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  • Writer's pictureToni Kenyon

Best tips for watering your herb planter watering your mini herb planter
Over watering can be as bad as under watering

How much water do my herbs need?

It's a question that I get asked and one that can be answered in so many ways.

Oftentimes we don't talk about the fact that many people kill their pot plants by over watering them.

Plant roots need oxygen to thrive. Too much water is as likely to kill your potted herbs as not enough water.

It's easy enough to tell when a potted plant needs water, because it droops and the leaves look sad, but it's a little more difficult to tell if you're over watering your plants--because the plants can exhibit exactly the same symptoms for over watering as they do for under watering.

I like to use the 'finger test' to work out whether or not a pot plant has enough water, or needs watering. Watch the video below and I'll show you what I do.

Here are some of the things you also need to ask yourself when you're thinking about water and your herbs:

  • How hot is your climate?

  • How many herbs do you have in your pot?

  • Are the herbs in your pot water loving herbs, or do they prefer damp conditions?

  • When was the last time you watered?

  • Is your soil good?

  • Am I keeping the soil covered?

So, let's take the questions above one at a time:

How hot is your climate?

I live in a sub-tropical climate. It's pretty darn hot in summer and we don't get much rain. The unglazed pot that this mini herb garden is living in also means that any water evaporates quickly in the mid-summer heat. To avoid parched plants, I put the pot in a small tray of water to make sure that the plants always have sufficient water. As we move into the cooler months, I will remove that tray so that water can drain from the pot.

If you live in a cooler climate, you won't need to keep your pots in a moat, or water them as often. Over watering is just as damaging as under watering. You need to work out what's 'just right' for your plants.

How many herbs do you have in your pot?

There are eight herbs in my pot.

Eight herbs moving water from the soil into their leaves and then having that water evaporate. It's simple logic that they are going to need a lot more water than say, one herb in the same size pot.

It's not just the number of herbs in the pot, but also their size. As you can imagine, three months on from planting, these herbs in the video are now taking up a lot more water than they were doing when they babies three months ago.

Are the herbs in your pot water loving herbs, or do they prefer damp conditions?

It makes sense that water loving herbs and herbs that prefer damp conditions are going to need more water than herbs that come from the mediterranean region. In this mini herb planter I've made sure to put the herbs that prefer damp conditions in the lower part of the pot and the herbs that prefer drier conditions at the top.

You can check out how the mini herb planter was planted here.

When was the last time you watered?

Setting up a regular watering routine will help you learn how much your plants need. You can use the simple moisture checking method that I explain in the video each day and you'll soon learn how much and how often your herbs need watering.

Is your soil good?

It really all does begin with the soil.

You can't just dig some dirt from your garden, put it in a pot and plant herbs in it. Herbs are pretty indestructible once they get going, but they do need a good start in life.

I explain in the planting video that I use compost and straw and comfrey leaves to create a natural environment for my herbs to grow inside the pot. I continue to top up the container with compost and leaf litter and bits of organic matter to create a mini forest floor. All of these things break down into good soil. As I continue to feed the soil, then the herbs grow well. Good soil holds water and nutrients which in turn feed your herbs.

It's worth investing in good soil and continuing to invest in that soil by feeding it

Am I keeping the soil covered?

Nature abhors a vacuum. If you don't cover your soil, she will--with what many people consider to be weeds.

Some of those weeds I consider food and you can learn about that by checking out my Six Week Weed Wisdom Challenge

Keeping your soil covered with a layer of compost or mulch also ensures that a large portion of the moisture remains in the soil.

Just because you're growing in a pot doesn't mean that you can't treat the soil at the top of that pot like nature treats her forest floors. Keep that soil covered!

Love & lettuce,

Toni xx


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