e-Wise Woman: Health tips for women on the go | Issue 2 | Summer 2011

Grow Your Own

Container gardening expert Lou Credeur of Aunt Betty's Garden shares her secrets for creating beautiful container herb garden creations. It's easier than you might think. Lou began her container planting business, Aunt Betty's Garden, in honor of her Aunt Betty, who Lou says could make anything grow. And according to Lou, a successful herb garden needs just two things: sun and well-drained soil.

Step 1: Plot or pot -- Choose your garden.
It could be a small, sunny plot to the side of your patio, yard or balcony or it could be an ordinary flowerpot or a decorative urn.

Step 2: Add the soil. Make sure it drains.
"I recommend using an organic mix," says Lou. "Especially considering you'll be eating what grows in it. If the planter you're using doesn't have holes, put gravel or pieces of a smashed terra cotta pot in the bottom, otherwise the water will sit and not drain properly."

Step 3: Look for healthy plants.
"Choose plants that are bushy rather than tall, so when they grow they're full," says Lou. "You want plants with a sturdy base. Leaves should look green and very lush. If leaves are yellow, it means they've gotten too much water."

Step 4: Choose variety.
"Look for herbs with different textures and colors," advises Lou. "Pair a nice parsley, with a frilly leaf, with some spiky rosemary. There's variegated sage with purple, and lime green leaves. There's an Asian basil that has small, dark purple leaves.

Step 5: Arrange your creation.
"Herbs don't mind being a little bit crowded," Lou advises. "Place the larger plants in back, then intersperse some different shades and colors. Put large leaves next to small leaves, put dark things and unusual things in to break them up. Pair a frilly with a spiky, mix up textures and that keeps it interesting. Some plants, like oregano and thyme, look nice when you let them trail over the edge of your pot. It's like organizing a room. Play with it -- it's live sculpture."

Step 6: Maintain, harvest, enjoy.
"If you've used organic mix, don't worry about fertilizing," says Lou. "Only water when they're dry and start to droop. If you plant cilantro, keep in mind you have to re-plant it two to three times during the season. It goes to seed every few weeks. If you have basil, keep cutting it back as it flowers, or it will get bitter."

See examples of Lou's creations.

Improving health. Enhancing lives.

The Basics

  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Chives
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Sage