light green thumb, but I’m happy with my small planters in the back. I’m not ready to worry about the soil’s PH or acid level to grow hydrangea (a favorite). I’m going to just keep it simple….for now!