Newbie Herb Gardener

msfuzzFebruary 9, 2010

I'm pretty much a complete newbie when it comes to herb gardens. I had a very small container garden last year, and I'm looking to expand this year. I'm hoping for a bit of feedback, if you all would be so kind. Due to my living situation, I must grow in containers.

I will be planting my herbs in 2, 45" wide x 8" deep plastic kiddie wading pools (with good drainage via drilled holes & a wick, and filled with potting mix). I am growing both herbs from seed, and transplants. Thankfully, they break down fairly evenly, so I can do seed herbs in one pool, and transplant herbs in the other.

Seed herbs (8):

Basil-Genovese, Siam Queen, Red Rubin






Transplant herbs (7):



Sage-Pineapple, Tricolor

French Tarragon

Thyme-Lemon, Bushy

My question is: Does this seem like a viable set of herbs to grow with one another in a relatively small space? Do any of these herbs definately not grow well with each other? Are these herbs fairly compatible as far as needs of sunlight, watering, fertilizng, etc?

I am not planning on overwintering this garden, so longevity past one growing season is not a particular concern of mine.

Thank you all very much for your time & input.

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The pool is far too shallow for most of these plants, and the space in each pool will just about accommodate the Pineapple Sage or one of the basils. Do I really need to say more at this point?

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 4:25AM
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Is that pool really 245 inches across? If so and you can keep it correctly watered then most of your plants should be OK for one season (you'll need to put in pathways for access though.) Most of them would be better off in seperate traditional, deeper, containers though.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 6:10AM
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I read it as 'two pools each 45" across. The OP made it pretty clear.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 6:56AM
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Daisy, According to "The Bountiful Container" by McGee & Stuckey, all of those plants need between 6-8" root depth. Please remember that even though I'm planting perennials, this will only be an annual garden. Does this change your view? Last year, I grew a tomato plant, a basil plant & a marigold in ONE 5 gallon bucket, with good success. It seems a bit odd to me that one basil plant would take up an entire pool.

Patsy, Daisy is correct. I will have 2 pools which are 45" in diameter. :)

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 8:32AM
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Ah right - see what you mean now!

If they're what you have and you're determined to use them then with adequate attention to watering you should get reasonable results. 8" isn't a great depth and the plastic walls won't provide much insulation so your plants will suffer from a wider range of temperature fluctuations than they would planted in the ground or in deep terracotta pots.

Some will do better than others as when conditions are perfect for one, others will be too dry or moist.

With the herbs raised from seeds, you'll probably get better results if you sow them in cells and transplant them than if you sow your seeds direct into the pools.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2010 at 5:11PM
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I am of the same opinion as daisy; containers are too shallo. I am also positive that you can plant and grow all those herbs in those pools, but results will be far shorter than satsfactory. When we say, it is too shallow or space is not enough, we are talking about DOING IT RIGHT. Things can grow even in the gravels in the driveway and the cracks of rocks.

    Bookmark   February 11, 2010 at 7:55AM
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I appreciate the advice. :) My ultimate goal of this garden is just to make it through this growing season. I may or may not be moving this fall, and if I do, I don't want to have a ton invested in this garden. Another reason for doing my garden this way is that I just want to get a feel for how these herbs grow, what does well or doesn't do well here, etc, so that when my husband and I do move to our "forever" home, & I get to have a real in-ground garden, I'll have a head start on my herb growing knowledge. This is completely experimental, so I'm not expecting spectacular results this year. I'm just looking forward to growing something...Anything!

Again, I thank you all for your input & advice.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2010 at 7:15AM
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That sounds very reasonable, msfuzz.

What you can additionally do is to mound the top so that the actual dept will be more than the depth of the pools.
Or get several pieces of gutter guards and tuck them partially between the walls of the pools and soil. Now you will have 2-3" more to be filled and added to the depth. That plus slight mounding will give you about 12" depth.

One more thing: You can dig up your perenial herbs an take them with you when you move:
Taragon, oregano, rosemary , sage and thyme.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 6:07AM
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Those are great ideas that I didn't even think of....Thank you, Cyrus! :)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2010 at 7:13AM
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Just so you know how big a rosemary can get, see mine at the link below (hope the link works!) - just after it had about 30cm removed from the top! It's the plant at the rear.

My basils get to almost the same size. Pineapple Sage will get much bigger (I had to get rid of mine as it threatened to take over the entire garden).

Oregano will spread widely and fill a kiddy-pool quite quickly.

In a container so shallow, they'll be stunted, of course. But still.....most beginners cannot believe that herbs can get so large.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   February 16, 2010 at 9:22PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

Daisy - remember the OP is only growing this stuff for a year. Personally I'd stick to the annual herbs plus some parsley maybe and leave the rosemary and other shrubby stuff for when she has a permanent garden. Also, we don't know what region she's in. In my climate basil is never really happy outdoors - it's too cold. I have to grow it under glass even in high summer just to get a few foot high plants. My rosemary, on the other hand, is as big as yours and about 18 years old.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 4:08AM
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I'm in Denver, CO, usually considered 5B. :) That's a huge rosemary, Daisy! That's awesome. :D But yeah, this is only a one-year garden. It's pretty much just one huge experiment, so that when I do have my real, in-ground garden, I have a feel for how things grow here, and what I like & disklike. Since most of my perennials will be together, and if I'm still in this house over the winter, I'll let them try to survive and see what happens. If they make it, awesome. If they don't, oh well! And if I get moved by the end of the year, I may take the perennials with me and put them in ground at the new place. If it works, great, and if not, no big loss. I'll get to plan a new herb garden again!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 9:39AM
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Sure ! a 6 -10" perenial(like rosemary, oregano etc)bought from a nursery is not going to grow all that much in one season. And certainly, you can dig tham up and take them with you any time.

As far as basils; if they do not have room to grow laterally, what choice they have other than to grow within their means, literally?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 7:16PM
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Wow, Daisy, your rosemary is a little puny thing, ain't it?

Ok kidding. But at my old house it was growing easily five feet tall along the fence. I was trying to figure out what kind of tree was sprouting as it had woody stems and the neighbor laughed and said no that's rosemary.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2010 at 7:38PM
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