Growing Herbs: Easy, Versatile, Fun Tasty

Growing herbs in a container garden is a great choice for lots reasons.

Whether you’re a beginning gardener or a well-seasoned one, it doesn’t matter.

And whether you garden on your patio, balcony, railing, porch, flower box, roof . . . these plants work in all these places.

And whether you eat take-out or are a culinary chef, you’ll love growing and using them in your salads, soups, stews, and vegetables.

Why will you love growing herbs? They’re pest resistant, easy to cultivate, and lots of herb plants can be started from seed. Some like full sun, but you’ll also find some that are partial shade plants. Some culinary herbs are very forgiving of poor soil and neglectful watering. Plus they grow in hanging planters, simple clay pots, window boxes, or fancy, glazed terra cotta.

And . . . growing herbs is something you can do with your kids. The whole family can join in on the fun.

How simple is it? You can grow herbs in separate pots if you like, but since they also get along well in the same container, you can cultivate a culinary garden right in one big planter.

Growing Herbs Together
There are a few things to think about if you take this approach.

  • Which herbs trail. These include the thymes. Plant these along the rim so they don’t fight their way to the edge.
  • Which ones take up lots of room—either because you love them (and so plant a multitude) or because of their growth habit.
  • What the different care needs are for each herb plant—rosemary and parsley, for instance, develop a woody base and a matt of roots that can crowd out neighbors.
The beauty of marigold in garden.

And picture this—You’ve cooked plain fettuccine for dinner. You stare at its bland cream color and think Ho Hum.

Jazz it up with your herb of choice, and then garnish with edible flowers such as nasturtium or the marigold pictured here.

What a difference! From sorry-looking to scrumptious in no time.

The great thing is—you can eat like this most of the year since herb plants can easily come inside after the growing season and cheer up your kitchen window. And—in the cooler months and even some winters, you can grow pansies (an edible flower) outside.

Growing Herbs—Anyone Can Do It
I’ve included specific characteristics and cultivation tips on growing culinary herbs, since these are the ones I grow myself and know the best. The two exceptions are Lady’s Mantle, which I include only because I think its yellow-green, scalloped leaves are so lovely.

And catnip. Have to grow an herb for the kitties.

And then there are lavender plants. Lavender is used in some cuisines, though it’s not widely known as a culinary herb. But who could plant a container herb garden and not grow lavender plants? I confess to bundling up even the dried stems (together with rosemary and whatever other herb endings are left after the season) and tossing them on my winter fire.

Here’s some general tips to keep in mind to grow big, healthy, flavorful herbs. I’ve noted the differences in the specific herb descriptions on a separate page. You’ll find the link below.

Three Important Tips For Growing Herbs

  • Herbs prefer neutral or slightly alkaline soil (PH of 6.5 -7. Alkaline soil is anything above 7).
  • They need soil that drains well. Don’t forget to plant in pots with drainage holes.
  • Herb plants do need fertilizer, but don’t respond well to over-fertilizing (it detracts from the fragrance and taste). In other words, feed—but don’t overdo it.

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