A container herb garden - the secret to early spring gardening

An indoor herb garden for early spring

Early Springtime brings the thrill of watching the first signs of new life as all plants start to peek up through the snow or cold wet dirt. If you just can't wait until full spring arrives to get your hands dirty and start planting, then a Springtime Container Herb Garden is to the way to go! Early Spring gets gardeners of all ages itching to get out and play in the dirt even though the soil may be too wet or the snow is still on the ground.

This is where a container herb garden is perfect. With a little forethought you can prepare your spring container herb garden in the fall and come spring the container will come to life providing color and fresh herbs for the kitchen. The containers add focal points of color to the landscape.

The following are suggestions for container herb gardens for both culinary and ornamental enjoyment. These will give a nice blend of color and culinary herbs.

Spring garden 1

  • Crocus
  • Chives
  • Garlic
  • Feverfew
  • Chrysanthemum
  • Nasturtiums
  • Lavender. 

Spring Garden 2

  • Calendulas
  • Chervil
  • Lemon Balm
  • Marjoram
  • Mints
  • Pansies
  • Rosemary
  • Coriander.

Spring Garden 3: Mixture of Italian Herbs

  • Basil
  • Garlic
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme.

Preparation of your container herb garden should include being able to easily move the containers to a protected area if the weather becomes severe. Using plant dollies under large containers provides ease in moving them.

Try to select a container that is dark in color to absorb the sun or an even better idea is to cover the container with black plastic. This will absorb the sun during the cold. When the weather has warmed up, the plastic can be removed from the container.

Herbs which grow from bulbs, such as Garlic and Crocus, can be planted in the containers in the fall. Fall or Spring is also the time for dividing herbs, such as Rosemary, Sage, Oregano, Mint, Thyme, and Lavender. Placing divisions from these herbs into your containers in the Fall will give you a jumpstart on the Spring season and is an easy and inexpensive way to fill the containers.

Other herb plants can be started from seed about 6 to 8 weeks before you want to plant them in the containers. This time allows for a 12 to 14 day hardening off period. Once the herb plants are transplanted to the containers, give them protection for a few days.

As late afternoon approaches move the containers to a protected area or cover the plant with hotcaps, plastic, or even an old aquarium. Milk jugs and large plastic pop bottles with the bottoms cut off make great hotcaps. Large coffee cans or juice cans can be used for protection also. An umbrella that is partially open so it still covers the container can be used. You may need to fasten it or tie it down to keep the wind from blowing it.

There are so many things herbs and other plants that can be grown in containers and will keep you busy until the garden and soil are dry enough to play in.

About the author: Jaylyn Huson is an herbalist and have grown and used herbs for culinary and medicinal purposes, along with making herbal wines for the last 30 years. Through trial and error I have found what works and what doesn't when it comes to making my herb and cottage gardens thrive. Please visit my website for information and tips on growing and using herbs. 

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