One of my enduring obsessions is to live on the land and have some dirt in which I can grow things. Living in a unit obviously is not realising this dream to its full potential. However, with a touch of parental assistance we recently expanded the potted garden to a massive variety of herbs, plants and a tree! This exciting expansion (now totalling 16 assorted herbs, plants and even a tree!) is about as good as it gets in a unit – providing greenery and a small but satisfactory herb garden.
Gardening can be intimidating. But, regardless of where you live, you definitely can get a mini garden going.
Late summer is one of the better times to start growing your own edible delights, so if you are keen to start work on your own little bit of land now is the time. Decide on which herbs you are going to grow. If you are starting small, I would recommend starting out by growing that which you buy at the supermarket. After having acquired all of what is needed, scout out that sunny place in your unit in which to build your herb city. In the four units I have lived in, three have had balconies which are normally best for herbs. One unit did not, but there was a extra space in the kitchen alongside a window which did the trick.
Once a location has been decided upon, plant your herbs and be sure to give them a thorough watering just to get them settled in. I also like to give mine a scattering of fertiliser pellets. If possible, place the herbs in the appropriate amount of sunlight as specified in the instructions accompanying your seedlings or seeds. Following these instructions, and doing some research will help to increase the yield of your garden.
After planting, wait patiently and allow your herbs to settle in for approximately two weeks, keeping them well watered before beginning to harvest. When harvesting, I find doing so from the outside in best as this ensures you eat the older growth and allows the new to flourish. Obviously, do not harvest to the extent that there are no remaining leaves for the plant to photosynthesise with.
Finally, you may ask what it is that I am currently growing? To which I would answer that at the moment I currently have the following herbs: basil, curly parsley, flat-leaf parsley, oregano, time, sage, rosemary, mint, curry leaf (similar in look to a rosemary plant), chives, and coriander. In the plant department I have: chilli, rocket, mixed lettuce and a rainforest plant. As well as a bay leaf tree. Of these, the coriander is the herb I have had the most difficulty in growing. From experience, it seems to like less water than others.
For more inspiration/additional assistance speak to your parents, a friendly nursery worker or have a read of The Little Veggie Patch Co. – one of my favourite books on growing plants in small spaces.