How to Start a Container Herb Garden 

Maybe you don’t have space in your garden, or don’t have a garden. Maybe you would like the convenience of having fresh herbs right outside your door, or right inside your kitchen. Maybe it is too cold outside.

There are so many reasons why you might prefer to grow herbs in containers, either inside or outside. I simply wanted to save space in my garden for more vegetables – so I decided to plant herbs in pots. 

You can grow herbs in containers outside, or you can start an indoor herb garden. 

The Containers 

You can use anything for a container, but it does need to allow for drainage. You can grow several different types of herbs all together in one larger container or pot, or you can use smaller pots. If you are only planting one type of herb in each you can really use any size container. 

Herbs don’t need a lot space, since their root systems are not large. I could have used smaller containers for these – and if I had, the soil would not dry out so quickly, so it probably would have been a better choice. I just used what I happened to have at the time. 



Seeds & Types of Herbs  

You can grow herbs from seed or purchase plants. I prefer to plant seeds. However, if you don’t want to wait a few months for your herbs to grow from seed you might want to buy plants. Seeds are certainly less expensive though. 

You can buy a pack with all different varieties from the Sustainable Seed Company. Most types of herbs will do well in containers. My favorites are basil, oregano, rosemary, cilantro, parsley, dill and chives. 

Soil, Light & Water


A potting mix works best for plants in containers since it is lighter than the soil from your garden outside. Herbs need to be in full sunlight. If you are growing them indoors place the pots right by a south facing window, and if you have them on a patio or deck choose a spot in full sunlight. However, if you live in a very hot area you should probably move them to shade if the temperatures are too high for long periods of time, and check the soil more often because they will need lots of water. 

Soil in containers will dry out quickly – especially in the summertime. So, you will of course need to water your herbs daily. 

Flowering


You don’t want your herbs to flower – constantly harvesting should prevent this. As you can see my cilantro has flowered – I had not been picking it for a short time, and that combined with the heat caused it to flower rather quickly. 

I have learned that it is best to grow cilantro for the leaves in either spring or fall, as it does not do well in the summer heat. But since I love coriander, I am not cutting off the flowers. I am going to let the flowers go to seed so that I will have coriander. Coriander is actually one of my favorite spices. However, if you like the leaves more than the seeds, don’t let the plant flower. 

Harvesting


If you continually pick your herbs they will continue to grow. So, if you neglect to harvest then your herbs won’t do as well. And, as you can see, they will flower, which will change the taste of the leaves. If you are constantly picking your herbs then you won’t be as likely to have this problem. It is quite simple: if you pick more often then you will see more growth and have fuller, healthier plants. 

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