If you don’t have a green thumb (like myself) but aspire to have grow something that you can use in the kitchen, potted herbs are a great place to start! The tricky thing is figuring out what to grow based on your desires, time and your climate. We live in the dessert so naturally things are a bit tricky to grow because of the heat. I have found 3 herbs are basically fool proof against the weather. Even the blackest thumb can grow these with a little love and some water! A benefit to growing herbs in containers is you can move them around your garden, landscape and even inside your house to adjust to the temperatures.
If you have some room in your house, you can also grow them in containers near a windo. Many herbs are easy to grow in small areas such as kitchen window sills. They still need the same things such as warmth, light from the sun and water. While it’s conventional to grow them in the kitchen, you can also grow them in rooms with better natural sunlight.
When it comes to container gardening, you have a few choices.
Seed or transplant?
We start by seed when we can. I have bought these seeds on Amazon and they have germinated well. The benefit to seeds is it is less costly. However, buying a transplant takes a lot of the leg work out of getting them started. If you choose to grow your herbs from seeds, follow the instructions on the packet to plant them.
What type of container?
I have read really, you can grow herbs in just about anything. Of course you’ll want to make sure it has a good drainage system, can hold water and is safe for edibles. I love these unique pots for herbs. A tip is if you do plant in terra-cotta pots, they will absorb the water so try to soak the pots prior to planting in them.
How much should you grow?
I say, you can never have too many herbs! If you plan on drying and storing herbs for later use, keep in mind that they will shrink incredibly so you’ll want several plants in order to do this.
Here are a few of our favorite herbs we grow in containers:
This basil plant was grown from just a few seeds 1 year ago. It has lasted in a pot on the front porch in the desert climate. Because of it’s durability, it’s one of my favorite herbs to keep here. You can see at the bottom, I am sprouting a few other seeds, we’ll see how many we can grow in just 1 pot!
To harvest it, we just trim each of the leaves off as we need them. You can easily identify which ones are ready for harvest by just looking at the size. If they are about an inch or larger, they are perfect for harvesting though if you pick ones a bit smaller that is okay too. When it starts to bud flowers, we just trim the top off. I have heard you can eat the flowers though I have never tried.
Rosemary is another sturdy plant for the desert climates. This was a transplant we purchased and now it’s about 1 year old and still thriving. I have read that sprouting rosemary from seeds may be tricky but it’s doable. The tip is soaking the seeds in warm water first so we purchased these from Amazon and did just that. I planted the soaked seeds in a pot just this week and I’ll update this post if they sprout.
To harvest it, we simply either pick some of the quills off or cut off branches.
One of our other sturdy desert herbs you can keep in a container is mint. It seems like people are torn on this plant, you either love it or you think it’s a pest. There are a number of things you can make with it though!
- Cut some fresh leaves and place in ice water
- Make extracts or syrups
- Enjoy a delicious mojito
- Mint leaves can help with stomach pains
- Use the leaves to make a tea
- Turn it into an essential oil
- Use as an insect repellent
- Use as an ingredient in homemade cleaners
Do you plant in containers? What types of herbs are your favorites?