Herbs in a Strawberry Planter

On May 20th I planted a collection of herbs into my terracotta strawberry planter. I tried growing strawberries in it a couple years ago, but I found they just dried out . I got very little fruit, and they eventually died. Most herbs thrive in the drier conditions provided by terracotta. So, I made up a combination mix for this planter. It was half organic potting mix, and half soil given to me from a neighbour. You can’t get much more frugal than free; however, I’m a bit of a control freak about details. I was told there was coffee, and seaweed in the soil. I don’t know how much of either, so it’s difficult for me to gauge how much of other amendments to add. Apparently, coffee’s great for acid loving plants, and worms especially love it while slugs don’t. Yea for that. So, I didn’t add any green sand or other soil amendments, other than vermiculite and perlite. I will say the soil is lovely and dark and full of worms.

a strawberry planter full of herbs with extra rosemary and marjoram on the side

Here’s a good tip, that I wish I had considered before I started this: when planting a strawberry planter, plant as you fill. So, in other words, don’t fill the whole container full of your soil or mix, and then try to cram the poor plants into the little holes, the way I did. (Marjoram is a wimpy ass plant, by the way.) It still hasn’t properly recovered from the abuse. Fortunately, I did plant some in its own terracotta pot as well, as it will need to come in for the winter with the rosemary. I do love the smell of marjoram, and apparently it has a beneficial effect on the plants around it, improving their growth and flavour. I’ve never cooked with it before, but I feel fancier just knowing that I have some growing on the patio.

The other plants in the planter are tarragon, italian parsley, sage, thyme (which is now blooming), winter savory, and I seeded some genovese basil in the top. It took 12 days to sprout. I can’t wait to make pesto, one of my favourites.

Strawberries and Beans

These notes are from May 12, when I constructed my first large self-watering container. I converted a large storage tote. I bought four of them when they were on sale for this purpose. Well, one of them I’m using as a soil mixing place as I don’t have a wheelbarrow, and they’re really quite expensive. Plus, I’ve never seen the need for one, having only a patio. I can move stuff around in the wagon most of the time.

I would recommend for anyone constructing their own containers that they wear gloves. It took quite a deal of finessing and time to make my first one to make sure I didn’t cut the lid too small
thereby making it useless. So, I ended up with quite a blister, due to the tin snips. I took a break and planted the rosemary. I put it in its own container, rather than in the large strawberry planter that I was planning for herbs, because I need to bring it in at winter time. The last time I had rosemary outside in a pot I killed it by leaving it out.

I used the same mix for the large tote, which will be home to strawberries and bush beans, as for the watercress except I added about 1/2 C of bone meal to it. I planted 6 beans, a tricolour mix, with the plan to plant another row after these sprout. The beans started popping through the soil after after 11 days. It was a very exciting moment for me. I love how thrilled I am every time I see something sprout. I think it’s good for the self esteem to know that you’ve helped something to have life.

I bought the strawberries from a local garden centre, and although I love this place for many things I would not buy those little cardboard packages of berries again. There were only 9 in there instead of 10, and two of them were dead. I lost another one after planting. Fortunately by that time, I had purchased lovely large strawberries from a local grower at my farmers’ market. So, I will definitely start there the next time I need to buy some. The strawberries and beans are both thriving now, and I need to plant my second row of beans.

strawberries and beans thriving in a self watering container