When special occasions like Mother’s Day, birthdays and other events occur, many find themselves scrambling for an inexpensive-yet-personal last-minute gift for their moms, sisters, aunts, grandmothers or friends. If you are short on cash, a patio or kitchen herb garden is a gift that takes a very little work and organization. In addition, depending upon your neighbors and friends, an herb garden may be almost free to put together.
You will need:
- A planter
- Loose gravel
- Potting soil
How to Set Up Your Planter
- Make sure there are small drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. If not, drill two or three small holes the size of a pencil eraser across the bottom.
- Fill the bottom of the pot with enough loose gravels to completely cover the bottom of the pot. Broken pieces of terra cotta pots also work well. This allows water to drain more freely so roots don’t drown in standing liquid.
- Cover the gravel with potting soil up to about an inch below the top of the pot.
- Plant your herbs.
- Water them.
- Make sure there is something under the pot to catch the draining water.
- Keep the soil moist for the first week after planting, especially if you are rooting some of the herbs.Then water as needed, paying close attention to your rooted herbs in case they start to droop.
- Place the small herb garden in a sunny spot.
Where to Find Herbs
You can also buy small herbs at most of the same stores that carry pots, but there are other ways to get herbs. Ask your friends if anyone grows herbs. Parsley re-seeds itself and your friends may have extra parsley plants coming up they wouldn’t mind parting with. Oregano, rosemary and mint are easy to grow from cuttings, so you might have a friend or neighbor who will let you cut a 6-inch sprig off one of their plants that you can root in your new pot by keeping the soil damp for a week or so. Find out what your friends and neighbors are growing successfully and ask for cuttings or small plants.
In the before and after photos above of this simple planter can be seen mint, rosemary, parsley, chives and oregano. The parsley and chives were dug out of a garden and the rosemary, mint and oregano were grown from cuttings. Check the before and after photos to see how the plants, even the cuttings, were well established by three weeks.
The plants will eventually outgrow the small container, but this is a good size planter to give as a gift. It will fit in a kitchen window, on a patio or a deck easily, and the herbs can simply be pinched back as they grow and used for cooking.
Herbs are not just for women. Men who enjoy cooking, green living or alternative medicine will enjoy a small herb garden, too, so an herb garden can be a great gift for Father’s Day, Dad’s birthday or a gift for a friend. Happy planting!
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