Herbs are wonderful to grow in the home garden - they look good, they taste fantastic and they act as companions to other ornamental plants. Herbs are normally cultivated in vegetable gardens or potagers, or mixed with flowering plants in cottage gardens, but some herbs also grow superbly in hanging baskets.

If you are short of space or have areas where hanging baskets are both practical and pretty (for instance around a verandah) you can grow a wide range of healthy and useful herbs.

First, you'll need a large hanging basket (about 40cm or 16in wide) so you can grow a number of herbs together. The larger the basket the less maintenance is required, because large baskets don't dry out as quickly as small baskets do. Choose a type with a good moisture-retentive lining and sturdy handles, because a large basket becomes very heavy when full of plants and wet potting mix.

Select a position where your basket can hang without posing a threat to pedestrians, in a site which is protected from strong winds but which gets plenty of sun.

Next, fill the basket with Searles® Herb & Vegetable Mix, keeping the soil level just beneath the rim of the basket. Do not overfill the basket or the mix will wash out when you water. Tamp the mix down lightly to remove excess air pockets.

The best herbs to grow in hanging baskets are ones that don't become too tall, such as bush or Greek basil, chicory, chives, garlic, lemon balm, marjoram, oregano, parsley, radicchio, rocket, salad burnet, savory and thyme. Mint is also excellent but it should be grown in a basket on its own because it is invasive. For instant results choose seedlings rather than seed.

A 40cm basket can accommodate four or five plants spaced evenly around the inside. Excavate a hole in the mix just large enough to fit the seedling's root ball into, backfill with a little mix and tamp down very gently. Give the basket a good watering with a fine spray. Let it drain before hanging it up.

Herbs are very low maintenance plants, but for good growth and flavour, they need sunlight, regular watering and some fertilising. To test whether your basket needs water, just feel the mix and if it is dry give it a good soak.

Give your herbs a liquid feed every two weeks with a soluble fertiliser such as SeaMax® Fish & Kelp. This acts on both the roots and the foliage, encouraging abundant growth and pest and disease resistance.
So remember, for tasty herbs in hanging baskets:

• Use a hanging basket about 40cm wide and position it in full sun
• Plant seedlings into Searles® Herb & Vegetable Mix
• Water regularly and feed with SeaMaX® Fish & Kelp
Growing herbs in hanging baskets using this method guarantees success, and they look fantastic too!

Happy Gardening with Searles from the Searle family.

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