Planting an Herb Garden…in a Pot.

I have a relatively large backyard for living in an urban area, yet my herb gardens live in pots. There are many reasons for this, but I first became a believer in the potted herbs after my first attempt at growing them. I had purchased seedlings and planted them hoping to serve more flavorful dishes to my family without handing over $3.00 every time a recipe called for fresh herbs. It was going well, my plants were growing, and then June appeared and brought with it a rash of thunderstorms. One thunderstorm in particular sent high winds and hail whipping through my backyard and, subsequently, my herb garden. That was the end of my first herb garden.

Ever since that first year, I’ve gone to planting my herbs in easily transportable pots. When the thunderstorm comes brewing, I’m out there ushering them under the eaves of the house to protect them from any harsh elements. I’ve even had them spend a night in the kitchen until it was safe to come out the next morning. Yes, I cherish my herb gardens.

First, get your pot of choice and your seedlings. I have a mix of seedlings from seeds and starter plants from our local farmer’s market.

This is dirt from an herb garden from last year. Ole gave it a good hack to cut up all the root systems, and I’ll use this as the base dirt for all of my herb gardens along with some compost from our compost pile in the back corner.

This is the base in one of my new pots. We did two pots last year, but Ole wants to expand further so we have more basil and parsley for pesto later in the season. We then freeze it and have homemade pesto all winter long to keep us going during the cold winter months.

We’re going with a total of four pots this year. We have a “pesto pot” full of nothing but basil and parsley, both flat and curly. We also have a pot that houses arugula and spinach with one tiny mint plant. The mint plant dominates every year, so I’m hoping I gave them adequate room to spread out together. Pot 3 contains two of each: rosemary, thyme and oregano. The last pot is full of dill, chives and cilantro. Our first year I started with one of each herb in one pot. I’ve definitely grown since then.

See those? Those are recycled packing peanuts. They help with drainage. I had someone suggest it once after a sad herb garden attempt, and it worked. You could also place stones or perlite in the bottom of the pots to help keep your herbs from sitting in soggy soil. Herbs need to be watered regularly, but they will actually be more fragrant if you avoid excessive watering and keep them on the drier side of life.

Once you get all your soil in your pot, level it out.

Because I’m using new planting mix on top, it’s very easy to push aside to make room for my plants.

Insert your seedling and pack the soil down around it. Then repeat the process until all your plants have new homes in the dirt.

These are my four herb gardens. This may seem excessive, but I’m looking forward to drying out the extras and storing them for later use, and buying quality herbs gets expensive versus growing them myself. After you have all your herbs planted, give them a drink of water and repack the dirt around them to secure them.

I also planted a hanging salad basket. This is the first time I’m growing lettuce, so I’ll let you know how it goes. I read about the different ways to harvest it, and because it doesn’t need a lot of room, it is supposed to work well in window boxes and this lovely hanging planter. I dare the squirrels and rabbits to try to get to my lettuce.

Hello, basil. I’m going to eat you later. Just you wait.


  1. I love my potted herb garden! Salad greens grow really well. Had a fantastically easy time with them last year and I grew from seed. The only problem is the squirrels, cats and birds wind up face down in the “salad bar” a lot. Yes, I’ve watched birds nip off the tops of seedlings! And why cats find leaf lettuce tasty I’ll never know. They get plenty of homegrown catnip.

    Do you have any cilantro in your herb mix? You should. Tasty stuff for salsas, salads and I think some got snuck into the pesto one time.

    Looking forward to enjoying your site for a long time.

  2. I’m hoping you’ll be around and posting in the Spring when I’m thinking about starting a herb garden again! I had small pots and I had some success with basil, oregano, french thyme. I didn’t know what to do with them, but I had them 🙂 My basil was awesome! I made pesto, but I really should have bought more plants to make lots more. I ran out after only a month or two in the fall.

    Also, I had NO luck with cilantro. There must be a trick.

    Well, anyway, I’m just starting to browse your site, so I’m hoping there is lots more to come!

  3. My fresh herbs are doing great in pots too. I only have a balcony, so the garden is no option for me.. Your basil looks great btw. I read you dry your herbs too, that’s great, but I here of some people freezing them! You got any experience with that?

    • I love growing in pots This Year 2012 aim plating each in single Pot and doing mixed greens this year and then I rinse (clean and dry chop by hand Also and Freeze in ice cube trays and then put in freezer bags labled to use in soups and etc…. I hope to have a picture of this crop”)

  4. Alison, here’s my post over at Simple Bites on freezing herbs:

  5. I just finished reading an intriguing article that talked about how gardening has shifted during the past two decades. It seems that natural and all-season gardens are the future of gardening. Do you agree?

  6. For the first time this year, I’ve decided to winter sow lettuce and other salad greens. This is where you plant your greens in the middle of winter in recycled milk jugs that act as mini-green houses. I’m hoping that my lettuce will look as nice as yours.

  7. I live in an apt. and i would like to grow some Herbs in my window sills which get wonderful light and shade. i would like to know what kinds of herbs are there that i can grow in my apt.
    Thank You,
    Phyllis Harris

  8. If the Christmas party invitation specifies “holiday casual wear” as
    the dress code, don’t reach for your jeans. Besides, you can also avoid the rush
    of people in choosing the best of trinkets at local shops and unusual price bargains- one
    can easily get the attractively unique fashion jewels
    at home at amazingly reasonable prices compared to the conventional shops.
    that can offer you a great deal of fashion tips for your special occasion.


  1. […] or thoughtful introspection. I knew I wanted a kitchen garden, a potager, and already had my herbs in pots. I went to the farmer’s market, looked around, found a few things I knew I wanted like […]

  2. […] I also managed to make it to Trader Joe’s for pine nuts and olive oil to turn my herb pots into pesto. I’m going to harvest a bunch and care for them to see if I can’t one more […]

  3. […] in our gardening adventures. They’ve been right alongside us ever since we planted our first container garden on our patio when we […]

  4. […] few vegetables on your space. If you don’t have a yard or have very limited space, consider a small container garden for herbs. Herbs are expensive, and growing them is a huge money saver. You could also look into a community […]

  5. […] First, get your pot of choice and your seedlings. I have a mix of seedlings from seeds and       starter plants from our local farmer’s market. Read More… […]

  6. […] or a soccer game to get to or when you have nothing in the fridge. 2. Your Garden All those herbs you planted? The bounty of tomatoes, the zucchinis. How many zucchinis can you eat in a week, anyway? The […]

  7. […] Herb Garden in a Pot | Food for My […]

  8. […] Herb Garden in a Pot | Food for My […]

Speak Your Mind