Grow a variety of herbs in a single container, like this terra-cotta strawberry planter repurposed as a herb garden. Herbs love it because of the drainage the vertical space provides. Plus terra-cotta is a perfect material for growing drought-tolerant herbs, as it easily wicks water, improving drainage. Place it right outside your kitchen door or along your front walk for easy harvesting.
Repurpose metal boxes, trash cans, baskets, vintage wash tubs, and lobster pots as garden planters. Add drainage holes where needed with the quick work of a drill or hammer and nail, fill with soil, and you're on your way to a garden. Next, decide what you'd like to grow and devise a watering plan. Will you water by hand, set up a drip system, make use of nanny pots, or use an olla? Having a watering plan in place before planting is key to gardening success.
The key to any successful garden is to start by growing the things you love, then, if there's room, throw something new into the mix. This year I'm experimenting with three new-to-me varieties of basil and this lemon scented geranium (above). Next, it will be nutmeg scented geranium—because it's amazing! Fortunately, most herbs are water-wise and prefer well-draining soil, which means they pair well with each other and can be mixed and matched as needed. However, I generally plant herbs like cilantro and Italian basil together as they like moderate amounts of water and grow in richer soils than some of their counterparts like oregano and thyme. They're an overall forgiving bunch—have some fun and experiment with planting combinations.
When I was growing up, dill, parsley, and mint were some of my favorite herbs. The aroma of freshly cut mint and dill filling the kitchen were the prologue to sun tea and pickles. I've since added a host of other herbs to my list of favorites. Thai basil, caraway thyme, pineapple sage, rose geranium, and lemon verbena are just a few. They're seasonings and garnishes that double as fragrances and pollinator magnates. Herbs remind me that some of the most wonderful kitchen garden crops are the simplest. Most prefer lean soils and moderate to little water. Give them plenty of sun and a planter with good drainage and you're halfway there. In fact, I like to think that almost any container can be converted into a planter.
This wine box herb garden is small enough to move around and just big enough for a handful of different herbs. I often place it as a centerpiece on my outdoor table and keep it loaded with plants for cooking and cocktails, making it a perfect living centerpiece for work and play.