Planting herbs in hanging baskets.
As the size of modern gardens continues to diminish, the space available for traditional herb and vegetable patches decreases.
Pots and containers, window boxes and hanging baskets provide simple alternatives in these restricted areas. Furthermore, hanging baskets add an extra dimension to the garden, utilising the vertical space that would otherwise remain empty. Remember, though, that herb hanging baskets must be suspended in bright sunny areas (most herbs and vegetables deprived of full sun will be weak and leggy). Hanging baskets can either be planted up with a mixed range of herbs, vegetables and edible flowers, as illustrated, or with one plant type per basket.
- Use a suitable hanging basket – the larger the better as greater volumes of soil ensure a longer lifespan.
- Suspend the basket from a hook at a level that is comfortable to work at. Most baskets need to planted while they are suspended.
- Insert a coir liner and then put a sheet of plastic inside the liner. Refuse bags are ideal. This prevents the basket from drying out rapidly.
- Puncture two or three drainage holes in the base of the plastic.
- Fill the basket to halfway with potting soil that has been enriched with a suitable hanging baskets and amended with a water retentive super absorbent.
- Plant a row of suitable herb seedlings around the centre of the outside of the basket. This is easily done using a section of plastic pipe (+-20 mm in diameter) that has been slit along its length and sharpened at one end. Open the pipe and insert the foliage of a seedling into the pipe, leaving the root ball sticking out the blunt end. Pierce the plastic and coir liners, making a hole large enough to fit the diameter of the pipe. Push the pipe through the hole from the inside of the basket. Remove the pipe from the seedling, leaving its roots resting on the soil in the basket while its stem and foliage are outside the basket. Repeat the procedure until you have two rows of seedlings around the outside of the basket.
- Fill the basket with soil, firming it down gently.
- Plant the rest of the chosen plants in the basket, starting in the centre and then moving outwards to the edge.
- Trim off any excess plastic that remains.
- Water thoroughly and suspend the basket in the intended growing position.
- Fertilise every two weeks with a suitable water soluble plant food to optimise the yield.
Choose healthy, young herb and vegetable seedlings for hanging baskets. Plants in large pots or nursery bags are difficult to fit into baskets.
- Basil – centre of basket
- Lettuce – centre of basket
- Nasturtium – edges and sides of basket
- Oregano – sides of basket
- Parsley – sides of basket
- Rocket – centre of basket
- Rosemary – centre of basket
- Sage – centre of basket
- Sweet marjoram – centre of basket
- Tarragon – centre of basket
- Thyme – sides of basket
- Viola – edges of basket (flowers are edible and colourful)