Create your own herb garden

This morning I went to a workshop at Annerley Library “Create your own herb garden”. This workshop is part of the What’s on at Brisbane City Council Libraries program.

It was a great opportunity to create our own mixed potted herb garden to take home and enjoy.  The workshop was presented by ABC Radio gardening presenter, Annette McFarlane.

Annette is a great educator and I’ve attended lots of her gardening workshops in libraries around Brisbane. It was attending my first workshop with her that set me on my path towards renting my allotment and growing my own vegetables.

Today was an opportunity to learn more about herbs. Growing your own herbs has got to be one of the best gardening investments you can make. So often I find that a recipe will call for one, or perhaps two, fresh herbs and if you have to buy a bunch from the supermarket or fruitier you can part with $3 each with no problem. You might only want a sprig or two and you are left with the rest sitting in the crisper at the bottom of the refrigerator.  Good enough reason to plant a few of your favourite herbs. If you don’t have a garden – they do well in pots, as was demonstrated at this morning’s workshop.

The first hour was spent indoors as Annette took us through the ins and outs of herb growing answering our questions as she went. We then moved outdoors where morning tea was served – and then onto the practical part when we were able to get ‘down and dirty’ planting up our herb garden.

Everything was set out on tables and under Annette’s instruction we mixed the potting mix, fertiliser and coir peat before planting up our chosen herbs into the troughs provided.

I learned so much. Here are a few pics.

Annette is explaining how to “possum proof” our herbs using a fine net.

Annette McFarlane

Annette McFarlane

This is my trough of herbs. I chose the herbs that enjoy a more mediterranean climate and are happy growing together; oregano, rosemary and garlic chives. We tested the potting mix prior to planting the herbs and found the pH was a bit low.  The white powder you can see is a sprinkling of garden lime to raise the pH.

My trough of herbs

My trough of herbs

And here is the result – a herb garden to take home. All I have to do now is make sure I take that JEAN label off before I go to the shops!

A happy gardener

My herb garden

Thank you Annette. It was great fun and I learned heaps.

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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. tanglycottage
    Jul 12, 2013 @ 17:40:29

    I always leave the name label
    On by accident. Once I went to a shop opening where everyone was given small cardboard crown that had an elastic chin band. Wouldn’t you know a friend forgot and wore the tiny gold spray painted crown to a big store in a nearby town!

    Reply

  2. MrsYub
    Jul 12, 2013 @ 20:55:47

    Haha, yeah, go walking with your name on your front and strangers really get a kick out of using it, hay!
    I love your herb pot 🙂 Where are you going to put it? I have a herb pot, too! It has Vietnamese mint, parsley and dill in it. Its a blessing as two of those (not parsley, lol) I never could grow in the ground!

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 13, 2013 @ 06:26:29

      Dear Mrs Yub,
      I remembered to remove my label before people started talking to me by name out at the shops.
      I gave my pot of herbs a good watering when I arrived home and it is now sitting on a table on my balcony where it will get full sun. I am now hooked on making these little herb gardens and will be off to the garden centre today to buy stuff to plant up another one.
      Pleased to hear of your success with your herbs in the pot. Even with a garden, or in my case a little allotment, the best place to grow your herbs in my opinion is just outside the kitchen door, and in my little unit that means out on the balcony.

      Reply

  3. narf77
    Jul 13, 2013 @ 04:38:51

    What a great assortment of herbs Jean and you can plant out that rosemary when it starts to outgrow its space in your allotment :).

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 13, 2013 @ 06:30:17

      Hiya Fran. It was great going to this herb workshop. I grow mint, basil and mountains of parsley over at the allotment. Each time I go I pick a ‘bouquet’ of herbs which I stick in a jar on the kitchen bench, for their comforting presence and for culinary use. (Getting a bit poetic there!) But I thought it was really useful to have a much wider variety of herbs growing in these troughs on my balcony just outside my kitchen in my little unit. Handy for a little snip.

      Reply

  4. Barb
    Jul 13, 2013 @ 12:08:26

    Jean, agree completely with your comments about Annette – she has been my guide for our vegie patch via one of her books. Isn’t it great that this sort of information is available to gardeners at little or no cost. Enjoy your blog immensely.
    Barb

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 13, 2013 @ 13:43:58

      Thank you for your kind words Barb. Pleased you are enjoying the blog. I think we are so lucky to have Annette do these workshops around Brisbane libraries. All funded by Brisbane City Council. And the lovely thing about Annette’s workshops, as well as the knowledge she imparts is that we all get to take a plant (or two) home with us. I think that is a wonderful way to get/keep folk interested in gardening, give them something to keep alive!

      Reply

  5. cecilia
    Jul 14, 2013 @ 10:10:30

    What a great way to learn more about growing herbs, I love that the library was the venue.. excelllent.. Oh how I long for this kind of opportunity out here in the boon-docks.. Lovely to meet you jean! c

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 15, 2013 @ 07:43:28

      Hi Celi, The council libraries over here in Brisbane are very active places. There are rooms where groups can get together and where they can hold workshops. A few weeks ago I went to Mt Ommaney library where the local schools were putting on short concerts. I heard a beautiful choir while I was there and other students were just setting up for a Big Band concert. We were all invited to take tea and cakes while we were there. I remember it was pouring with rain outside and I had decided to retreat to the library to browse the books and DVD’s. Didn’t expect to be so royally entertained. Celi, I am now going to check in to your blog to see what you are up to. I look at the lovely photographs of your farm and of your animals and think there are lots of other interesting things going on “in the book-docks”. Thank you for visiting Celi, lovely to meet you.

      Reply

  6. Heidi @ lightlycrunchy
    Jul 14, 2013 @ 11:04:58

    I once forgot a hairnet on after a cooking class.. it was quite embarrassing when it was pointed out in the pub afterwards. Oops!

    Enjoy your herb garden. I have some basil growing like crazy in pots right now that is destined to become pesto for the freezer very soon.

    Reply

    • Allotment adventures with Jean
      Jul 15, 2013 @ 08:02:16

      Hello Heidi. A hairnet! (I sound like that line from the Oscar Wilde play “a handbag!”).
      I have already received a comment from Tangly Cottage who has a friend who wore a party crown to the shops, so really, I suppose wearing my name badge couldn’t be considered too eccentric after all.
      Enjoy your basil. My basil comes and goes but I love it when it gets to that bushy stage and you have enough to make pesto. It’s struggling a bit at the moment but I still managed to pick a few sprigs yesterday. I have some tomatoes which are nice and ripe so with the tomatoes and basil I’ll be making a lovely sauce to go with my pasta for dinner. I read in one of Jamie Oliver’s books that we shouldn’t turn our nose up at really ripe tomatoes as they have more flavour and are great for making pasta sauce. (Not word perfect of course, but that is the gist of his message. And that’s what I do.)

      Reply

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