Is there anything more satisfying than cooking something you have grown, especially when cooking for those that you love. One of the easiest things to grow are herbs. They can be grown easily in containers of any size! On a windowsill, in a pot or on a patio or balcony. It is so wonderful to be able to pop over to your kitchen container herb garden and grab the herbs you need for your recipe without going to the store. Using only what you need, never again running out of cilantro or throwing away soggy parsley from the fridge after not using the whole thing. A kitchen container garden allows you to use just what you need and always have the freshest possible herbs. If you are wanting to grow herbs for your kitchen, check out our list of the 10 essential herbs for a kitchen container garden.
Some of the easiest and most useful herbs to grow are Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Thai Basil, Cilantro, Mint, Sage, Chives and parsley. With this selection you will have everything you need for most recipes. It’s important to divide them into the right growing conditions (Mediterranean / less water herbs vs tender more water herbs) for successful yields, read on to learn more.
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How to group Herbs in Pots
A major benefit of using pots for a kitchen herb garden is that you can move the herbs inside in the winter to keep them safe from the frost.
The two groups of herbs that we suggest in the kitchen garden are Mediterranean and Tender. You could however have as many pots as you wish and water accordingly. Below are the kitchen herbs and their needs. We recommend you group the herbs in pots depending on your space and needs.
Mediterranean herbs (less water more drainage)
Slight Mediterranean, very little water but more than above
Tender herbs (more water more organic material in soil)
- Thai Basil
Although you can use as many pots as you wish, here is our suggestion for a kitchen container garden.
1. Pots of Mediterranean herbs
Potential pot combinations
2. Mint and Thyme,
3. Sage and Oregano
In a clay or terracotta pot, add well-draining potting soil. You should mix in some grit to improve drainage even more. Remember these plants grow in nature in very dry areas so we want to replicate that.
We recommended putting the rosemary in its own pot if you have the space, as rosemary can quickly take over a pot. We have our rosemary in the succulent border. It will however be very happy in a pot. Rosemary likes full sun, and you must be careful not to overwater.
Mint will spread rapidly in the ground, but in a pot it will grow well and remain contained. There are SO many varieties of mint to choose from. For cooking or tea I 100% recommend having both peppermint and spearmint. As the combination of both creates the perfect mint flavor. If you like baking and making cocktails you could go for chocolate mint, pineapple mint or apple mint.
Thyme is one of my favorite herbs. It’s good with chicken or in a beef stew. And it is SO EASY TO GROW. Thyme likes to be neglected. Water it once a month and it will thrive.
There are many varieties of Sage for the garden. Edible varieties include common garden sage and pineapple sage. Sage likes well-draining soil and light watering.
Like Sage, Oregano needs less water than the tender herbs but more than the thyme and rosemary. Water when the soil feels dry. Greek Oregano is recommended for cooking. Oregano leaves can also be used to make a tea that can help with anxiety and stomachache.
A note on Mediterranean Herb Care
Rosemary, Thyme and Oregano all benefit from pruning. Giving them a regular clip will keep the plants nice and dense and stop them getting leggy.
2. A pot of Tender Herbs
The Tender herbs can be combined into 1-2 pots. These herbs need weekly or biweekly water. They like sunlight but do not want to be baked in the sun. Add a good layer of mulch to this pot. You can also break this list into multiple pots if preferred.
Basil is one of our all-time favorite herbs. It does very well planted with tomatoes if you happen to have a tomato pot in your kitchen garden. If not it will do well planted with the other tender herbs.
Trust us its worth having Thai Basil in addition to basil. The flavor is completely different. For Thai cooking this herb is outstanding and the smell is incredible.
A must for any herb garden. For years we had issues with Cilantro, every time we planted it in the raised beds it would bolt. Now that it is in a container by the kitchen steps with its fellow tender herbs, it is very happy, and we have cilantro always on hand.
Parsley is useful in all sorts of cuisines and smells fresh. You can plant flat leaf or curly varieties.
Chives are great for salad dressings, omelets and general seasoning. They add a height dimension to the pot. Chives need a nutrient rich soil, and although they are drought tolerant, I have found that they do well in the tender plants group because they like the rich soil and watering schedule.
3. Final Thoughts and Ideas
The most important thing to remember when choosing herbs for your kitchen container garden is to choose herbs that you like, and that you want to eat. If you use the general advice in this garden to group the herbs into pots (you could even give each herb its own pot!) then you will have a happy productive herb garden to use for cooking.
As you plan your kitchen herb garden, you can also keep in mind your local climate. If it rains a lot where you are, you may wish to add more drainage to your soil, or if it rains very seldomly (like here in California) you may wish to add water retention to your soil. Either way, a slight adjustment of soil choice and pot location is all that is needed to curate the perfect kitchen garden for you.
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