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Plant Culinary Container Herb Garden Right Outside the Kitchen Door
Do not plant culinary herbs outside the garden. Plant a herb garden outside your kitchen door to run and eat while you cook dinner. If you put it in a decorative container, you can put it on your deck. Show your guests how to “scratch and sniff.” Many people are surprised and delighted when they are shown how to rub the leaves of the herb between their fingers and “smell”.
You can plant a garden of culinary herbs at any time during the growing season, to obtain culinary herbs.
Here’s an easy, quick “cooking” herb garden that you can make in an afternoon.
Find the containers. Start with a 12-inch outdoor planter. It’s better if it’s a little bigger, like 14 or 15 inches. Also get a 6-inch terra-cotta pot with enough potting soil to fill both. Don’t use the type of soil for fertilizing or planting food; Herbs like soil that is not too rich.
Find leafy plants. Here is my list of seven must-haves: chives, cilantro, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage, and thyme.
Time to put it all together. Place the rosemary in a 6-inch terra-cotta pot. Place the entire pot in the center of the soil in a 12-inch (or larger) container. Push it down so that the thick part at the top of the pot is exposed. Planting rosemary in its own pot makes it easier to bring it indoors in winter. They also use the space in the middle of a large container.
Plant other herbs in a ring around the cooked rosemary. If you think the container is like an analog clock, plant the remaining herbs like this:
- 12 o’clock – parsley
- 2 o’clock – cilantro
- 4 o’clock – chives
- 6 o’clock – thyme
- 8 o’clock – oregano
- 10 o’clock – magic
Use a small piece in the garden and put the herbs in their places. Plant the herbs near the edge of the large container so that the slow-growing thyme and spreading oregano are lost to the sides.
Place the herb garden in a sunny position with the parsley at the 12 o’clock position. Cilantro and chives will be in the east, oregano and sage in the west and thyme in the south.
Water your plants two or more times a week during the hot, dry summer months.
Before it blooms for the first time in the fall, bring fresh rosemary indoors to store on a south-facing window for the winter. Don’t water too much but don’t let it dry.
With the exception of cilantro, all the other herbs in the container garden will continue to grow outdoors even in milder temperatures. (Cilantro is a mild annual that has a tendency to go to seed. Chances are it will be finished for the season before the first frost.)
You can keep a large vegetable garden in an unheated garage, room or basement, depending on the dryness of your climate. Water sparingly during the winter months if the soil appears dry. There is no guarantee that all herbs will survive the winter, but some may.
In the spring, place it in full sun when temperatures are in the forties during the day, even if it gets cooler at night. Water well. If they were alive, they would begin to grow within a few weeks.
And if they haven’t, start a new herb garden. You already have a container with rosemary from last year. And because herbs are rarely bothered by pests, it is good to reuse the soil.
Copyright Sharon Sweeny, 2009. All rights reserved.
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