Contain yourself

In the mornings, when its cool and the house is still casting some shade on the back patio I have been working on my herb garden. It’s not done – I still need to pull out the river rock edging and replace it with something I can mow over because I despise using the weed trimmer – but it’s coming along nicely.

One of the crucial elements in my “renovation” of the herb garden was to contain the invasive species. I had already done this with the marjoram a former neighbor brought over when it became clear that it was bent on world domination. My oregano, a kissing cousin of marjoram, and my tenacious thyme were also starting to advance on their neighbors in a menacing way, so I’ve contained them, too.

My cheap and easy trick is as follows:

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Snip the bottom out of a good-sized nursery pot using tin snips. Pruners will do, but tin snips will be more effective and cause less swearing and wrist pain. For my thyme, shown here, I used a squat 2 gallon pot the former owners of our house thoughtfully left behind. (Along with half a trampoline, a sectional sofa, three 90-gallon garbage cans full of broken glass, and the overwhelming smell of patchouli in the spare bathroom.)

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Dig out your plant and divide it if necessary. My thyme was way out of hand so I cut out and kept only about 1/3 of it – which is still more than I’ll ever use of my favorite herb.

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Sink the bottomless pot into the hole until the rim is level with or just above soil level and replant your would-be-colonizer inside the pot. Water very generously for a few days – especially if you, like me, are foolishly performing such a trick at the hottest, driest time of year.

— Amanda

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