Planting a container garden is a great opportunity to get yourself outside and creating something beautiful as well as useful. Ideal if you don’t want to invest in planting a garden at your flat – easy to create a container herb garden that you can move around as conditions change and can take with you to a new home at the end of the year, every year.
Any pots that are deep enough, with holes in the bottom, but if not you can hammer holes into the bottom of a plastic pot. Op-shops often have old containers – metal buckets, old pots, baskets, troughs, terracotta pots and other quirky containers that can all be used for different types of plants.
Potting Mix/Compost/Liquid Feed:
You will need some good potting mix (from any garden centre) to get your herbs started and some compost or liquid feed (buy or can make your own at home) to keep them going.
Any of your favorite herbs will be suitable for containers – suggest getting small seedlings from farmers market/garden centre/nursery to get you started. Some can be sown from seed, if starting early enough in the season and you have space and time for seed sowing and transplanting.
10 great culinary herbs for containers are:
- Basil – an annuual, only lasts one season. Need a deepish pot, water and lots of sun. Watch you don’t over water as can get fungal disease easily. Like coriander, basil can bolt easily so pick regularly and sow new plants as needed throughout the season.
- Parsley – curly, flat leaf or both! Usually lasts two seasons (biennial) so good idea to plant each year so you have a continuous supply. Easy to care for – loves sun and regular picking.
- Chives – love fertile soil, moisture and some shade. Will die down over winter but come again in the spring so can be a good constant companion.
- Rosemary – needs big pot and lots of heat eg against a wall. Dont over water, especially during colder months. Keep trimming flowers so the plant doesn’t get too lanky.
- Sage – a bit like rosemary , spreads so needs a larger pot and watch for over-watering. Trim.
- Oregano or Marjoram – a must have herb for a pot. Likes full sun, tolerates dry conditions. Trim lots to keep it from flowering until end of season then cut right back.
- Coriander – an annual that bolts (goes to seed) quickly so its a good idea to sow from seed regularly so you always have a continuous supply
- Lemongrass – loves living in pots but needs to keep well watered, fed and frost-free.
- Mint – so may varieties to choose from. All good for containers as they can take over the garden. Cut regularly to keep new growth coming. Peppermint especially good for herb tea.
- Thyme – come in upright and weeping forms so choose your pot carefully. Need full sun, minimal watering and no feeding. Trim regularly.
Ongoing Care & Use:
Container gardens need lots of water – and good drainage. Read around about what sort of conditions your plants like best, feeding and moving them around till they are happy – patio, windowsill or back garden. Enjoy fresh herbs daily – scrambled eggs & chives; lemongrass chicken; tabouli with parsley; basil & tomatoes on toast; sage & onion stuffing for roast chicken……..