How to Grow Herbs on a Peaceful Patio
When you’re living in a home furnished by someone else, you tend to crave a space that speaks to your soul. So, you spill yourself all over the front patio, invest in a few pretty pots and create a colorful welcome for guests who will soon be bombarded with brown crochet and eagle sculptures on the wall inside.
So maybe I’m speaking from experience.
My daughter Alyssa adores the outdoors. She holds a deep natural respect for the bounty of earth, and I knew planting a few personalized pots at our new house would help her feel at home. Such a planting would also help me. Because holy holy. If I had all the money spent over the years on those fresh cut herbs in the grocery store, I’d be a wealthy chicken.
So, we buzzed down to a local greenhouse (highly recommended over those big box stores who hold a limited and less-than-inspiring collection of plants and pots, compared to the individualized attention and shopping palette available at indie growers) and found a few giant, glazed pots that whispered or shouted to us with their funkydelish colors, shapes, and personalities.
It was fun.
Once in place, it became funner.
On the way home, we stopped by our local Import store and grabbed strand after strand of Tibetan prayer flags. These beautiful, colorful lengths of fabric printed with “auspicious” symbols are used to bless the surrounding atmosphere. Each flag is decorated with woodblock, symbolizing peace, compassion, strength, and wisdom. It is believed the flags promote prayers and mantras through the wind to spread good will and compassion into all pervading space. Thus, prayer bringing benefit to all.
I’m not Buddhist but I love this idea. I love the colors. I love that my son, Jacob, in stepping onto the threshold of our patio and seeing the flags said “Mom, this is wonderful. It’s like everyday, we remember you’re praying for us.”
Want a pack of your own Prayer Flags? Tell me about a time when you prayed or wished or whispered for peace, compassion, strength, or wisdom and felt the fruits of that hope in your own life, and I’ll enter you in a giveaway for a 5-pack of prayer flags for your own patio, backyard, or local mountainside.
5 Tips to Growing Herbs in Pots
1. Sun Exposure. Most herbs need ample sun to grow, so placing your containers in a location that sees 4-6 hours of sunlight every day is ideal. Before planting your herbs and placing your pots, check the sun requirement of each herbs and adjust accordingly.
2. Proper Watering. Because they don't have enough soil to hold ample amounts of water, herbs in pots need to be daily. The soil should feel cool and not dry, but not overly swampy or moist.
3. Feeding and Fertilizing. If your herbs begin to look pale or unhealthy, they might be begging for a fertilizing. Always use all-natural, organic fertilizers specially marked for food plants because it can affect the taste and health value of your herbs. When applying fertilizers to your herbs, go easy. Herbs that are grown too fast can grown with less oils and flavors. If you planted your herbs in a good, nutrient-filled potting mix, chances are you won't need to feed your herbs often.
3. Pruning Herbs. Pruning your herbs properly will encourage a nice bushy shape with lots more herb to use. Luckily, culinary herbs thrive when cut and pruned. The more you use them, the more you will see growing back. Trim your herbs as you use them or prune as needed with snips or shears. Even in hedges, keep plants far enough apart for good air circulation, and whenever pruning, lay a piece of plastic, paper, or cloth beside and beneath the plant to catch the clippings. During the end-of-season harvest, make sure to harvest no more than 2/3 of your herbs to allow the leaves to grow back.
5. Deadheading. Similar to pruning, deadheading is done by removing spent flowers to prevent your herbs from seeding. Once they've seeded, the plants tend to think they've finished their purpose and will stop growing. Snipping off spent flowers tricks the herbs into growing more leaves.