We have basil, oregano, dill, parsley, chives, tarragon, thyme, rosemary, mint, tomatoes, bell pepper, hot peppers, mexican lime and myer lemon growing in pots. Having grown basil, thyme and rosemary last year, I know the pleasure of walking out your back door for herbs.
This year, a friend taught me about self watering pots. Without them, I don't think I would have delved into the concept of suburban gardening. Keeping thing properly watered has always been a challenge and the key reason I eventually kill everything. Self watering pots have reservoirs so watering doesn't have to done as frequently as traditional pots. The plants drink what they need so there is less chance of them being shocked from drought when I'm gone for a weekend or me over watering them just in case they are thirsty. The pots and the soil mix used in them optimizes the plant's utilization of water, which helps to conserve water. The plants drink from the bottom up rather than water draining out the bottom from top watering.
Gardener's Supply has a wide assortment of self watering containers. We could not find them at our local Lowe's or Home Depot. The Earth Box was available at our local nursery but its kinda ugly to me. There are homemade and store bought systems that can turn traditional and not-so-traditional containers into self watering pots. Catalogs such as Plow & Hearth and Frontgate are now carrying swcs and as their popularity grows, so will their availability.
The internet has great websites, videos and blogs related to container gardening. I am finding Edward. C Smith's book on this kind of gardening especially helpful. Overstock.com has the book for under $13 new.
We selected the Cortina pots...we like how attractive they are. They are plastic and will likely have to replaced over time. However, they are light enough to move around as needed and we have all this great color. There is a lot of variety to meet the needs of the container gardener.
Herbs that like drier soil, such as the oregano and cilantro are in traditional pots. Moist loving mint, peppers, chive and parsley are thriving so far.
In addition to the culinary containers, we are in the process of redoing some of our xerolandscaping with edible landscaping. The plants underneath this Crepe Myrtle will be removed to make way for a gas powered generator, rain water urn and raised beds with fruits, flowers and vegetables. We will be implementing the model of Square Foot Gardening.
We've thought we would eventually have to leave our San Antonio house and head to the Hill Country to do what we've now learned is possible right in our Three Lakes backyard. We've also learned that anyone, in any kind of living space, can be more self-sufficient and lower their food bill with container gardening and Square Foot Gardening.
Woo hoo for basil in the backyard.
From Bon Appetit magazine. We had ours with artichokes too! Good with asparagus or tomatoes, on sandwiches and salads.
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
Mix first ingredients in medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper