Do you have family or friends who love to cook? Spoil them with a hanging basket of herbs or micro-greens … planted by you.
We all know the saying, ‘It’s the thought that counts’ when it comes to gifts. The more personal the better and what could be better than planting up edibles in hanging baskets for the ‘chefs’ in your life.
If you like the idea, start sowing now so that by Christmas Day you can present a basket full of lush herb seedlings that will grow and deliver herbs for the coming summer. Alternatively, sow a mix of micro-greens that will be ready for harvesting by Christmas. Whatever you chose, it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Why a hanging basket? Because they make use of eye-level space and can be suspended close to the kitchen or on the patio where they are easily accessible.
Choosing the herbs
Herbs that are ideal for hanging baskets are quick growing culinary herbs like rocket, chives, basil, and origanum as well as micro-green mixes that include lettuce, beetroot, radishes, kale, and Asian greens. You could include edible nasturtiums for colour and to trail over the edge of the basket.
The Kirchhoffs heirloom herb seed range consists of five different basils of which Sweet basil and Basil Genovese are the best culinary varieties, ordinary chives as well as garlic chives, garden rocket and wild rocket and origanum.
A good selection of micro and mini greens is supplied by RAW seeds and includes a spicy Old Mexico mix (including coriander, pepper cress), ‘Rainbow blend’ (radishes, beet, Asian greens) and ‘Oriental Mix’ (rocket, mustards and Asian greens).
Although herb seed can be sown directly into the hanging baskets, it is more manageable to start with seed trays. It is also easier to concentrate your efforts on a smaller area. Once seedlings are 4 weeks old, transplant them into the hanging basket to continue growing.
Micro greens however should be sown directly into the hanging basket as they don’t transplant.
Here’s what you need:
- Herb seed or microgreen or mini green seed, seed trays and seedling mix
- Margaret Roberts Organic Supercharger for watering the seedling mix, the seed trays once a week and thereafter the planted up hanging basket.
- A large, deep metal framed hanging basket with coir lining for good aeration and drainage.
- A commercial herb potting mix for the hanging basket or make your own from equal quantities of sifted compost, coco-peat (to hold water) and Perlite (for drainage and aeration)
Good to know
A easy way to plant up a hanging basket is to place the basket in a bucket. The bucket holds the basket steady while you are filling it and planting. Lightly water the planted seedlings and let the basket drain.
Suspend the drained basket in a position that receives morning sun and afternoon shade. The basket should be at shoulder level for easy care and harvesting.
TEXT: Alice Coetzee