Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Just outside your back door...

Here is another post from my wonderful dad. Dad has always been a great gardener and is such an outdoors man. The original boy scout!  He has a wealth of gardening and pest control knowledge so I thought let him share some more of it here.

Growing herbs in pots and planters for easy use

Hi to all of Fi's readers,

Thank you for all the kind response to my post on getting rid of scale on lemon trees. Fi has asked me to share some more of my entomological and gardening knowledge on her blog. I hope you enjoy this series.

Not having any soil on your house block can restrict your gardening but can be compensated by creating above ground garden beds and using pots right near your back door to have herbs and salad greens readily on hand. 

Growing herbs in pots and planters for easy use

We live on quite a steep rocky slope surrounded by bushland near beautiful Wiseman's Ferry and so a large flat vegetable and herb garden isn't possible. To overcome this, I have built a couple of planter boxes right outside our back door. Four or five levels of treated pine can be used to form a planter box which can be filled with compost and sown to a range of salad greens, herbs and quick growing vegetables.  A trellis at the back can be used for climbing peas or beans.

Growing herbs in pots and planters for easy use

On the up-hill side I have lots of pots on shelves in the retainer wall.  Pots of various sizes can be arranged on shelves or ledges at ascending heights to make the most of a small area.  They are ideal for herbs such as chives, thyme, parsley, mint, sage, rosemary and basil.  Even a pot with several endive or rocket seedlings can produce leaves for many months.

Growing herbs in pots and planters for easy use
Growing herbs in pots and planters for easy use

Regular fertilising and watering every two to three days are important.  When a leafy crop finishes, you can quickly replant with another so that there is a continuous supply throughout the year.

We also grow climbing peas and beans on the trellis in the planter or on stakes in another planter as you can see in the photo below.  These are Telephone variety peas and packets of seeds are available in nurseries or Bunnings.  The growing advice on the back of the packet is all you need to know!  It it so rewarding to pick the young pods for inclusion in salads or stir fries, or wait for the pods to fill out and shell out the fresh peas for cooking.  Climbing beans can also be grown this way.

Growing herbs in pots and planters for easy use

The photo below shows chocolate mint plants which have been struck from small slips taken from the mother plant (middle pot in the first photo above).  If you haven't tried it before, Chocolate Mint tastes exactly as it sounds - very chocolatey and it is a delicious addition to salads. Old pots from previous seedling purchases, a handful of potting mix, push in the slip, add water and there are 20 items for sale at one of my other daughters'  school fete for fundraising.

Growing herbs in pots and planters for easy use

By using your imagination to use the limited space you may have will provide many tasty and useful plants ready to harvest within a few paces of your kitchen.

I hope this inspires you to grow some fresh produce in your own gardens, no matter how small they may be.

Bye for now, 
Mike (Fi's Dad)


  1. Hi Mike, what a great and informative post, thanks. I have recently started a small vege garden. The kids helped me plant peas, strawberries and tomatoes but something is eating them. We got some bird netting yesterday to protect the plants but I am not sure if it is birds or bugs getting at them. Time will tell I guess!

    xx Karen

  2. wow.. what an interesting garden you have! i love all the pots overflowing with veggies and herbs.
    cheryl x

  3. Wow Mike, Just love this post, great information for those folks that do not have a lot of room or inclination to dig a veggie patch. I love how you placed string around your trellis! What a good idea to help train your peas, I'll be doing that from now on!
    Many thanks x

  4. Great post!

    After the post about the citrus trees I am pleased to report that I don't have any bugs, and they are looking so much better now.

    All this makes me want to buy large troughs and get cracking on some vegie planting!


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