Lea: Growing herbs on balcony takes planning

Lea: Growing herbs on balcony takes planning

June 22nd, 2013 Pat Lea in Life Entertainment

Q. How can I grow culinary herbs on a balcony-sized area? I think I have enough sun.

A. You need to have at least six to eight hours of sunlight on your balcony. If there are balconies above you, watch carefully to determine how long the sun stays and its exact location. Sometimes a tall building creates a pocket of heat or shade, so you need to know exactly what kind of a micro-climate to accommodate. Plants grown on buildings also can be subject to windburn or damage.

Choose a pot or planter that is large enough to fit full-grown herbs. Space your herbs apart, and plant toward the outside edge of the pot so they can hang over and not be crowded together. Be sure that there are drain holes in the bottom and a layer of stones or broken pottery for drainage.

Make sure you have a well fitted saucer or catchment basin to prevent drips onto other balconies. Overflows can stain the area, so be sure the saucers are adequate. Test by watering lightly at first and then watching for any overflow.

Most culinary herbs prefer moderately dry soil. You can make an arrangement with several sizes of pots for separate herbs and then one big pot for more of your favorite one.

A small pot with a tarragon plant, another small pot with marjoram or sage, a slightly larger pot with three or four dill plants and a bigger pot with four or five parsley plants and the biggest pot with three big basil plants would make a fine arrangement.

It would mean you would have fresh herbs all summer. You can water each as much as they need and not have to worry about overcrowding. Choose your own favorites and experiment.

Contact Pat Lea at lea.pat@gmail.com