Reply To: Growing 1 – 3: Planning and choosing herbs

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My plot is our balcony, overlooking gardens of the our block, west facing, with some morning but mostly afternoon sun from 3pm or so. My partner built brilliant shelves and I’ve just about got it how I like…

On the right: from top to bottow; baby sage parsley, hopefully valerian and st john’s wort, chives, more parsley, recently sown calendula, “wild flower mix”, more seeds I’ve forgotten…then clover, strawberry and lots of mystery “weeds” I’m letting come up. I identified one; willow herb.

On the left: a peonie, bravely soldiering on for a second year, dandelions and pansies and moss, calendula baby, red clover, more mystery “weeds”, including willow herb, a verbena (grown from a cutting and, after a shock, reviving beautifully – I’m drinking the first tea in months from this wonderful plant), a pumpkin that recently accidentally sprouted as I have a mini compost bin where I mix crap soil, organic food scraps, cut flower leaves, so a discarded seed from last autumn sprouted when I repotted a mandarin I’m growing (my boyfriend brought mandarins back from Madagascar and I planted one – that’s inside), some garlic, a recently gifted tomato plant, a very woody, sad rosemary, some never-picked chard gone wild, a basin of moss, a younger rosemary, another brave peonie, and the odd flowers here and there.

I’m saving more and more water from the kitchen to fill the watering can, rather than always from the tap, and keep feeding the compost bin so I eventually replenish soil. I add flower petals to the soil surface, or dead leaves, but guess I could start some kind of fertilizing recipe at some point soon.

I have a big window and some little space to grow things inside, or start seeds, which is great.

I do, however, have many many green fly, some little black flies, and recently ants have started appearing – I think they love the aphids. I’m tempted to buy in ladybirds, but also took Esther’s tip (thanks!) to grow garlic everywhere, to try to fend them off.

I’d like more flowers through the warmer months, for pollinators and the colour. I really like just letting things grow and seeing what comes up. I’d love to grow a veg or two, but hasn’t worked out great yet. And more herbs! I really struggle with rosemary, sage, so still looking for what happily grows. I have an Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs by Scott Cunningham; I’m tempted to use that to direct what I plant next.