I never thought of myself as having green fingers, although both my parents seems to have a knack with growing plants and making the most beautiful garden with rose bushes, lushes trees and a vegetable garden. Somehow gardening was just always so intimidating to me even a first herb garden, perhaps because whenever I attempted to plant something it would die on me.
Besides trimming the lawn and taking out weeds, my husband prefers planting flowers and other greenery that are low maintenance. Our garden consist of succulents and vygies – these plants require almost no pruning or trimming. About three years ago, we planted rosemary and mint bushes that is still growing profusely with almost no maintenance.
Every other herb that we attempted to plant, just lasted about 2 weeks and died – either the soil was too heavy, it didn’t have enough drainage, get enough sun or we made the mistake to plant herbs that require more moisture with those who require less.
I always use herbs in my cooking but end up buying fresh basil, oregano, thyme, celery and coriander. Buying these herbs on a regular basis can work out to a pretty penny.
Herbs look so easy to just plant out but believe me you need to know what they require to keep them alive and keep them producing more.
Last weekend, we went to our local garden centre to buy a few outside plants and the beauty of the rose bushes, freesia, calendula, marigolds to only name a few was indescribable.
Then I spotted the herbs and I was instantly drawn to it. So after many relentless attempts to grow Mediterranean herbs and failing dismally at it, I’ve decided to give it another go.
After doing some much needed research on these herbs, I knew exactly what their requirements are – something I didn’t bother doing previously as I would just follow the instructions that came either with the pot or trays.
I wasn’t going to make the same mistake as before and decided against growing the herbs in pots with little drainage. The backyard was the best place to plant the herbs as it gets at least a full 5 – 6 hours of sun, but the problem is that we have dogs and the backyard is their space as well. They tend to dig when you plant something new, especially where there is a sandy soil patch. Therefore most of the things we plant is in our front garden where they have limited access.
My husband then built me a lovely herb box with dividers from pallets, which he built quite high off the ground so that the doggies can’t reach the herbs. He ensured that there is enough drainage holes at the bottom. The herb box was then lined with burlap, and layered on top with potting soil, bonemeal, slow-release fertiliser and watered. Good thing he built the box high off the ground as the dogs would’ve had a field day destroying all our efforts as they could smell the bonemeal.
The next day my two daughters and I planted the herbs out. It was really nice to get them involved in this process and they enjoyed getting their hands dirty.
We decided to grow companion herb together and as per their requirements for water, fertiliser and sun. So this is what we planted in the herb box.
Sage, oregano and thyme bushes were planted in one section of the box.
Coriander, chives and watercrest bushes were planted in the middle section.
Basil, celery and parsley bushes were planted in the end section.
Fennel bushes were kept separate from the rest of the herbs as they do not make ideal companions as it tends to kill other plants.
The girls have big plans to decorate the herb box and to give it some colour – so looking forward to the transformation.
Hoping that this will be a successful planting attempt with many flourishing herbs and that the leaves will be harvested for many gourmet meals.
Our front garden is neat and we always get some compliments but somehow it is lacking some colour. So as my fingers has turned green and this planting bug has now bitten I might be planting some hydrangeas – watch this space.