Growing Herbs in Pots is one of the most enjoyable and easiest that even a novice gardener can do. Growing herbs indoors is a popular hobby for many gardeners. Container or pot plantings offer a convenient way to keep herbs handy -- in or near the kitchen or balcony, for instance.
Recommendations to first-time growers
– Start growing one by one. Start with one container, pot, or grow bag, and expand to other varieties gradually.– Start growing herbs that you can harvest in 3-6 months. Early yield will keep you encouraged. You can then plan for varieties etc.
– Keep adding more and more containers. There is no turning back from this once you start. Happy gardening!
• Container: Choose a container that has ample drainage holes and is large enough to accommodate the plants. A hole at the bottom of the container is critical. It allows water in the soil to drain freely so adequate air is available for the roots. You can also happily grow herbs in empty milk cartons, juice cartons, plastic bottle cut-outs etc.
• Packaged potting soil or soilless mix: Just like most plants, herbs thrive in well-draining soil.One of the biggest mistakes that you can make when growing herbs in containers/pots are using an ordinary garden soil. Garden soil, even if it's rich with nutrients, is just too heavy for your potted herbs. Use a mix of sand (or coconut coir or perlite) and sterile potting soil. Perlite and compost are good potting soil amendments because they help to retain water and make the soil less compact allowing air to pass through.
If you do not have potting soil, prepare it as mentioned below.
• 60% sterilized red soil (There are several ways to sterilize garden soil at home).
• 30% sand (or coco peat or perlite)
• 10% sterameal or cow dung or goat farm mix
• Mix the soil, sand, and sterameal to form the potting soil
Prepare to plant. Fill the pot with potting soil or soilless mix. Carefully unwrap the plant. Make a planting hole in the soil that's just the right size. Gently slip the young plant out of its nursery pot.
Plant and water. Gently loosen the roots at the bottom of the soil ball and set it in the planting hole. Set plants in the pot at the same level or slightly deeper than they were growing in their nursery pots. Gently press the soil around the plant. If needed, top off the planting with more soil, leaving 1 inch between the top of the soil and the top of the pot (to allow for watering).
Quenching their thirst
Q)When’s the best time to add water?
A) When the soil feels dry an inch below the surface!
A few watering tips to keep in mind:
• Use a spouted can or a hose (for big pots), and add enough so that the water starts to drain through the holes.
• Remember that container plants are thirstier than plants in the ground, and those in porous pots, such as terracotta or wood, are even more so.
• Strangely enough, the smaller the pot, the more watering it will require.
• Keep the soil moist but not damp.
• Always water in the morning or the early part of the day, never at night.
Stay on the sunny side
Most herbs love the sun, so all you need to get started is a nice, sunny place in your house for them to call home. Herbs will need at least 5-6 hours of good, hot sun each day.
Trimming the plants
Trimming the plants is favorable. Frequent cutting will also encourage new leaf growth. Don't forget that herbs flourish super quickly, so you’re going to want to make sure to snip them early before they start to flower.
Need of fertilizer
Apply fertilizers sparingly to herbs. Heavy applications will produce large plants. For herbs, usually, all that is needed is a good all-natural organic fertilizer.
Wet waste from your kitchen (like tea leaves, egg shells, vegetable peels, stalks), when composted, makes great mulch for your plants.
Providing additional nutrients which contains Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potassium as prescribed by manufactures of the nutrients is advised once in a month. These nutrients are widely available in liquid or solid form. Avoid overdose of such nutrients.
Homemade organic pesticides
Organic pesticides for plants are considered to be those made from natural ingredients. Organic pesticides are a safer alternative to chemical formulas considering keeping ourselves and children safe from toxic chemicals.
Organic pesticides, unlike others may not provide immediate benefits. Repeated use of it, regularly over a period of time is required to yield the results. Some insects (for example the small white flying bugs) are often found in clusters on the undersides of leaves. Hence should cover such parts while applying the pesticides.
Mix one tobacco into water. Allow the mixture to set overnight. After 24-hours, the mix should have a light brown colour. If it is very dark, add more water. This mix can be used on most plants.
Garlic can deter beetles and some larvae. Smash garlic into water, mix it and allow it to settle for one hour. Add small quantity of liquid soap to the mix and spray on plant leaves.
Neem is a powerful natural pesticide. To make your neem oil spray; add high-quality organic neem oil and mild organic liquid soap to warm water. Stir slowly. Spray it on the plant immediately.
Encouraging beneficial insects, such as ladybugs and wasps, are a natural way to reduce the populations of unwanted pests.