Growing Herbs Outdoors
Many of you reading this are already familiar with my work. If so, you know that I advise my followers to grow herbs in containers regardless of whether they live on acres of land and love to dig in the dirt.
And although I strongly recommend that urban dwellers or folks with very limited spaces use their indoor spaces to grow herbs, I certainly do encourage every one to find ways of growing herbs outdoors whenever possible. For example, I spend the late fall and winter in sunny and warm Arizona and spring and summers in the cool North Carolina mountains. All of my herbs – every last one of them – are in containers outside (but very close to my kitchen and family rooms). I bring them in (actually, since I love extra large container, “lug them in” is a more apt description) when the temperature drops and frost in imminent or if it’s particularly cool and rainy.
Having said that, I am aware that many of you live in far colder regions and you therefore, must bring your herbs indoors for many months.
However, when those temperatures rise and that big bright sun starts shining full time, do yourself and your container herb garden a big favor –go outdoors!
1. You won’t have to worry about making a mess watering them. I don’t know about you, but I’m a notoriously messy plant “waterer.” (I think I just invented that word.) Although I have every intention of lining all of my pots with coffee filters (something I always advise!) I don’t always remember to do so. The result is that when I water my herbs, I get messy soil run off. It’s a pain to wipe up inside my house, but when my herb containers are outside I just let ‘em drip.
2. You’ll have more space, portability, and flexibility. Convert your balcony, fire escape, window box, deck, patio, front step or gate railing into a portable herb garden! These options increase the number of herbs you can grow as well as the amount of sunlight they get. This is much harder to accomplish if you’re constrained to smaller indoor spaces. And if your yard is bigger, your choices increase exponentially! Besides, growing herbs outdoors is just plain fun and good for your health.
3. You’ll get to enjoy watching the beautiful creatures they’ll attract. If you keep your herbs inside, you’ll miss out on one of the most delightful benefits of herb gardening – nature’s beautiful and abundant creatures such as butterflies, hummingbirds, and yes, even bees. Even better, these delightful helpers – as well as other insects – will keep herbs such as, basil, bee balm, anise hyssop, and chamomile healthier.
4. Your herbs will love Mother Nature’s sunshine and rainwater. This one is related to the first, but I wanted to emphasis how much herbs love sunshine. In fact, if you had to err one way or the other, it would be better to give them more sunshine and less water (although I’m certainly not recommending that you forget to water your herbs!). In most situations, outdoor herbs will get a bigger and longer dose of sun than indoor herbs. Additionally, it’s wonderful when Mother Nature waters your herbs because she usually does so with a “gentler” hand and for longer periods of time (this ensures that the roots are saturated).
5. They’ll fill your outdoor spaces with lovely aromas and beauty. Herbs are not only useful and flavorful; many are also pretty and extremely fragrant. Your outdoor herb garden
will provide you with color, rich textures, lush foliage, and a wide variety of flower form. Even better, most of these lovelies aren’t just pretty faces; rather, many of them make tasty seasonings and soothe body, mind, and/or spirit. The photo on the right is one of our flower and herb outdoor gardens.
I hope you’ve found these tips to be helpful and that you’re excited to find out why so many people worldwide love container herb gardening!