Many years ago, in my first apartment, I was given Lavender to put on my balcony. Even though I watered it regularly, the Lavender quickly stopped growing and began it’s slow, predictable, death.
When we built the Light Keepers Inn I vowed to flex my thumb to see if it couldn’t turn into some shade of green. Italians have along history of growing “kitchen gardens” which goes further back than the Romans. In my determination to reclaim my heritage and grow my own Italian herb garden I read books, and lots of them, and as a result I’ve been able to have a thriving Italian herb garden for over a year and spot many of my past plant mistakes – which happened even before I brought the plant home! Here is a couple tips about growing a herb garden at a B&B:
Find a good spot
Study the area where you’re considering starting your herb garden for a few weeks. You’ll want to understand what the wind and sun situation is like. Some herbs prefer calm, to windy, areas. Although most herbs need 8 hours of full sun, I found that you can get away with at least 5-6 hours– usually the more sun the happier and more prolific the herb.
The Dirt on… dirt
If you don’t have a patch of dirt, don’t fear. Herbs are just as happy in pots – just make sure that the pots aren’t plastic (they’ll cook-up the roots and dry-up your plant in no time). You may want to consider classic terra cotta pots (orange clay) for your herb garden.
If you do have dirt you’ll want to make sure that it has enough nutrients to keep your herbs happy -you don’t have to be a dirt-scientist to figure this out. If weeds won’t dare set root in the patch… you have a problem. Just stop by your local garden center to get some fertilizer or compost to amend the dirt. Spread out a 2-3″ inch thick layer of the stuff and start mixing it into the existing dirt with a shovel or hoe. Obviously you won’t get anything as fancy as Jamie Oliver’s but still worth a try, isn’t it?