In this video, Beverly Welch is joined by Ann Wheeler of Log House Herbs. Bev and Ann discussed different ways to grow fall herbs in containers.
♪ [music] ♪ – [Beverly] Hi, welcome. I’m Beverly Welch with The Arbor Gate in Tomball, Texas, here today with Ann Wheeler of Log House Herbs. – [Anne] Hi, Beverly. – Hello, Anne. Thanks for joining us this morning. So fall on the Gulf coast. We look forward to this season every year. It can be quite short or quite long, but we never know when it’s coming. One of our favorite things to do is grow in containers. – Yeah. – They’re so easy to maintain. They’re space-saving, maintenance-free, just a lot of reasons why containers are a great way to go. And herbs, of course, are one of our favorite plants. So Ann, what should we start with this time of year in choosing our container, and what are we going to plant? – Well, those are all good questions and splendid observations about growing herbs at this time of the year. Beverly and I decided a long time ago to call October 1st “New Year’s Day” for herbs because, this time of the year, the worst of the heat is over, and it’s a great time to start these things. They will grow and produce herbs for you throughout what we call winter, which is really an extended sort of autumn for most folk. – A lesser summer. – A lesser summer. But if we start now and we choose the right containers and we combine things in an advantageous way, we’ll be very, very fortunate to have herbs for a longer period, and we’ll be able to maintain those herbs in the same size pot we started them in because during the cooler months, they’ll grow more slowly, and herbs are famous for their really bad mannered roots. They are voracious growers, and that’s because they’re actually weeds. – But that’s why we love them. – But that’s why we love them. They’re kind of like us. So here’s a thought. If you choose a pot no smaller than this, you can go upwards from that. You can plant herbs in a pot the size of that giant one down there if you want to, and that way, you can manage to grow and prosper with something that starts out in a huge pot like this pineapple sage does. And it’ll bloom, and it’ll produce usable leaves throughout the year. – Wonderful fragrance, though. The bright, vibrant red salvia type tubular blooms are big attractors for the hummingbirds and butterflies. – Hummingbirds, butterflies, bees will come to this plant. The only limitation here is that the size of the plant projects the size of the pot that would be needed for it. It would be not useful to plant this in this pot. – This fits for this product. – It would look pretty from day one, but it wouldn’t be long-lasting at all, so we wouldn’t want to do that. What we like to do this time of the year… and it’s an advantage for us this time of the year…Let’s take one of our cool season herbs. We have cilantro, lovage, the parslies, the sages, the dills, and fennels. All of those things…nearly everything except basil can be planted this time of year to good effect, right, and do well. So you could take one of these… – May I help you? – Yep. And then we have an Italian parsley that would be very pretty with that and a lovely little… – calibrachoa million bells, and most petunias here on the Gulf coast… Our winters are so mild, that will bloom all season, really until May of next year. – And it’ll be such a beautiful spot of color and a useful herb, and the whole thing is fragrant. – Right. And, you know, many people complain about having trouble and issues growing cilantro and parsley, dill, and fennel because they wait until spring to plant them. And, you know, fall is the time to garden on the Gulf coast. – It really is. They won’t bolt and go to seed as fast as they would planted in March or April when they first come out in the nurseries. That’s when everyone’s excited about planting and we want to, but that is a shorter growing season for this plant. So that’s one thought. Now, what I would do…let’s say these were my choices, and I would do this, and I would do it right now today, and they would be planted in Arbor Gate Soil fertilized with Arbor Gate Blend, and these would be my fallback things if I had any problems I wanted to solve, and I’ll say a word about why in just a minute. But when spring comes…let’s say mid to late May…this pot might look better if this were taken completely out of it and give the space to these to continue to grow, bloom, and produce the seeds they’re going to produce. So any questions, ma’am? – Not so far. Not so far. – It makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it? If you’re growing things in the cooler season, their roots just won’t expand as quickly. They’re still going to grow. They’re still going to produce. – Plenty of cilantro and parsley to last you all season long. – And you’ll be very glad that you have them nearby. – So what were some of the other things that you chose? – Well, this is curled parsley for prettiness, and this is Italian parsley for flavor, and then I chose a dill. This is a bouquet dill, and it’s noted for being a little bit shorter in height, but very bushy and dense. Lots of dill for you there. – And, you know, the fragrance on these plants…I love the fragrance…but in the springtime, what you’ll find with your dill and fennel is they’re larval food for the swallowtails. – Absolutely. Never forget that if you have herbs out there, you’re going to have butterflies, bees, some even hummingbirds. Let’s see. I wanted to point out that lavenders, also… It’s very beneficial to plant lavenders in the cooler seasons. Our summers are just really hard on them. So if you plant them in a nice pot this size and put them somewhere where, in the worst of the summer heat, you can give them some shade in the afternoon. One of the great benefits of having them in a pot…you can move them around and give them a little shelter from that terrible sun. – You know, and given the volume of rain that we’re apt to get from time to time, it’s a great way to grow lavender here. It’s keeping it up out of the ground where it’s got good drainage and good air flow. – My thought with regard to growing herbs in containers…either you can have a decorative objective or you can have a gardening objective. Either or. Now, this and another plant in this pot would be the decorative approach that you might take right now. – Right. Maybe this beautiful Lobularia. – That gorgeous little plant. It’ll drape over the edge, and it’ll be beautiful throughout the… – Actually, almost year-round. It’s a cross between alyssum and Lobelia, so it’s a very sturdy alyssum-looking plant with that wonderful fragrance. – And it’s so delicate and a great foil for these lavenders who are very sturdy-looking plants. So towards the end of the cooler months, I might be inclined to take that one out, and I might even be inclined to divide these two and let one of these lavenders dominate the pot. – Perfect. – So you don’t always have to have a great big pot to have a beautifully full plant in it. And as Beverly and I have talked about many times, when worse comes to worse, you can cut many of these things off. I have one here just for that purpose. This is Mexican mint marigold. This is a plant that will be blooming in the fall, and it’s most gorgeous. It’ll be really nice most of the winter. It’ll go dormant, it’ll come back, and it’ll grow, grow, grow. If it gets too big and ratty-looking, you can cut it right down, and it’ll refill the pot… – Instantly. – …almost before your eyes. – And, you know, this is our tarragon substitute on the Gulf coast. Tarragon itself is so hard to grow, but this guy is a champ. – It’s a champ, and it’s a beautiful plant for a container. It truly is. Also, another beauty in a container is this [inaudible] sage. I find that this is one of the most forgiving sages of all, and it can easily be kept in-bounds, and little bad-looking bits can be easily clipped off wherever there’s a branch. And that brings me to something else, which is true of all herbs whether they’re in the pot or the ground. They really do need to be groomed and made and used. Using is the best way to groom them, isn’t it? – Yes. – But you don’t need to see a straggly herb. You just keep it shaped up the way you want it year-round. – And so all I need for this project then is pick my pot. We didn’t talk about this, but the Better Than Rocks gives us really excellent drainage, doesn’t let the soil block the hole, kind of filters the water, if you will. It’s reusable. – Yes. You can wash these out and reuse them. – And then the good draining soil, Arbor Gate Soil Complete, gives you an organic, well-draining soil. – Filled with amendments, micorrhizals, spores, and so forth. – Exactly. – I plant everything with a goodly handful of Arbor Gate Blend mixed into the soil. Throughout the growing season, I also sprinkle it on top, and I take a fork and just rake it in a little bit. When I see things that look not as healthy as I’d like for them to, I use fish emulsion and/or Hasta Gro. This is more of a… – Just a little boost. You know, when you feed with a liquid fertilizer, it’s a faster-acting… – It’s available to the plant through the roots right straight away. – And this can be used as a foliar feed as well. – Yes, it can. And this has even been recommended to me to solve problems where you know there’s some sort of nutrition problem, but you don’t know exactly what it is. Fish emulsion is just, like, the greatest vitamin in the world. – And really, the only control, other than that, for fungal or insect pests is Neem, which is going to be more organic. Here on the Gulf coast, we have to be a little mindful of temperatures. This can be a little temperature-sensitive in the heat of the summer, but for the fall and winter, as we’re discussing, this can be used anytime. – And in the greenhouse, we found this solved the problems of powdery mildew, which sometimes will, you know… – We get a little humid. – A little humid, and it gets on the underside of the leaves of the sages sometimes, but this is a very good way to take care of that. – So a minimal amount of products, but a great selection of plants, and an endless selection of containers. – Absolutely. – Well, thank you, Anne. – It was my pleasure. ♪ [music] ♪