I've had some people ask me if I've done some gardening here in the city. With 6000 square feet of urban concrete, it's a little difficult. The whole lot isn't garden capable, it's partly house, partly driveway, partly garage, and partly water (i.e. pool). That doesn't leave much room for green space!
With no real "ground" I can plant in, I had to get creative. I found these two folding stands at a thrift store. Originally, the large one was hunter green, the small one was pink. Talk about mismatched! But for $10 for both, it was too good a deal to pass up. So I decided on black. I thought it would be a nice contrast with the clay color and the green of the plants. I bought some Rustoleum, matte finish, black spray paint and started spraying, turning them into a nice area for herbs. I bought twelve 8" clay pots and saucers. Then I put some gravel in the bottom of each for drainage, some potting soil, and 12 different herbs, that was the best part, and the most fun.
I've got bay, rosemary, three different kinds of basil, garlic chives, onion chives, oregano, flat leaf parsley, marjoram, thyme, and cilantro. They supply most of our herb needs for cooking, but because they are in smaller pots, they don't last as long. Still, for most of the Spring and Summer, we have enough herbs to cook with, as long as 2nd Man doesn't go too crazy cooking with them.
This is a hanging basket (one of two) that holds our mint. For those who have ever planted mint in the ground, you know it can be very invasive, i.e. it will spread all over a flower bed and take over. Keeping them this way keeps them contained. I have a peppermint basket and a spearmint basket. It's so nice to snip some fresh mint whenever you need it.
I've always used clay pots as my planting containers. I like the unified look in the back yard, where there is no color from the container itself, instead the color comes from what's planted in it. They are so nice to plant in because they let the roots breathe, and you'll end up with healthier plants in the end. They do, however, require more frequent watering as they dry out much faster. There is never a chance of "overwatering" in a clay pot (unless your drain hold on the bottom is clogged). Just remember that when you plant in containers, your plant will be limited in size because of the size of the container it is planted it. Our herbs never get huge and, as a result, get used up faster, because of this.
Now you know the the reason we want a "real garden" at the farm. Actual ground to plant in. And let the plants grow to their full potential. I want to have specific areas for herbs; a culinary garden, a tea garden, a medicinal garden, etc. If I can do this in the city, the sky's the limit out there on 10 acres! Should be fun. But more on that in a future post.
Until then, enjoy! Plant some herbs, and enjoy using them. It's easier than you think.