Guest Author - Charity Armstrong
A fun spring project is creating a miniature herb garden in a strawberry pot. Rose gardeners can personalize this idea by adding a miniature disease resistant rose to the top of the pot. This project works for anyone whether you have a large garden or are an apartment dweller with a sunny balcony.
Once you have a strawberry pot you like, head to the nursery where you’ll select one herb plant for each side hole in the pot. Consider which herbs you’re likely to cook with, and purchase more of those. Some excellent choices are dwarf rosemary, sage, thyme, oregano, basil, chives and tarragon. Avoid selecting mint, since it’s highly invasive and will over take your other herbs and rose. Mint is best done in a regular shaped pot on its own.
Your selection of miniature rose will be very important. You’re not going to be able to spray your rose with fungicides or pesticides since it will make your herbs unsafe to eat. Ensure the miniature rose you select is listed as disease resistant. Just a few of the disease resistant choices are; Minnie Pearl, Green Ice, Fancy Pants, Sweet Chariot, Cinderella and Hilde. You’ll also want to pick up a bag of potting soil and make sure you have about two cups of pea gravel at home and a leftover cardboard tube from the center of a paper towel roll.
You’re ready to set up your pot, first you want to use the paper towel tube to create a drain down the center of the pot. This will insure that when you water the water soaks the entire way through the pot’s soil. Without the cardboard tube the water will pool at the top only and miss the herbs you’ve planted down the sides. Set the tube on end and center it in the middle of the pot. If the paper towel tube sticks up too high you can clip an inch or two off. Now fill the cardboard tube completely to the top with gravel.
Next begin placing your potting dirt around the sides of the paper towel roll. Fill up to the height of the lowest side holes. Gently remove the herbs from their pots as you’re ready to place each one in its hole. You may have to gently squish the root ball and carefully shape it in order to push the roots through the small side holes. Don’t worry if you loose dirt that was around the herb’s roots. As long as you don’t tear the roots and you spread them gently in their new soil, they’ll perk up in no time.
Continue filling the pot in this manner until you’ve reached the top. Your last step is to plant your miniature rose in the top hole of the strawberry pot. If the tip of the paper towel tube is in your way, you can fit your rose to one side and as the plant fills out it will hide the tube.
Now water your new pot carefully. Each time you water you always want to start with the rose and then make sure you water each individual side herb as well. Your plants may look a bit stressed after being handled, but they’ll be looking great in a day or two. You need to check your pot once a day and water when the soil feels dry to the touch.
Your new miniature garden needs a spot with full morning sun. Right by an exterior door is usually the best place to locate your pot for easy herb harvesting access. Now you’ll be able to slip out of the house and clip everything you need for excellent dinner flavor without leaving your porch.