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Growing a kitchen herb garden in pots is a fabulous way to add fresh flavors to your Summer recipes!

growing a kitchen herb garden in pots

GROWING A KITCHEN HERB GARDEN IN POTS 

Herbs are easy to grow and are a popular planting choice for many people, even if they aren’t avid gardeners with acres of available land.  One of the best reasons to grow herbs is that many of them are just as suited to growing in a pot as in the garden.  

growing a kitchen herb garden in potsThat makes them a wonderful choice for anyone who wants to have some fresh herbs during the Summer. It’s just so convenient to be able to step out your door and pick a handful of fresh herbs from a beautiful container garden.

Plant maintenance is also more convenient with containers, and there are less issues with weeds and yard pests getting into your garden.

You can grow almost any herb in a container. However, if you’re mixing herbs in the same pot, you have to be sure you’re using plants with similar growing requirements.

For example, some herb plants need more water than others, and some are finicky about how much light they get. As long as you get the combinations right, you’ll have thriving plants and fresh herbs available right at your fingertips.

I usually plant a few combo pots and the rest I leave as solos.  The collection of single-type plant pots look fabulous when clustered in my “kitchen herb garden” deck display.

I’VE PUT TOGETHER A LIST OF THE 8 BEST HERBS FOR GROWING A KITCHEN HERB GARDEN IN POTS THAT WILL GIVE YOU ALL THE INFO YOU’LL NEED FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL HERB I RECOMMEND.  You’ll find the list at the end of this article

MAKE A PLANTING PLAN FIRST – Then buy the pots you’ll need

You can grow as many types of herbs in one container as you want if they share the same sun, water, and soil preferences.

For example, rosemary likes hot and dry conditions, while parsley needs steady moisture. Therefore, you wouldn’t want printable herb garden plant markers in potto plant them in the same pot.  Likewise, you don’t want to mix herbs that have different light requirements either.  If one herb likes full sun, then a shade-lover can’t share the same pot. 

That’s where your plan comes into action.  Make a quick chart of the herbs you want to plant, and see what combinations are compatible.  Those will be the “herb combos” that you can mix together for a dramatic potted culinary display. 

I love to use low bowl-type containers to showcase fabulous combinations of herbs such as rosemary, oregano and thyme.

Also, don’t forget that herbs can serve as ornamental elements in container gardens.  They can add texture and fabulous aromas when mixed with annuals and perennials. Again, just be sure to pair them with plants that have similar needs.

You’ll also want to make sure that you don’t pair an invasive plant with non-invasive ones.  You can guess which one will be left when the “war” is over. 

MAKE SURE YOU CHOOSE THE RIGHT CONTAINERS

It’s true you can use almost anything as an herb planter, as long as it has good drainage.

how to start a container gardenMost herbs don’t have large root systems, so you can use relatively small containers, especially for herbs that like to dry out between waterings.  One caution though, the smaller the container, the more often you’ll need to water the herbs.  This also means you’ll need to be more concise about watering to keep from under-watering or over-watering.

Some herbs thrive in self-watering containers because they like a constant level of moisture. Herbs like chives, parsley, marjoram, and mint, are particularly good choices for growing in self-watering pots.

But others, like oregano, thyme, rosemary, and basil, like to dry out between watering, so they’d be best suited for a clay or plastic pot with good drainage. 

I’m totally in love Smart Pots these days, fabric planters that come in a wide range of sizes to choose from.  The small size pots can hold individual herb plants, while the bigger ones are great for “pop-up” herb gardens on decks and patios.  They can be found at large outdoor living retailers and on Amazon.

CARING FOR YOUR KITCHEN HERB GARDEN

You can ensure your potted herbs will thrive if you take care to give them the right soil, sun exposure, and how to start a container gardenfertilizer. 

  • Use a high-quality potting mix that allows for good drainage so you don’t accidentally drown your herbs
  • Aged compost can be added to the potting soil to help improve texture and moisture-retention ability
  • Most herbs need full sun for at least six to eight hours a day, but in the hottest portion of the day, they might need to be shaded 
  • Be careful not to over-fertilize your herbs; most herbs don’t need much fertilizer, as many are actually close to being weeds
  • Herbs such as thyme and oregano thrive on neglect and often aren’t as flavorful if they’re given too much fertilizer or water

 

MAINTENANCE AND HARVESTING YOUR KITCHEN HERB GARDEN

The general rule is, the more you pick, the more prolific the plant becomes. 

You’ll need to pinch back most herb plants to help them get bushier and have a well-formed shape. But always tailor your harvesting to the plant’s growth pattern. For example, basil leaves should be harvested regularly, and the flower buds should be removed. But basil plants should not be cut back all the way.

Another fab reason for growing a kitchen herb garden in pots is that you can bring many of your herb containers inside.  At the end of the growing season, if you get lots of indoor sunlight, just move them indoors to continue harvesting.

Some herb plants are easier than others to keep alive indoors during the winter, though it’s worth a shot for all your potted herbs.

 

GENERAL RULES FOR GROWING A KITCHEN HERB GARDEN IN POTS

  • Harvest regularly –  Frequent harvesting with pruners or herb snips encourages fresh growth, so don’t be shy about pinching and clipping your homegrown herbs
  • Water consistently – If you’re new to herb gardening, make sure you’re following the correct watering protocol for each herb plant type
  • Feed occasionally –  To promote healthy growth, feed your herbs with a fertilizer suitable for edibles when necessary

 

growing a kitchen herb garden in pots

DOWNLOAD YOUR HERBAL PRINTABLE GARDEN MARKERS!

I don’t know about you, but after the seeds are in the pots and buried under the dirt, I find it’s hard to tell what’s what.

So, I always place garden markers inside my pots to keep them straight while they’re too small to identify by their leaves.DIY herbal printable garden markers supplies  And if they’re stylish and cute, well then, that’s just a fab bonus for growing a kitchen herb garden in pots.

Last year I used some chalkboard “stick” herbal garden markers, but the writing washed off after only a few rainy days.  Needless to say, I was disappointed.  But, luckily most of them were identifiable by that time and I could re-write the garden markers with accuracy.

I certainly wasn’t going to make that mistake again, but I still liked the “chalkboard” feel and decided to try to duplicate it.

What I came up with was some really stylish herbal printable garden markers that can actually withstand the outdoor weather.  

 

THE WATERPROOF INGREDIENT: Mod Podge Ultra

mod podge ultra glue forDIY herbal printable garden markers If you’ve ever done any amount of crafting, I’m sure you know the wonders that are a bottle of Mod Podge adhesive.  It’s got so many crafty applications, I always have a bottle on hand.

My personal favorite use is for decoupage.  I’m known for my little keepsake boxes as gift containers around the holidays.  They’re perfect for giving little gifts in, and are in fact part of the gift too.  That’s a win-win!

When I started conjuring up the idea for these herbal printable garden markers, I immediately thought of Mod Podge.

Now you need to understand that the regular Mod Podge product is made exclusively for indoor use.  However, their Mod Podge Ultra is suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications.  BINGO!

 

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE YOUR DIY HERBAL PRINTABLE GARDEN MARKERS

Since you’ll be printing the herbal garden markers on white card stock, they’ll need some reinforcement before colored corregated cardboard for DIY herbal printable garden markersattaching them to your garden plant markers.

I decided on a corrugated craft paper that’s not only sturdy enough for the job, it’s pretty too!  At Amazon, I found a 64 Pack  of corrugated cardboard sheets in 8 Assorted Colors that measure  8.3″ x 11.8″ by Genie Crafts.  GET CORRUGATED CRAFT PAPER

You could always use a cardboard box that you’ve got lying around the house too.  Just cut rectangles a tad smaller than the herbal printable garden markers, and you’ll be good to go. 

Then you’ll need to decide what type of plant garden marker bases you want to use.  I’ve selected two types to show you here, one bamboo, single use option, and the other a reusable plaster version.

2 types of garden plant markersThis year I made mine using the white reusable plastic plant markers because I like the crisp look they give against the pot’s soil.   The herbal printable garden markers measure 2 1/4″ L x 1 3/4″ H so they’ll fit most sizes of commercial plant markers.

 

HOW TO MAKE HERBAL PRINTABLE GARDEN MARKERS

  • Download the PDF from the IFAFL Subscriber’s Resource Library
  • Print the herb plant markers on white card stock using a color printer
  • Cut out the 8 herb plant markers
  • Cut 8 rectangles of corrugated paper slightly smaller than the garden markers
  • Hot glue the corrugated paper to the card stock markers, smooth side toward the card stock
  • Hot glue the herbal garden markers to the front of your plant marker bases
  • Brush Mod Podge Ultra on the garden markers in a thin coat using a dry foam brush. Brush strokes in a single direction, leaving a thin layer. Coat all surfaces, including all four edges. Stand up in a glass or pot of soil to thoroughly dry (about 1 hr)
  • Brush a thin second coat of Mod Podge Ultra on all surfaces to ensure it’s completely sealed from the elements
  • If you feel like you need a third coat on the edges is necessary, brush it on lightly once the second coat is dry

 

Just download the FREE PDF, and you’re in business. 

Want your own copy of the Herbal Printable Garden Markers, but you’re not on our list yet?  

Fill out the form below and I’ll send you a copy as a thank you for joining the IFAFL Email Subscriber List.

As a Ingredients For A Fabulous Life Subscriber, you’ll also get instant access to the IFAFL Resource Library and receive our twice-weekly emails.  What are you waiting for?  You don’t want to miss out on anything fabulous, do you? 

 


 

THE 8 BEST HERBS TO GROW IN POTS – A Kitchen Garden Collection

MINT – Zones 3 – 11mint herb growing in a pot

Mint is an aromatic herb that’s fast growing, extending its reach along ground surfaces through a network of runners.   There are an amazing number of varieties of mint, like chocolate and lemon.  But because they spread so fast,  you really just need to plant one of each type.  Within one season, you’ll have all the mint you can possibly use! 

And all these facts are why growing Mint in a kitchen herb garden in pots is the perfect solution!

  • Perennials in most zones, tolerating both sun and partial shade
  • Wide-spreading underground and overground
  • Thrives near water sources, lakes and cool, moist spots in partial shade
  • Likes a rich, moist soil
  • Produced flowers that are white to purple

 

OREGANO – Zones 5 – 12growing a kitchen herb garden in pots

Also an enthusiastic garden grower, Oregano is much more easily controlled when growing it in a kitchen herb garden in pots.

There are two main types of Oregano that are offered at most plant centers for retail sale.  The first is Greek Oregano, which has small leaves that are packed with tons of woodsy Italian flavors.  It’s the most widely used variety for culinary uses.

The second is Syrian Oregano, a tender perennial, that’s also called Zaatar, which has gorgeous silvery-toned leaves.

  • Related to marjoram, and sometimes referred to as Wild Marjoram
  • Perennial in most zones, although it’s an annual in most colder climates 
  • Prefers fairly dry soil, with full sun
  • Purple flowers with spike-shaped, olive-green leaves

 

PARSLEY – Zones 6 – 9parsley herb growing in a pot

Garden parsley is a bright green, biennial plant in temperate climates, or an annual herb in subtropical and tropical areas.  Germination is slow, taking four to six weeks, and it often is difficult because of furanocoumarins in its seed coat.  

Parsley attracts several species of wildlife, like Goldfinch that feed on the seeds.  Some swallowtail butterflies use parsley as a host plant for their larvae.  Their caterpillars are black and green striped with yellow dots, and will feed on parsley for two weeks before turning into butterflies. Bees and other nectar-feeding insects also visit the flowers. 

  • Two main types: Curly and Flat Leaf Italian
  • Biennial (leaf out the first season and come back the second season to flower, set seed and die)
  • Grows best in moist, well-drained soil, with full sun

 

ROSEMARY – Zones 9 – 11growing rosemary in a kitchen herb garden in pots

Rosemary is a woody perennial herb that’s incredibly fragrant with needle-like evergreen leaves.  It’s reasonably hardy in cool climates, and can also survive extreme droughts. Rosemary is tough to propagate from seed, so it’s best to buy a seedling at your local nursery.

It’s easy to grow in a sunny kitchen window and is perfect for using the stems as skewers or throwing on the barbecue coals for extra flavor.  

  • Well-suited to drying and long-term storage
  • Plants can be trained into potted topiaries
  • Rosemary needs a full sun location
  • Prefers sandy soil and likes to dry out between waterings
  • Bears white, pink, purple or deep blue flowers (how cool is that?)

 

THYME – Zones 5 – 10thyme in a kitchen herb garden in pots

Thyme is an aromatic perennial evergreen herb that comes from the mint family, but is also a relative of the oregano genusThat’s some combination of herbal flavors going on, isn’t it?

Thyme will thrive in a hot, sunny location with well-drained soil.  It’s generally planted in the Spring and then grows as a perennial thereafter.

Fresh harvested thyme can last about  a week in the refrigerator, but can be tightly wrapped and frozen for up to several months.  Dried thyme retains its flavor better than many other herbs too.

  • Some varieties will grow into a small shrub-like plant with tiny purple flowers
  • Bush varieties can be used for ornamental container plantings
  • Low maintenance and requires minimal waterings
  • Thyme can be dried and stored in a tightly closed container in a dark location for several months

 

BASIL – Zones 10 – 11 (annuals elsewhere)basil growing in a potted kitchen herb garden

Basil is one herb that most people have tried to grow in a pot at one time or another. That’s because it’s so beloved for it’s tender leaves with their strong, pungent and often sweet flavor and smell.

Basil is actually native to tropical regions of Central Africa and Southeast Asia.  I bet that surprises you, doesn’t it?  Like me, you might have been under the impression that it hails from Europe, especially Italy.

Like mint, there are a variety of types of basil, with the most commonly found one being Sweet or Genovese basil.  It’s got those beautiful big leaves that are so easy to chiffonade and toss into a salad or sauce.

  • Basil likes a richer soil mixture than most other herbs
  • Plant in a sunny location, and keep well-watered and hydrated to keep the leaves plump
  • Watch plants carefully, as they are susceptible to mildew
  • Depending on the variety and zone, basil can be either an annual or perennial
  • Basil enjoys companion planting with tomatoes

 

SAGE – Zones 4 – 8sage growing in a kitchen herb garden pot

Sage is what I call a “fussy” herb.  It’s best when grown in pots where you can keep you eye on it.  One of the things you want to avoid is your sage becoming “woody”, so it requires a lot of pinching and cutting back to keep it healthy and supple.

It’s a perennial evergreen sub-shrub, with woody stems and greyish colored leaves.  Some varieties can be soft with a fine down on the leaf tops.

It will weather over the winter inside, but should be re-potted every three years to give it more space to continue to grow.

  • Dries well after harvesting; make small bundles with rubber bands and hang upside down to air dry
  • Sage likes full sun, but will also grow well in partial shade
  • It needs a well-draining soil; let it almost dry out before watering

 

LEMON BALM – Zones 5 – 9lemon balm growing in a kitchen herb garden pot

A kissing-cousin of mint, Lemon Balm is also one of those “movers”, that will quickly take over a small garden patch.  That’s exactly why I’ve included it in my list of the best herbs to grow in pots.  

Because it’s got the same growing habits as mint, it requires the same rich, moist soil.  Lemon balm can grow as tall as 50 inches when planted in a garden environment.  Plan accordingly, and use a large enough pot to handle the plant’s vertical growth.

  • Likes a sunny spot, but loves a cool, moist environment in partial shade
  • Does well near water sources such as lakes and rivers 
  • Widely used for teas, lotions and essential oils
  • Lemon balm has a mild lemon scent similar to mint
  • The white flowers attract bees for their nectar (not to be confused with “bee balm”)

 

GROW YOUR OWN SALAD BOWL INGREDIENTS

grow your own salad bowl ingredientsIf you’d like to get all the information you need on how to start your own container garden for vegetables and fruits, check out this article on How to Start A Container Garden – Grow Your Own Salad Bowl Ingredients.

You’ll be growing your own bounty of fresh garden produce right on your deck, patio or driveway by next weekend!

 

DON’T FORGET TO DOWNLOAD YOUR HERBAL PRINTABLE GARDEN MARKERS!

herbal printable garden markers pdf

You’ll need to know which pot you’ve planted those basil seeds in, right?

So don’t even wait until you buy your seedlings before downloading and printing out your set of herb garden markers!

Now you can use the markers to form the list of herbs you want to bring home from the plant center this weekend!  In just a few weeks, you’ll be enjoying fresh herbs in your Summer meals and patting yourself on the back for a job well done!

Go get your day planner and start making your shopping list of supplies and plants!

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