Imagine a garden that is easy to grow and even easier to harvest. It's possible with a few containers and a handful of herbs. Add sun, soil, water, and a little love, and you'll soon be turning everyday meals into something special with homegrown sprigs of basil, thyme, oregano, and more.

By Emily Murphy of Pass the Pistil
Updated August 27, 2019

Herbs are among the easiest edible plants you can grow. By growing herbs in containers, these aromatic flavor-boosters can be placed within easy reach for adding to your home-cooked meals. And depending on the size of your containers, they can be moved indoors or out between warm and cool seasons so you can have your herb garden year-round. While just about any container will work, there are endless possibilities for the way you grow them and what you grow together. Emily Murphy of Pass the Pistil shared some of her favorite herb container garden ideas.

Person demonstrating how to plant herbs in strawberry pot

1. Grow Herbs in a Strawberry Pot

You can grow several different herbs together in a terra-cotta strawberry planter. Most herbs prefer excellent drainage, which this container is especially good at providing because of its vertical design. Plus terra-cotta is a perfect material for growing herbs, because it helps wick water away from stems that might otherwise rot when overwatered. Fortunately, most herbs can be mixed and matched as needed. However, I generally plant herbs like cilantro and Italian basil together because they like moderate amounts of water and grow in richer soils than some of their more drought-tolerant counterparts like oregano and thyme. Overall, they are a forgiving bunch, so have some fun and experiment with planting combinations. Then, place your strawberry pot herb garden right outside your kitchen door or along your front walk for easy harvesting.

Plants in ammunition containers hanging on chains

2. Creatively Repurpose Containers

I like to think almost any container can be repurposed for growing herbs, such as metal tins, trash cans, vintage washtubs, and lobster pots. Just remember that the smaller the container, the faster it will dry out, which means you will have to water it more frequently. Because you will use it to grow edibles, make sure the container is clean and do not re-use anything that held paint, gasoline, or other potentially harmful chemicals. 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. When deciding what to grow in your repurposed containers, the key is to start by growing the things you love. Then, if there's room, throw something new into the mix. This year, I've been experimenting with three new-to-me varieties of basil.

Box planter with variety of plants

3. Make a DIY Wine Box Herb Garden

When I was growing up, dill and mint were some of my favorite herbs. The aroma of freshly cut mint filling the kitchen was the prologue to sun tea, and dill always signaled pickles. I've since added a host of other herbs to my list of favorites. Caraway thyme, pineapple sage, and rose geranium are just a few. This wine box herb garden is small enough to move around and just big enough for a handful of your favorite 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.

Herbs remind us that some of the most wonderful kitchen garden crops are the simplest. Give these plants plenty of sun and a container with good drainage and you're halfway there. Whether you test some of these ideas in your garden or use them as a starting point for a design all your own, no doubt you will have plenty of delicious herbs close at hand when you need them.


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