- Growing Herb Plants Together: Best Herbs To Grow Together In A Pot
- Herbs to Grow Together in a Pot
- What Herbs will Grow in One Pot?
- The 7 Easiest Herbs to Grow in an Apartment Garden
- 10 Tips to Grow Herbs in an Apartment Garden Like a Pro
- 1. Start small
- 2. Choose herbs you like to eat
- 3. Pick the right spot
- 4. Don’t put your herbs together, unless they like one another
- 5. Give your plants room to grow
- 6. Inspect your herbs for pests
- 7. Don’t overwater your herbs
- 8. Use high-quality potting soil
- 9. Water the soil, not the leaves
- 10. Don’t let your herbs sit in water
- The Takeaway
- These 13 Herbs Will Thrive in Container Gardens
- Best Herbs for Container Gardens
- Quick and Easy DIY Container Herb Gardens
- 1. Grow Herbs in a Strawberry Pot
- 2. Creatively Repurpose Containers
- 3. Make a DIY Wine Box Herb Garden
- One Pot Combinations
Growing Herb Plants Together: Best Herbs To Grow Together In A Pot
Having your own herb garden is a thing of beauty. There’s nothing better than fresh herbs to enliven even the most bland dish, but not everyone has garden space for an herb garden. Luckily, most herbs do very well grown together in containers. Mixing herbs in a pot isn’t as easy as it sounds, however. There are some general rules of thumb when growing herb plants together.
Read on to find out what herbs will grow in one pot and other helpful information about growing herb plants together.
Herbs to Grow Together in a Pot
Consider height when selecting herbs to grow together in a pot. Tall herbs, like fennel, will look rather ridiculous for the scale of a smaller pot, and they may even become too top heavy, causing the container to fall over. If possible, mix in some trailing herbs to cascade over the container edges.
Be sure to choose plants with common irrigation needs when mixing herbs in a pot. While pretty much all herbs love sun, some have more water requirements than others. For instance, rosemary, thyme and sage like it fairly dry, but tender basil and parsley need more consistent moisture. Also, if you know that you are forgetful and likely to miss a watering here and there, you might want to select only those herbs that are drought tolerant.
Plant mint by itself. All mint has a tendency to rampantly grow over and into other plants’ space. Be careful about which mint varieties are grown together. For example, if you plant a lemon mint with spearmint, they might cross pollinate. While this might turn out to be an interesting experiment, the results might be less than palatable.
What Herbs will Grow in One Pot?
Quite a few culinary herbs hail from the Mediterranean and, thus, share a love of the sun and the need for fairly arid soil. Examples of Mediterranean herbs that will grow well together in containers are:
Some of these herbs can get rather woody and large after a time and might do better if transplanted into the garden when they get too large.
Creeping thyme looks lovely grown with prostrate rosemary and a variegated sage, a slower growing cultivar of sage.
Moisture loving herbs such as tarragon, cilantro, and basil should be grouped together. Parsley should be included as well but be aware that parsley is a biennial and will die back after 2 years.
For a truly aromatic pairing, try growing lemon verbena and lemon thyme together. The lemon thyme will spread around the roots of the verbena to help retain moisture, plus the combination of the two will smell divine.
Whether you have no outdoor space, a small side yard, or a teeny balcony that’s really a fire escape, you can grow the apartment garden of your dreams.
Nurturing something living and green does wonders for making you feel good. And what better way to start than with herbs? They’re easy plants to grow in small spaces, they smell beautiful, you can cook with them, and they’re pretty to look at. What more could you ask for?
“Herbs are great to grow in an apartment garden because many of them require a minimal amount of space,” says Susan Brandt, co-founder of Blooming Secrets, a gardening website that provides personalized selections based off location and gardening know-how. “And, once you figure out the amount of sunlight you have, you can figure out the right herbs that will work for you.”
Besides easily squeezing into already tiny spaces, like planters and pots, herbs are also easy to grow. (Even for black thumbs!) And you can grow them outdoors and indoors.
“In the world of indoor gardening, they really aren’t difficult plants, when compared to trying to bring an orchid back into bloom or keeping a tropical elephant ear happy in a typical apartment,” says Jon VanZile, a Master Gardener, previous houseplants and indoor gardening expert at About.com (now Spruce.com), and author of “Houseplants for a Healthy Home.”
“As long as you can give them enough sunlight and regular water, a little herb garden is a great way to bring all sorts of good things into your living space.”
The 7 Easiest Herbs to Grow in an Apartment Garden
Most herbs are relatively low-maintenance plants. But some are more finicky than others. Based on ease, function, and use, these seven herbs are great picks for everyone from newbie gardeners to experienced growers.
Calling all pesto lovers! Basil is one of those herbs that isn’t exactly cheap when you buy it fresh at the grocery store. So, you can get a lot of bang for your buck when you grow your own.
Basil thrives in pots or containers. Just be sure to use a rich, organic potting soil.
Sunlight: Place basil in a sunny windowsill where it can get six hours of sun. It doesn’t like cold. So, bring it in indoors when temperatures dip.
Water: You can let the soil dry out slightly between waterings.
Harvesting: Don’t be afraid to cut your basil. If you don’t prune it (and use those yummy leaves), it will grow up and up until it sprouts flowers and eventually dies. Instead, harvest your basil regularly so it grows out instead of up. You can harvest up to a third of the plant starting from the top and moving down. Make sure to cut the stems right at a pair of leaves that way those two leaves will branch off and continue to grow.
Quick-growing chives are an easy herb to grow both indoors and outside. “Chives can take a little while to grow from seeds, so you might want to buy a plant,” Brandt says. They grow 10 to 12 inches tall.
Sunlight: Chives will do well in a sunny windowsill.
Water: Chives like damp soil. Don’t let them dry out.
Harvesting: When the plants reach at least six inches tall, you can start trimming one to two inches for use. (And to promote growth!) If you do trim more, don’t cut all the way down to the root. Leave at least a half inch or more so it can continue to grow.
“Mint is great to grow in an apartment garden,” Brandt says. “It comes in many different varieties and some of our favorites are spearmint, peppermint, and chocolate mint.” Mint is an aggressive grower, so it’s perfect to contain in a pot.
Sunlight: Mint can tolerate some shade. Place mint in a windowsill where it can get good morning sun.
Water: Mint likes ample moisture. Don’t let it dry out.
Harvesting: Trim back mint regularly. You’ll extend its harvest if you pinch off flowers before blooming.
Fragrant oregano loves heat and full sun. So, if you have a balcony or deck, place it outside. If you only have a windowsill available, choose the Greek oregano variety. “Greek oregano has the best flower for culinary use and is the easiest to grow indoors,” Brandt says. Like mint, oregano spreads easily, so it’s great for containing in a pot for an urban garden.
Sunlight: Place your oregano on a windowsill, balcony, or deck that gets six to eight hours of sunlight. “The more sun the plant receives, the stronger the flavor,” Brandt says.
Water: Give the plant a thorough watering when the soil is dry to the touch. Don’t overwater.
Harvesting: When the plant is at least four inches tall, trim it back at a pair of leaves to encourage it to grow out not up.
This green garnish is a great herb to have on hand in the kitchen. Keep in mind that parsley is a slow grower. “Be sure not to harvest too many leaves at any one time,” Brandt says.
Sunlight: Like chives and mint, parsley doesn’t require a ton of light. It’s adaptable! Place it on a sunny kitchen windowsill or in a more shady area on your balcony.
Water: Parsley likes moist soil, so don’t let it dry out.
Harvesting: When you want to snip off a few springs to use, trim from the outside of the plant.
Don’t skip adding this hardy low-maintenance plant to your apartment garden. While you can grow it indoors, rosemary lets off its divine piney scent when the sun hits it, so consider putting it outdoors on a balcony or deck.
Luckily for urbanites, rosemary grows great in pots. “It is capable of growing into a larger, woody plant if it’s allowed to get older,” VanZile says.
Sunlight: Rosemary prefers full sun and will need six to eight hours of sunlight a day to thrive indoors.
Water: Rosemary doesn’t like a lot of water. It can dry out between waterings. “The soil doesn’t have to be all that rich either,” Brandt says.
Harvesting: Like basil, don’t fret over cutting it. You need to trim your rosemary considerably for it to grow. Once your rosemary starts shooting skyward, trim all of the stalks back to about four inches to promote growth. This will encourage it to bush out rather than grow up.
Thyme doesn’t need a lot of TLC. This aromatic herb grows similarly to mint and rosemary and is great for a pot or container.
Sunlight: Like oregano, thyme requires a lot of light. Make sure to put it outdoors or inside in a south-facing window.
Water: Thyme doesn’t like a lot of water. It can dry out between waterings.
Harvesting: Like rosemary, thyme needs regular pruning to encourage growth. Trim sprigs as needed for cooking and cut to promote growth.
10 Tips to Grow Herbs in an Apartment Garden Like a Pro
Don’t get too overwhelmed by each herb’s specific needs. A little general gardening know-how can help you make the most of your herb garden. Here are some gardening tips from the pros.
1. Start small
“If you’re new to growing herbs or your space is limited, start with two to three herbs,” Brandt says. “Select the ones that you believe you will use the most.”
2. Choose herbs you like to eat
Start your apartment herb garden with herbs you like to use or that you’d typically buy at the grocery store. “Once you get used to cooking with fresh herbs, there’s nothing better than having a plant on the windowsill you can snip a few leaves from to create salads and other dishes,” VanZile says. “Also, you’ll be much more motivated to take care of an herb you use, as opposed to an herb that you don’t really care much about.”
3. Pick the right spot
You may live in a concrete jungle, but try to find your herbs as much natural light as possible. “Place them in a sunny spot near a window or on a deck, where they’ll get at least six hours of sun daily,” Brandt says. “Windows that face south or southwest are your best shot at sun, though east or west-facing windows also will do. North-facing windows are not bright enough.”
4. Don’t put your herbs together, unless they like one another
Not all herbs are friends, so don’t put them in the same container. “Each herb may have its own needs, which conflict with another herb that you are trying to grow in the same pot,” Brandt says. For example, mint and parsley prefer moist soil, while rosemary, thyme, and sage want dryer conditions.
“Putting them all together is a recipe for disaster since they don’t have the same watering needs,” Brandt says. “Each herb should have its own container with a drainage hole in the bottom.”
5. Give your plants room to grow
Don’t pick a pot simply because it’s cute. “You should choose pots that fit your personal style but they should be at least six inches in diameter to leave ample room for the herbs to grow,” Brandt says.
6. Inspect your herbs for pests
Check your herbs regularly for pests like spider mites, mealybugs, whiteflies, and aphids. VanZile suggests looking for tiny webs or droppings as well as the actual bugs.
“If you see an infestation, first move the plant away from any other plants so the pests don’t multiply. Then, decide if it’s worth keeping that plant at all,” he says. “It’s okay to get rid of an infested plant and just replace it. After all, you want to be very careful treating a plant with any type of insecticide if you’re planning to eat it.”
7. Don’t overwater your herbs
“The biggest mistake that gardeners and cooks make is to overwater their herbs,” Brandt says. “If the leaves start turning yellow, you are probably watering too much.”
8. Use high-quality potting soil
Invest in an organic, high-quality potting soil. “Don’t use soil from outdoors, as that’s a good way to bring unwanted pests into your home,” Brandt says.
9. Water the soil, not the leaves
Unless you want to grow fungus (you don’t!), water the soil of your herbs, not the leaves.
10. Don’t let your herbs sit in water
Make sure you give your herbs well-drained soil, so water doesn’t pool. And, don’t let them sit in a tray full of water. “Once you water your herbs, let them drain into the saucer for a few minutes, and then empty the saucer out so it’s dry,” VanZile says. “Leaving your plants sitting in water can cause root rot.”
Don’t plant your herbs and forget about them. They need TLC to grow. Pay attention to your plants and they’ll tell you what they need. “If they are drooping, they need water. If they are turning yellow, they are probably getting too much water. If the leaf tips are turning brown, try raising the humidity by misting them,” VanZile says.
“There’s really no such thing as the ‘right way’ to grow a particular plant because most plants are pretty adaptable and no two environments are exactly the same,” he says. “Listen to your plants to find your ‘right way’ to grow plants and you’ll be successful.”
*Disclaimer: Help support Organic Authority! Our site is dedicated to helping people live a conscious lifestyle. We’ve provided some affiliate links above in case you wish to purchase any of these products.
Related on Organic Authority
Herb Garden Pruning 101: Your Hands-On Guide to Quick and Easy Care
What is Urban Gardening? The Hot Trend That’s Taking Over Cities
5 Practical Home Garden Solutions for City Dwellers (No More Excuses!)
These 13 Herbs Will Thrive in Container Gardens
You don’t need an estate to grow a gorgeous (and useful!) herb garden. Most herbs are perfect container garden plants and will thrive on your deck, patio, balcony, fire escape, or front steps, provided you offer them the right growing conditions.
First and foremost, herbs need full sun for best performance. Place your containers in locations that receive at least eight hours of direct sun. Grow indoor herbs in the sunniest location you can find, but don’t expect them to perform as well as they do outside.
Also, don’t give your herbs too much love. Avoid the fertilizer; most herbs will give you the strongest fragrance and flavor if they’re grown in lean soil. Likewise, water wisely; while most herbs prefer dry conditions, some need more moisture to thrive. Use a soil-less potting mix to provide excellent drainage and space for roots to grow.
Perennial herbs can survive in containers outdoors year-round if the pots are large enough (holding at least 5 gallons of soil), have good drainage, and are hardy in your Zone. Use plastic pots; ceramic or clay containers will often crack from freeze-thaw cycles. Or lift your perennial herbs from pots and transplant them into the garden in late summer, giving the herb enough time to establish a new root system to survive winter. You can also treat container-grown perennial herbs as annuals, discarding them at the end of the season.
Best Herbs for Container Gardens
Basil, a beloved Italian annual herb, grows best in full sun and fertile, moist soil. Once the root system is established, about six weeks after sowing, it tolerates short periods of drought. Basil is a good companion with parsley, thyme, and other herbs when grown in a pot that holds at least 5 gallons of soil. For small containers, choose a compact variety such as ‘Spicy Bush’.
Chives are grassy, clump-forming perennials with hollow leaves. Essentially tiny onions, chives are grown for their leaves and blooms rather than their bulbs. Their fragrant pink-purple spring flowers are also edible. Plant them in well-drained potting soil that’s rich with organic matter. They can tolerate light shade but do best in full sun. Chives grow well in container gardens. Because they’re hardy in Zones 3-10, you can leave them outdoors year-round.
Cilantro, also known as coriander, can be used for its tangy leaves or its dried, ground seeds. Plant this annual herb in well-drained soil. Cilantro grows best in sun, although it tolerates some shade. Because it has a long taproot, place it in a container garden that is at least 12 inches deep.
Tarragon is a classic French herb used to season fish and many other foods. Its name is derived from the French word for little dragon, referring to the herb’s bold flavor. Plant it in full sun and well-drained potting mix. It tolerates drought well and should not be overwatered. Tarragon grows in partial shade but does best in full sun. Zones 5-9
Lavender is a bushy perennial shrub that does best in full sun and well-drained potting mix. Keep it on the dry side and avoid fertilizer. Lavender hardiness depends on the variety; the toughest are hardy in Zones 5-10.
Lemon balm, an old-fashioned favorite that spreads freely and self-sows readily, is perfect for container gardens so it doesn’t take over the yard. Plant in partial shade or full sun and in moist, rich, well-drained potting mix. Zones 3-10
Lemon verbena is a tropical shrub (hardy in Zones 9-10) that’s commonly grown as an annual in container gardens. Plant nursery-grown plants in pots filled with well-drained potting mix. Avoid fertilizer; lemon verbena grows best with few nutrients. It prefers full sun.
Marjoram, an oregano relative, has a sweeter, milder flavor and aroma than its cousin. Grow it in full sun and well-drained potting mix. It’s perennial in Zones 8-10, so gardeners in colder areas can grow it in container gardens indoors over winter.
Mint is such a vigorous plant that it will become invasive unless it is confined in a pot. Grow it in full sun or partial shade. Mint can grow in many soil types and degrees of sunlight, but it produces the best leaves in rich soil. It’s a perennial, but its hardiness varies by variety, so check which type you are growing.
Oregano is an essential ingredient in Mediterranean cuisines. The plant is a shrubby perennial that does best in full sun and well-drained potting mix. The more sun oregano receives, the more pungent the flavor of the leaves. It does not tolerate wet soil. Zones 5-10
Rosemary, a Mediterranean evergreen shrub, likes hot, dry, sunny spots. Quick-draining soil is the key to good growth. It’s drought-tolerant. Keep the soil moist but never wet when grown indoors. Zones 7-10
Sage is a favorite for seasoning poultry. Best grown in full sun and moist, well-drained potting mix, sage is perfect for adding structure to container gardens. Most, but not all, varieties are hardy in Zones 4-10.
Thyme comes in many varieties, but all grow best in full sun and well-drained soil. Thyme does not tolerate wet soil, so avoid over-watering. Zones 4-10
No matter what their size or style, potted herbs growing on your deck, patio or porch bring an extra dimension of beauty to outdoor spaces with their lively colors, fragrances and textures. You’ll also love having sprigs of your favorite culinary herbs within easy reach of the grill or just outside your kitchen door.
Growing herbs in containers solves just about any gardening problem. And they are amazingly easy to grow as you can provide the ideal conditions for almost any plant, regardless of your garden’s size or natural conditions.
There’s no better time than now to begin filling your outdoor living space with fresh flavor, fragrance and color. Here are 10 essential tips to keeping your potted herb garden vibrant and lush from early spring through fall.
1. Plant selection
You can grow practically any herb in a pot as long as you have the right container and potting mix. Some herbs are particularly suited to growing in pots.
Most culinary herbs are great choices, especially familiar favorites like basil, chives, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme. Pots allow you to contain the characteristics of mint, lemon balm or other aggressive herbs that exhibit invasive tendencies in your garden.
Tropical or tender herbs such as lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) and scented geraniums (Pelargonium spp.) are ideally-suited because you can bring the pots in a sheltered area or indoors to overwinter. And specimen-type plants like lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora) and sweet bay (Laurus nobilis) add moveable focal points of interest.
2. Pot pointers
Herbs can be grown in just about any type of pot or container as long as it has sufficient holes in the bottom so surplus water can easily drain away. Your options are nearly endless, with pots that are available in a variety of styles, colors, sizes and materials.
Plastic pots are lightweight and inexpensive, but they can deteriorate over time in outdoor conditions. Heavier ceramic, stone or cement containers are durable and nearly last a lifetime, but they are often heavy and difficult to move. Clay pots are porous and therefore dry out quickly, which makes them well-suited to growing Mediterranean herbs such as thyme. However they are breakable and subject to damage from hard freezes.
That said, it’s best not to plant a permanent display in a plastic pot, a moisture-loving herb in a clay pot, or a tender herb that needs to overwinter indoors in a large and heavy stone container.
Use a lightweight and porous potting mix when planting herb–like this rosemary–in containers.
3. Soil essentials
Garden soil is too heavy for use in containers and lacks the porosity needed to grow healthy potted herbs. Using a lightweight and porous commercial potting mix is essential to growing any plant in a container. The potting mix needs to retain moisture, yet drain easily–otherwise the roots become deprived of oxygen, causing the plant’s demise.
You can use a high-quality commercial potting mix straight from the bag. But if you really want to get your herbs off to a great start, create a custom blend by mixing together the following: three parts potting mix; one part compost, earthworm castings or aged manure for added nutrients; and one part perlite, pumice or coarse sand for added aeration and drainage.
4. Pair the right herb with the right size pot
As a general rule, pots as small as 10 inches in diameter and larger can be used for single herb plantings; a minimum of 18 inches in diameter is needed when growing large specimens, multiple herbs in one pot, or culinary herbs that you wish to cultivate frequently for kitchen use. Also make sure that pots are deep enough to accommodate growing roots–remember that bigger pots equals bigger plants.
5. Pairing up plants
When creating multiple plant displays, make sure to pair herbs with similar light requirements and water needs in the same pots. Allow enough space between plants so they all have room to grow and thrive. Remember to space according to the plant’s mature size: smaller plants like dwarf basil can be spaced closer together than, say, rosemary or comfrey.
6. Get creative on pot placement
Potted plants are quite portable and can do more than dress up your patio or deck. Use potted herbs to border a path, enliven an outdoor dining area, create movement when staggered on steps, or to fill the seasonal gaps in beds and borders. Add sensory appeal right outside your door by grouping containers of culinary herbs arranged at various heights. For example, you can place some pots on bricks, some on decorative pots turned upside-down, and some on a bench, chair or table.
7. Water wisely
Water needs vary according to the plant’s need for moisture as well as the pot’s size, type, location and time of year. Let the potting soil dry slightly between waterings for Mediterranean and other drought-tolerant herbs; keep the mix slightly moist at all times–like a wrung-out sponge–for basil, chives and other herbs with moderate to average moisture needs.
The best way to tell when it’s time to water is to let your finger be your guide. If the soil feels dry 1 to 2 inches below the surface, then it’s probably time to water. When you do water, be sure to water thoroughly until you see water flowing freely from the pot’s drainage holes.
8. Feed lightly
Plants growing in the ground have ample room to send out their roots in search of nutrients. The roots of herbs grown in containers are much more confined. As such, it’s best to feed plants lightly with a slow-release organic fertilizer, or a half-strength solution of organic liquid fertilizer such as fish emulsion, kelp or compost tea. Feed plants during the growing season every three to four weeks with a liquid fertilizer, or apply a slow-release organic fertilizer one to three times a year.
9. Provide good drainage
If your pot lacks sufficient drainage holes, you can always add more. Use a masonry bit to drill holes in clay, ceramic, stone or earthenware containers. Elevating pots on pottery feet, bricks, stones or even an upside-down pot also helps improve drainage.
10. Pinch and prune
Pinching faded flowers and leggy stems will encourage more blooms and strong, new growth. The result will be a bushier and more productive plant so you can snip those flavorful sprigs and flowering stems to enjoy in the kitchen.
Hardy perennial herbs (as well as some shorter-lived biennials, which last only a couple of seasons) are more forgiving when it comes to water. Most of them come through the winter in the New York area reliably, depending on the severity of the season. Mint, parsley, English thyme, rosemary, sage, chive, French tarragon, winter savory, salad burnet, oregano and its near twin, marjoram, all grow well in smaller to medium pots.
If you have larger pots, you might also try a striking species like fennel, which produces an anise scent, or the statuesque lovage or angelica, both of which grow four to six feet tall before blooming.
And don’t forget a pot of fragrant lavender added sparingly, it can flavor baked goods.
Certain valuable perennial herbs are too tender for cold winters but can be brought indoors as houseplants and placed outside in spring. A small pot of bay laurel, for example, is worth the effort: fresh bay leaves have a superior taste to those bought dried in the store.
Tea lovers may enjoy other tender perennials, like pineapple sage, rose geranium and lemon verbena, which not only flower beautifully but also grow large in one summer.
Quick and Easy DIY Container Herb Gardens
Herbs are among the easiest edible plants you can grow. By growing herbs in containers, these aromatic flavor-boosters can be placed within easy reach for adding to your home-cooked meals. And depending on the size of your containers, they can be moved indoors or out between warm and cool seasons so you can have your herb garden year-round. While just about any container will work, there are endless possibilities for the way you grow them and what you grow together. Emily Murphy of Pass the Pistil shared some of her favorite herb container garden ideas.
1. Grow Herbs in a Strawberry Pot
You can grow several different herbs together in a terra-cotta strawberry planter. Most herbs prefer excellent drainage, which this container is especially good at providing because of its vertical design. Plus terra-cotta is a perfect material for growing herbs, because it helps wick water away from stems that might otherwise rot when overwatered. Fortunately, most herbs can be mixed and matched as needed. However, I generally plant herbs like cilantro and Italian basil together because they like moderate amounts of water and grow in richer soils than some of their more drought-tolerant counterparts like oregano and thyme. Overall, they are a forgiving bunch, so have some fun and experiment with planting combinations. Then, place your strawberry pot herb garden right outside your kitchen door or along your front walk for easy harvesting.
2. Creatively Repurpose Containers
I like to think almost any container can be repurposed for growing herbs, such as metal tins, trash cans, vintage washtubs, and lobster pots. Just remember that the smaller the container, the faster it will dry out, which means you will have to water it more frequently. Because you will use it to grow edibles, make sure the container is clean and do not re-use anything that held paint, gasoline, or other potentially harmful chemicals. Add drainage holes where needed with the quick work of a drill or hammer and nail, fill with soil, and you’re on your way to a garden. When deciding what to grow in your repurposed containers, the key is to start by growing the things you love. Then, if there’s room, throw something new into the mix. This year, I’ve been experimenting with three new-to-me varieties of basil.
Related: Portable Indoor Herb Garden
3. Make a DIY Wine Box Herb Garden
When I was growing up, dill and mint were some of my favorite herbs. The aroma of freshly cut mint filling the kitchen was the prologue to sun tea, and dill always signaled pickles. I’ve since added a host of other herbs to my list of favorites. Caraway thyme, pineapple sage, and rose geranium are just a few. This wine box herb garden is small enough to move around and just big enough for a handful of your favorite herbs. I often place it as a centerpiece on my outdoor table and keep it loaded with plants for cooking and cocktails, making it a perfect living centerpiece for work and play.
Herbs remind us that some of the most wonderful kitchen garden crops are the simplest. Give these plants plenty of sun and a container with good drainage and you’re halfway there. Whether you test some of these ideas in your garden or use them as a starting point for a design all your own, no doubt you will have plenty of delicious herbs close at hand when you need them.
- By Emily Murphy of Pass the Pistil
One Pot Combinations
Think about the type of herbs you use most and your favourite style of cooking, and plant up your herb pot accordingly. If your mind is open to new ideas and your heart is big enough to accommodate the whole spectrum, we have the right combinations for you to have great fun in the kitchen with homegrown herbs.
Go for one or more chillies as the main plants and add Vietnamese coriander, lemongrass and lots of garlic chives for a wild combination. Plant them in an old drum, bucket or steel dustbin and paint it silver if it needs a bit of sprucing up!
Use sweet basil as your main focus and add thyme, Italian and flat leaved parsley and golden, creeping oreganum. (The thyme and oreganum will be around for more than one growing season, but the sweet basil and parsley will have to be replaced annually.) Use a large terracotta pot in the traditional style for this combination. Otherwise, if you can lay your hands on one of the big restaurant-sized tomato or olive oil tins, that would be perfect. You can also plant the herbs separately in small tins – just remember to drill drainage holes in them.
To cook those hearty French country dishes, plant up sweet basil, summer savory, marjoram, sage and oreganum. A large window box with relief ornamentation such as grapes and vine leaves would be perfect for this potting recipe.
If you love a garden salad and enjoy picking a few fresh leaves every day but want to add more flavour to your salad, plant dill, sweet basil, rocket and garlic chives. Into this mix you can also add some of the butterhead and loose-leaf lettuce varieties, which are available in seedlng punnets in nurseries throughout the year. Also sow some nasturtium seeds between the other plants. The pretty leaves and flowers are edible and add pizazz to any mixed salad. A perfect container for this recipe would be a fairly spacious wooden box or maybe an old, retired wheelbarrow that is riddled with holes. (If the holes are too big, simply cover them with a piece of shade cloth or weed matting, to prevent the soil from falling through.)
For a more formal and classical French-cuisine style, plant a bay tree (maybe already trained into a lovely standard shape) as your main attraction and add tarragon, chives, thyme and chervil around its base. This selection is simply crying out to be planted in a wooden half-barrel or a really large, classical urn.
Chillies are tops again, but add parsley, coriander, garlic chives and oreganum. Pick a colourful plastic container for this one, or paint a large terracotta pot with gaudy and colourful stripes.
Social butterflies can jazz up their balconies with a window box full of goodies for interesting cocktails. Buy a mini kumquat tree to use as your main attraction. Add some strawberry plants and fill any open spaces with a variety of flavoured mints. Choose small mint plants, keep them in their nursery pots and simply sink these into the soil. You will now have the ingredients to mix and embellish numerous exotic cocktails like Pimm’s, mojitos and daiquiris