When it’s cold outside, the little pots of herbs in my kitchen really cheer me up. To plant one for yourself, choose evergreens, such as bay, rosemary, thyme and sage to make a pretty display for a sunny windowsill. But don’t be tempted to pick too many leaves just yet, as your plants won’t grow much in the depths of winter and they need some foliage to stay healthy. Give them a chance to bed down nicely in the compost and in a few weeks you’ll see new growth emerging and can start using the older leaves in your recipes.
To make this beautiful herb container, just follow these steps:
You will need
Container without drainage holes
Plastic bin liner
Check that the herbs you’ve chosen fit comfortably into your container and then water them well in the sink about 20 minutes before planting them.
Herbs will rot in waterlogged soil, so to prevent this from happening, create a reservoir at the bottom of your container by adding a layer of grit to capture any excess water.
Cut off the bottom section of a black plastic bin liner and use it to line the container, trimming off the excess but leaving a couple of centimetres above the rim. Punch a few drainage holes in the plastic liner with scissors. Then add a thin layer of compost mixed with horticultural grit.
Plant your herbs and violas – the flowers will add colour to your display and the little flowers are edible too. Fill in between the plants with a mix of compost and grit, and firm gently.
Fold back any excess plastic liner that’s visible and tuck it into the container. You can also add some moss to decorate the top and hide the compost.
Water your herbs sparingly when the top of the compost feels dry – too little water in winter is less harmful than too much. You can harvest a few leaves from the herbs when you see new growth appear. These young plants will eventually develop into large shrubs and are best potted up into bigger containers in early summer, when they’ll grow happily outside on a sunny patio or in the garden.