Now it’s no secret that I’m a tad garden challenged. I do love to buy plants for my courtyard, but I seldom seem to be able to keep them alive. I am tinkering with the idea, though, of a herb garden this winter. Naturally, I turned to foodie, blogger extraordinaire and more importantly – skilled gardner – Melanie from The Adventures of Miss Piggy, to give me some tips on how to get my herb garden going.
Melanie says the first thing to do is know how much light your garden gets. “My balcony faces due-North and we get hours of directly sunlight everyday. I can grow pretty much anything. People with shady areas will still be able to grow things, you’ll just be a bit limited”. Google is a great help for growing condition hints and tips!
“I know this sounds kind of obvious but grow things that you like to eat and cook with,” she says. “Somehow I’ve ended up with an enormous thyme bush on my balcony. It looks wonderful and smells amazing but I really don’t have any idea of what to do with all that thyme!”.
A surprise to me, herbs don’t grow all year round! “Most herbs and veggies are seasonal,” says Melanie. “They either like it hot or cool or somewhere in between. I never really understood this properly until I started to garden”.
Melanie buys seeds rather than herb plants. “I prefer to spend my money on eating out rather than buying pricey, half grown pots of herbs. For me half the fun is planting out my seeds and seeing what pops up and what just…fails”.
A good quality potting mix goes a long way, too. “I buy my (organic) potting mix from Bunnings or a garden centre. Be careful with potting mix; it has micro-organisms in it that are harmful if you breath them in. I always wear gloves and a face mask when I’m using potting mix. It’s not sexy, but hey, it’s safe”.
“Remember to feed your plants regularly as they will quickly gobble up the nutrients that came in the potting mix,” Melanie advises. “Every week or two I add some liquid Seasol to my watering can. I also occasionally do the same thing with a bit of Dynamic Lifter”.
And don’t forget to have fun! “Things will die or they’ll get scoffed by caterpillars or other nasties but don’t give up,” she says. “Mother Nature can be a real shocker sometimes but hey, that’s gardening for you!