Herbs forum: Pots vs. in ground

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Name: Debbie
Ventura County, CA
Cat Lover Region: United States of America Salvias Region: California Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Region: New York Vegetable Grower Organic Gardener Bookworm Garden Ideas: Level 1
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ChefDebbie
Aug 18, 2016 8:08 AM CST
So far, as a first time gardener, am doing pretty good with what I've planted thus far. I recently bought 1 sweet basil & potted it; last night bought another. Just did some reading about which is better to grow big & beautiful basil, potted or in ground... And I'm getting confused to which is better. I'm in Southern California, so I know I don't have to worry about frost zones or getting too cold. Any advice?
A transplanted New Yorker now living in Southern California.....

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Laz
Aug 18, 2016 2:11 PM CST
Most people use pots due to the invasive nature of some herbs, like mint. Others use pots to move their plants around in their gardens to add interest or to chase the sun. Many Gardeners sink pots to keep the mounded shape of the plant for cosmetic reasons or to deter pests.
If you are new to herbs, stick with pots. It's awesome having moveable herbs to adorn & scent your living spaces, indoors & out!

Name: Debbie
Ventura County, CA
Cat Lover Region: United States of America Salvias Region: California Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Region: New York Vegetable Grower Organic Gardener Bookworm Garden Ideas: Level 1
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ChefDebbie
Aug 18, 2016 2:21 PM CST
Yes this is my very first time planting herbs. From what I've learned, they need 6 hours of sun a day- does that mean that they need to have full sun beating down on them all day? I've also heard that can make them wilt, it's too much & like partial shade too. Confused
A transplanted New Yorker now living in Southern California.....
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
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Bonehead
Aug 18, 2016 3:18 PM CST
Herbs are like any other herbaceous plant - some like full sun, some like shade. It is always best to do a bit of research before planting out. I also learned to pay attention to their mature height, and to add to whatever is stated. Many herbs are very robust, some can be invasive. I don't do well with pots because I always forget to water them and don't have any sort of irrigation system, so all my herbs are in-ground. I do keep the mints in a spot they are corraled (between our barn and gravel driveway). Some herbs will self-seed prolifically as well, know which ones those are and either let them free-seed themselves or familiarize yourself with the young seedlings so you can pull them before they get established. I let calendula, borage, sweet annie, and feverfew grow wherever they want (within reason). Vervain (both plain and blue) both reseed aggressively and I keep those in check by early weeding. I'm hoping my parsley and cilantro will reseed themselves, although so far they have not done so reliably. Enjoy your new venture.
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Name: Debbie
Ventura County, CA
Cat Lover Region: United States of America Salvias Region: California Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Region: New York Vegetable Grower Organic Gardener Bookworm Garden Ideas: Level 1
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ChefDebbie
Aug 18, 2016 3:58 PM CST
Hmmm. I guess them being in pots can be good... If I need to move them around, I'll see what they like/don't like. I guess I can always transfer them in ground once I have that figured out. Good luck to you too & lots of successes!
A transplanted New Yorker now living in Southern California.....
Name: Karen
NM , AZ (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Aug 21, 2016 8:13 AM CST
Debbie, if you are lucky enough to have a bright kitchen window, it's very nice to grow small pots of herbs right there. In the past I've had chives, parsley, basil, mints and cilantro handy to grab whenever I wanted to use them. From your ID, I bet you'd love this!
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Name: Debbie
Ventura County, CA
Cat Lover Region: United States of America Salvias Region: California Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Region: New York Vegetable Grower Organic Gardener Bookworm Garden Ideas: Level 1
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ChefDebbie
Aug 21, 2016 9:19 AM CST
Absolutely I do. Love using fresh herbs, but never had an opportunity to grow them personally up until recently. The small apartment I used to live in had such a small patio & didn't get alot of sun.
A transplanted New Yorker now living in Southern California.....
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
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Newyorkrita
Aug 21, 2016 9:32 AM CST
Pots are very handy for herbs. I think your basil will thrive.

I have all my herbs in containers. So my basil, my dill and my cilantro all growes in pots. Seems to work very well for me that way.

And as has been mentioned if you ever decide top grow any of the mints always plant in a pot. Mints are very invasive otherwise will take over everything.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
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dyzzypyxxy
Aug 21, 2016 10:29 AM CST
Debbie, I'm another on the "pots" team here. Not only do I have really terrible soil, but my yard is mostly shaded by huge oak trees so i need to move the herb pots to keep them in the sun. Btw, yes most herbs need 6 hours or so of full direct sun to develop tasty leaves and grow in a healthy way. Many of our culinary herbs originate from the Mediterranean region - very similar to your So. Cal climate actually. They grow wild and thrive in the hot, dry climate there.

The problem with pots as stated above is that you must water them regularly. Part of this problem is solved by using really large pots that don't dry out, and I have now installed micro-irrigation throughout my back yard, that is on timers so that I can go away on trips and not come back to dead plants. I also use Earth Boxes for most of my veggies and flowers. They are like a large window box with a water reservoir in the bottom, and come with plastic covers to cover the soil on top as well which makes them incredibly water efficient and also keeps the soil temperature down. (the covers are white on one side and black on the other so I use the white side up to keep my soil cooler, except in winter) My herbs grow very happily in those, and the micro sprinklers fill up the water reservoirs daily so once I've planted them I just need to enjoy watching them grow, and harvest the delicious leaves and fruits.

Another important tip - basil starts very quickly and easily from seeds and you can sample so many more flavors if you buy seeds instead of plants. It's much cheaper, too. Look at a few websites that sell seeds and you'll see so many different types besides the regular sweet basil. I have Thai basil, Lime basil and a variegated one growing right now. I've also had Cinnamon basil, Cardinal basil (has big, beautiful flower heads) and a few others that have been so interesting. Here's a page with 20 different types available http://www.rareseeds.com/store/herbs/herbs-a-e/
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Debbie
Ventura County, CA
Cat Lover Region: United States of America Salvias Region: California Herbs Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Region: New York Vegetable Grower Organic Gardener Bookworm Garden Ideas: Level 1
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ChefDebbie
Aug 21, 2016 12:42 PM CST
Rita, that's what I have recently learned from this website the other day... But if kept under control, it's worth having.
Elaine, it amazes me how many varieties of basil there are, each having its own distinct flavor. Throughout my career, I've only used just a few of them & never have tried the rest. What I did this morning, was put my 2 basil plants in a shallow roasting pan (1 pot per pan) & watered the pan so the plant can soak up whatever it needs, whenever. I've only had these for almost a week already... And I haven't killed them yet, hopefully that is a good sign!
A transplanted New Yorker now living in Southern California.....
Name: Kat
Magnolia, Tx (Zone 8b)
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kittriana
Aug 27, 2016 4:48 PM CST
I love basils- mostly I have African Blue, but seeds dont come true if you do get seeds. Lime basil volunteers and so does my Thai basil. Also love Spicy Globe, and Cinnamon was just so-so here. We grow sweet compact box basil- it would do really well in pots. When I dont plant in ground, we use double pots with earth between them to cool the roots, or an olla jug planted beside the plant outside.
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kitt
Name: Elroy House
Montreal (Zone 5b)
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ElroyHouse
Sep 1, 2016 12:01 AM CST
If you want them to grow bigger then you could grow them in ground. But it would not make much of a difference, if you are planning on growing them pots, you could just get bigger pots.

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