Planting a small garden is a great way to add colour and life to your balcony, and herb gardens in particular make especially good choices. Compared to vegetables and certain flowers, herbs are fairly low maintenance to grow and do not require an experienced green thumb or special treatment other than regular watering. While most varieties do better in sunny conditions, they are quite robust and many can survive in cooler, shadier areas. In addition to being easy to care for, growing your own fresh herbs is a great way to take your cooking to the next level with each variety providing its own unique punch of flavour.
There are a few important decisions to make before you begin that will vary based on things like the amount of space you have available, the amount of time you’re willing to devote to your herb garden, your lifestyle, and your personal tastes. One of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether you want to grow your herbs from seeds or starter plants that have already sprouted – you can find both options at your local garden centre. This is important to consider because if you’re growing from seed you need to start your plants indoors where you can control the amount of moisture and light they receive, before transferring them to a larger container on your balcony where they’ll be exposed to harsher outdoor conditions. Purchasing starter plants is simpler as they can immediately be transferred outdoors, and they also allow you to see/smell/taste exactly which herb you’ll be growing beforehand so that you can choose accordingly.
Another important decision is what kind of container you want to want to plant your herb garden in. This largely depends on the size of your balcony, but there are creative and aesthetically pleasing options available no matter how much space you have to work with. Herbs can be planted individually, in which case you might consider using small clay pots, recycled cans and bottles, or something more unique, like unused rubber boots. If you have a bit more space, you can plant herbs together in larger containers like wooden chests, crates or pallets. If you’re having a hard time envisioning what you want your herb garden to look like, you can click here for some neat planter ideas to get you started.
Now for the fun part – choosing your herbs! Some of the most popular annual herbs include basil, fennel, dill, cilantro, marjoram, parsley and chive. Annuals are a good choice if you don’t want to worry about bringing your plants inside for the winter, however if you’re using smaller containers and have the space in your apartment to transfer your plants indoors during the colder months, you might want to consider perennials like oregano, lavender, sage, thyme, mint and rosemary.
Once you’ve decided where, what and how you want to plant, you’re ready to get started! While the end of the summer might seem like a strange time to plant a garden, herbs can grow well in cooler early-autumn temperatures as long as they’re still receiving plenty of sunshine, water and love. Head to the garden centre ASAP before they shut their doors for the season, and get to planting!