How to Grow Herbs in Planter Boxes

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Planter boxes offer a garden plot for those who live in cramped spaces. Even residents of studio apartments can grow their own fresh herbs. If you want to give herb gardening a try, you should first consider the growing requirements of herbs. If your planter boxes can expose your herbs to the proper levels of light, your experiment could succeed. Set up your planters with good drainage and soil before planting your herbs. When the time comes, harvest your herbs and enjoy the crops you�ve produced through your own nurture.

Like all plants, herbs require certain levels of sunlight and water. While herbs can be very tough plants, even withstanding drought, they can�t forgo water. Use your fingertip to gauge the dampness of the soil in your planter boxes and evaluate if you need to water. If the soil feels damp, it�s good. If the soil feels wet, you have likely overwatered. Wait until the soil dries, and use less water next time. If the soil feels dry, water your herbs (but don�t try to compensate by saturating the soil). A slightly drier soil is better than soggy soil for herbs.

In addition to some water, most herbs require full sunlight. Your planter boxes should be on a side of the house that is sunny for much of the day. Herbs probably won�t thrive in a shady area, so if your planter boxes will be in shade, use plants other than herbs.

When you prepare your planter boxes, you need to provide good drainage and good soil for your herbs. Line the bottom of each container with pebbles, which improve drainage. Use a good potting soil, as well. You can mix multiple types of herbs in the same container. If you stagger the plants instead of placing them in a straight row, you can fit more herbs in the container, plus you give the planter a pleasing look.

As your herbs grow, you will need to prune and harvest them properly. You should pinch back annual herbs and prevent them from blooming. Pinching back encourages the leaves to grow fuller. If you don�t want to actually use the parts you pinch off, you could dry them and use them later in your cooking. You shouldn�t do much heavy harvesting until you see several sets of leaves on the herb. Some say that perennial herbs taste best when they first begin to flower, but you can continue harvesting these herbs after that point.

Planting and tending an herb garden takes minimal time and care, compared to some other plants. Even when you have little space, or no ground area at all in which to garden, you can grow an herb garden in planter boxes. Ensure that your containers will receive high levels of sunlight. Herbs don�t require a lot of water, so gauge the soil to evaluate how much water to give your plants. Before you plant, remember to prepare your containers so they afford the herbs excellent drainage. Prune, when appropriate, to encourage fuller growth. When it comes time to harvest your herbs, enjoy the enhanced flavor in your cooking.

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Rachel Dawson is a freelance writer who can�t survive complicated gardening. She writes about container gardens and planter boxes for

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