Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

Grow: Our Top Five Tips for Growing Herbs in Containers

Fresh herbs are easy to grow and are so delicious and healthy! Let’s get started!

Fresh basil on homemade pizza, fresh oregano in a pasta sauce, fresh thyme on roasted chicken – when it comes to cooking, fresh herbs are the secret to taking your dish from good to mouthwatering! Luckily, herbs are also one of the easiest things to grow and will thrive in containers, which means that you can blow your dinner guests, or just your family, away with homegrown scents and flavours that totally transform your cooking.

Here are our five essential tips to growing a vibrant and lush potted herb garden!

1. Grow organic.

Herbs that are grown in organic soil and with organic fertilizer have much better flavour and potency. We recommend using a quality organic soil like this one to get the best results. Don’t forget that regular fertilization is an important step in caring for any plants! During the growing season, feed your herbs with a slow-release organic fertilizer, or a half-strength solution of organic liquid fertilizer such as Sea Magic every three to four weeks.

2. Provide good drainage.

Herbs thrive on good drainage, so make sure that your pot has sufficient drainage holes. Elevating pots on pottery feet, bricks, stones, or even another pot turned upside-down can also help to improve drainage. And it’s not just your container or your pot placement that matters – well-draining soil is KEY! Our favorite her growing medium is a mix of lava rock with organic soil. It allows perfect drainage and a rich medium in which your herbs will thrive!

3. Plant with the herb varieties’ needs in mind.

Chives are perennial and overwinter very well, so they are a great option for planting directly into the ground. Mint is an aggressive plant that will take over an entire area or container, so you’ll want to give it its very own pot. Watering needs will vary according to the variety of herb as well as the pot size and type that you should choose.  Be sure to consider all of these factors before planting.

4. Know when to water, and when to wait.

Drought-tolerant herbs such as rosemary, lavender, thyme, and oregano like soil that is on the dryer side, so let the potting soil dry slightly between waterings. For moisture lovers like basil and chives, keep the mix slightly moist – about as damp as a wrung-out sponge – at all times.  The best way to tell when it’s time to water is to let your finger be your guide. If the soil feels dry 1 to 2 inches below the surface, then it’s probably time to water. Be sure to water thoroughly until you see water flowing freely from the pot’s drainage holes.

5. Pinch and harvest!

The more you pinch off and use your herbs, the more they’ll be encouraged to leaf out. The result will be a bushier and more productive plant, so don’t be shy – snip those flavourful sprigs and get cooking! If you really want to get the most out of your herb garden, place your pots in close proximity to your kitchen; you’ll use them more often.

 

Now that you’re prepped and ready to grow, get started by scrolling through this lovely list of fresh herbs that are popping up weekly in our greenhouse. Then, browse this helpful collection of specific tips for your favourites. You can make your selections with total abandon, or have fun with a theme like Mexican or Italian!

Now… what’s for dinner?!  

Saturday, June 6th, 2015

Mint: The Perfect Summer Herb

Mint Shelmerdine Garden Center

With barbeque and picnic season just around the corner, we’re excited to start using fresh mint from our gardens.  Mint is really the perfect place to begin as you build your herb garden. It’s easy to grow and is so versatile, as its flavor compliments both sweet and savoury dishes and drinks.   Spearmint is the most common type of mint, though there are more than 20 others, each with its own flavor profile. Peppermint and English Mint have a slightly peppery flavor, while Lemon, Orange, Pineapple and and Mojito Mint are sweeter and are best suited for beverages.   There’s no doubt in our minds, mint’s versatility is unrivaled!  Here are a few of our favorite uses for mint:

  • Add a simple sprig to garnish a dessert or cocktail.
  • Frozen into ice cubes.
  • Mint-infused water flavored with ginger, cucumber, lemon, lavender, strawberries or watermelon.
  • Chopped up into a bowl of fresh garden peas and some butter (delicious!)
  • As a compliment to lamb or pork dishes.
  • Brewed as a hot tea to soothe indigestion or a sore throat.
  • A few leaves brightens up the flavor profile of any salad, especially quinoa or couscous.

What’s not to love about mint?

HOW TO GROW MINT:

  • Mint’s roots are called ‘runners’ and are incredibly invasive: they sprout new leaves and new plants as they go. Mint will overtake a flower bed or garden in no time if you’re not careful.
  • When choosing a location for your mint, find one where the plant will receive morning sun and partial afternoon shade.
  • Plant in a container with drainage holes.
  • As with all herbs, mint prefers well-draining soil and even moisture.
  • When planting the herb in a flower bed, first submerge a pot, leaving the rim above ground level when potted, so the mint’s fast-growing root system will be contained. Otherwise, the herb will take over your garden and lawn in an annoying weed-like fashion.
  • Harvest mint sprigs before the plant flowers.
  • To extend the harvesting season, pinch off the flowering buds as they appear.
  • Most mint plants are Zone 3 or 4 and can overwinter outdoors in our local climate.  However, we do not receive enough daylight hours in the winter to sustain the plants indoors.  Harvest and store the leaves in the summer to keep that fresh mint flavor for winter use.

 

 

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Shelmerdine Garden Centre Ltd.

7800 Roblin Boulevard
Headingley, MB R4H 1B6

Phone: 204.895.7203
Fax: 204.895.4372
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