To grow your own herbs does not require much space (use a pot or the spokes of an old cartwheel. Grow mint and chives in pots, or else they can grow too fast, and go out of control. Don’t grow near windows as it makes birds confused (see how to stop birds flying into windows).
Keep Pets Safe Near Herbs
See toxic plants to avoid near pets (also avoid cocoa/pine/rubber mulch near pets, and avoid fresh compost nearby, as it contains mould). Use humane safe slug & snail deterrents and use no-dig garden methods. Herbs that are toxic to pets include:
- Pennyroyal (mint)
- Chives (anything in the onion family)
- Bay laurel
- Garden cress
Safer herbs include milder basil, rosemary, coriander and thyme. Rosemary will attract bees, so keep furry friends away. Lavender is not the most toxic herb for pets, but in large amounts could harm. Also keep pets away from herbs that attract bees (like lavender or rosemary – see natural remedies for bee stings).
For home use, do not use strong scents/herbs nor essential oils near pets (esp. cats, birds, ferrets and reptiles). Don’t use on beds if pets sleep with you, and air rooms if using herbal perfumes, air fresheners or scented candles (avoid citronella near pets).
Grow Your Own Herbs
- Fast-growing annuals are mild basil, basil, rosemary, coriander, thyme & dill. Perennial herbs take time (thyme, sage, rosemary, chives and mint).
- Don’t scorch pots in the sun, nor have them face west or east or they won’t get enough sun. Water plants in the morning (yellow leaves are due to over-watering).
- Harvest little at a time. Freeze chopped herbs in ice-cube trays.
- Garden cress is an edible herb (better than supermarket cress that’s watered down with rapeseed oil). Cress is toxic to pets. Also known as ‘poor man’s pepper’, it’s good to add a tangy taste to sandwiches, soups and stews.
- Jekka’s Herb Kits (Bristol) include hand-mixed seedling compost and 5 packets of herb seeds. The Herb Patch also grows organic seeds on a smallholding in the Derwent Valley, on the border of Durham/Northumberland.
- Complete Container Herb Gardening is a book by a certified horticulturalist. Sue Goetz walks you through growing easy edible herbs with healing properties, for your patio, rooftop, balcony or porch. Discover best herbs to grow, ideal containers and how to tend your herb garden. Includes a dozen container recipes