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October 17
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Inspired by my best friends at [Sargeant Creative] back in California who built an urban farm in their front yard, and the stores bursting with new herbs, I decided to give gardening a go and would ask for help along the way. Little did I know that it would become that great home project that would provide me with delicious herbs in full abundance. I don’t think I’ve purchased any store bought rosemary, mint, basil, chives, oregano, thyme, and aloe vera since April!

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First off, I cannot say that I am an expert on this at all. I only started gardening in containers this year when I moved to Georgia because the spring was so lush and beautiful. It’s one of the perks of living in the “forest” in Georgia! There is nature all around me, the squirrels are always running about, the hummingbirds looking for feeders, the tree canopy over my home lend tons of shade on hot summer days. This blog post is only from my experience and consistent learning from YouTube videos and the helpers at Home Depot.

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TIPS:

Start small. I only started with a few herbs in case this hobby didn’t pan out. I bought rosemary, mint, sweet basil, and chives at Home Depot. Each cost me $3.65 and I also bought containers with good drainage holes for each one, and a good bag of potting soil.  These herbs are the most hardy in cold and they don’t need great soil to survive. Once we got the hang of it, I expanded to jalapenos, sweet basil, thyme, parsley and cilantro.

Don’t buy seeds. Buy the pre-grown plants with a stronger root holding. I HIGHLY recommend for new gardeners to start off with pre-grown plants from Home Depot or Lowes. Don’t start from seed if you’re new to gardening and/or impatient. I like to start the planting process with a small plant in a larger container so that it can establish roots and grow into the pot. All three of my pants grew really fast and in abundance, filling up my containers within a few months, so I already had to split and repot them twice since then!

Feed the soil. Amine likes to take the hose and just do a once over spray of water over the plants. For trees and bigger plants, this would be fine. Herbs, however, need good soil, so make sure to water the soil of the plants well and let it drain all the way through. I also add coffee beans to the soil and occasionally throw in crushed egg shells to keep pests away. My friend juices a lot so she’ll throw in the juice rinds and that seems to make her vegetables thrive like crazy!

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MY HERBS:

Basil: My basil plant had three stems on it and was quite small in the picture shown above. Now, it’s grown over 2 feet and I need to cut it down to size! Basil is quite hardy but needs good soil, so I add a lot of coffee beans and egg shells to the coals. I learned that you have to prune it often right on top of the nub where the plant splits. That way, the plant will develop more bushy leaves and produce more lovely basil to eat!

This picture below is right before I cut it down to half the size. I also took it out of the container and repotted it with fresh soil. I took apart the stems and separated the pant into 4 pieces. I cut a lot of the top stems off to propogate more basil in the kitchen window. From this one plant, I plan on propogating at least 10 more basil plants to grow by fall. It also makes for a great housewarming or “just cause” gift.

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Mint: Mint is more fickle and needs attention, but when it grows, it grows fast!!! It will sprout new vines within the week and you’ll see buds almost immediately.  I put my mint in a separate container and it constantly overflows over the container. The vines grow horizontally so leave enough room for it to expand. Tend to the soil constantly with good compost and/or pest control. Pests will get into this plant no matter what I do so I change the soil up a lot. Egg shells help and I’ll add compost.

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Aloe Vera:  I bought this aloe vera plant after the others and it grows quite fast! Aloe vera is great for soothing minor burns, scars, and is also great for moisturizing skin.

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Thyme:  Thyme is awesome with steaks. That’s why I grow thyme. It’s a pretty easy growing herb, and I just snip off the long strands when it gets full. Throw them on a cast iron steak for extra flavor, or just strip off the leaves and use as seasoning.

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Thai basil:  It isn’t an Asian household without Thai basil. I propogate this in abundance because we eat so much of it! Snip the purple flowers that grow on the tip so that it keeps growing and prune them to keep it bushy and full of leafy goodness. If there are yellow leaves, it might be that it needs more watering, or that pests have gotten to it. Break some egg shells and spread them at the base of the plant to help prevents pests and fertilize the soil.

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Jalapenos:  We love jalapenos in our household. We throw them into most things that we cook, so it’s important that our jalapeno plants stay healthy! In the beginning, they were very slow to flower, but when the first bud came through and I could see the tip of the jalapeno, it just didn’t stop after that! They grow in abundance and I’ve split the plant into two, planting one into the ground, and the other in a container close to my kitchen. My container plant started to turn yellow the last month when I was traveling a lot so I’ve been nursing it back to health.  If the leaves turn yellow and have white spots on it, it might be diseased so cut the leaves off and change the soil. Hopefully it will come back strong again.

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Rosemary:  Nothing smells better than fresh rosemary. My plant is actually quite small and hasn’t grown in size much. I’ve seen rosemary just take over it’s territory and overgrow into this crazy bush. Mine, however, stays close to its size and I’m not quite sure why. It produces and grows, but not as fast or abundantly as I see other rosemary bushes grow in my friends’ gardens. It’s enough for our household, but if I needed more, I think I’d plant another one in the ground.

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PROPOGATING: I started propogating for the fall around late summer, when I realized that my plants might need some more help recreating. I snipped off long stems and put them in water for a few weeks to get them to grow roots. Once I saw they had significant roots that might survive in a container, I planted them into the soil.

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