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Growing Organic Herbs In Containers

Updated on May 28, 2016
MBurgess profile image

Gardening is my second passion. I love to watch seed turn to living plant and flower evolve into an edible thing. Spring enchants me.

Herbs Are Perfect Plants For A Container Garden

Growing your own herbs organically is a simple process and a rewarding venture. They are perfect plants in a container garden because if they don't like where they are growing they can easily be moved to another spot. They produce aromatic, flavorful leaves and foliage essential to favorite family recipes. They are as pleasing to the eye as they are the taste buds.

The staple herbs are Basil, Rosemary, Oregano, and Parsley, but there are many we could add to this list. Grow your own Onions or Garlic, Cilantro and Marjoram. Tend to these wonderful plants on a regular schedule and produce an organic crop that saves you time and money.

Herbs are expensive in the stores. The fresh ones in the pots run anywhere from $2.95 and higher. Over time this is a large expense out of a grocery budget. That money can be spent in better ways, like organic soil mix and cool gardening pots or harmonica lessons...


Images are property of M Burgess. Please, do not copy, thank you.

Planting And Growing Herbs - The Rusted Garden

Gary Pilarchik of The Rusted Garden discusses the methods and economics of planting and growing herbs at home. The methods he uses are easily replicated and can be done in containers.

There is nothing better to bring out the flavor of the foods you prepare than adding fresh herbs. Simply trim a small handful of the ones you need, like Basil or Oregano. Pull them from the stems by hand and slice them thin and add to your cooking. Please, let the plant get several dozen leaves on it before plucking them off. It is best to let the plants mature before use. Oregano is a bit tedious because the leaves are very small. Basil is easy. The leaves are the size of spinach. Rosemary needs to be plucked from the woody stems and cut into fine sections. It can be added in whole stems to soups or as a garnish for meat.

Herb Drying Rack - For Easy Homegrown Dried Herbs

You have a few options when choosing to dry your homegrown herbs. You can put them in the oven for a short time and heat them at 150 degrees until they are dry or simply let them set for about a day and a half. You can also tie twine to the stems and hang them. This is the best option for keeping the essential oils in the leaves. Store dried herbs in sterilized, glass jars for long term.

Basil Plants - Rescued

Rosemary Start In Container - Image: M Burgess
Rosemary Start In Container - Image: M Burgess

These Basil plants were $1 rescues from Trader Joe's. I quickly went to work on them and gave them a nice home. They are returning the favor in kind. As you can see in the picture they are flowering and I intend to let them go completely to seed. I have several small Basil plants in ready to transplant pots that I will replace these others with. I may not have to do anything to them. They seem to be doing great. I do have an issue with a cutting insect of some sort. I think a paper wasp has found my garden as I keep finding the oddest holes cut in the leaves. Some of the leaves are cut in a scalloped edge pattern and others will have a hole punched directly in the center of it. Odd, but creative varmint!

Variegated Oregano - Image: M Burgess
Variegated Oregano - Image: M Burgess

Oregano Plants

In Pots

My Oregano is doing quite well nestled between the tomato plants in my full bed garden. I plan on hanging the pots on the side yard gate where it is shady when the summer heat wave start blasting our valley. I have successfully grown Oregano in 18" pots and in smaller containers. It is a fairly easy plant to maintain. Do not forget to water it. It is not a very forgiving plant. Once it has dried out completely, you may as well discard the whole thing. It may or not revive.

Oregano has been a family spice cabinet staple for ages. My great granny used to use it in a macaroni dish similar to the one I prepare. I love it with any tomatoey sauce as well as many recipes it can be slipped into. The look and smell of this plant is very pleasing to me.

My Macaroni Stuff Recipe:

2 cups of prepared macaroni, drained

1 T Butter

2 small cans of tomato sauce

1/2 t Garlic Salt

1/2 t Oregano powder or 1 T fresh Oregano finely chopped

Optional:

1 pound browned and drained ground beef or turkey

1 medium can of green beans

Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt butter into the macaroni noodles and stir in the seasonings. Add tomato sauce and optional meat and beans. Heat well. Serve with a sprinkling of Parmesan Cheese if desired.

Herb Seedlings

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Parsley seedlings at about 3 weeks. These seeds took a long time to develop. I forgot what was in this container until they peeked out of the soil.Basil seedlings peek out to the sunshine. Hello, world!Cilantro is a great plant for an herb bed. It grows well if kept moist. Watch for aphids. They love to collect on the stem of this plant.
Parsley seedlings at about 3 weeks. These seeds took a long time to develop. I forgot what was in this container until they peeked out of the soil.
Parsley seedlings at about 3 weeks. These seeds took a long time to develop. I forgot what was in this container until they peeked out of the soil.
Basil seedlings peek out to the sunshine. Hello, world!
Basil seedlings peek out to the sunshine. Hello, world!
Cilantro is a great plant for an herb bed. It grows well if kept moist. Watch for aphids. They love to collect on the stem of this plant.
Cilantro is a great plant for an herb bed. It grows well if kept moist. Watch for aphids. They love to collect on the stem of this plant.

Cooking With Rosemary - Add To Stews, Roasts, Soups

Rosemary added to roast - Image: M Burgess
Rosemary added to roast - Image: M Burgess

Rosemary has a wide range of uses. I have learned to add it to almost everything I cook. The flavor of this herb injects a woody sweetness and compliments beef, chicken, and pork dishes. I add it to steamed kale and spinach. The above image shows it added to a pork roast I put in a crock pot.

When I commence to cook, I select and gather 4 stems off of my rosemary plants that are about 6 inches long. This is generally enough for the meal I am cooking. Strip the small, green sections off the woody stem and chop it up a bit. You may add the whole stem to a soup or stew. Remove the stems before serving unless Euell Gibbons is your dinner guest.

Crazy Herb Ideas

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Red Onions may be planted whole to seed an area with small onions. They will flower if you let them go.Lavender is soothing herb popular in herbal medicine and beauty products. It is said to be a lucky plant to have at the entrance to your garden.My brother thought it would be cool to plant all of these onion seeds in this window box. It looked neat so I left it as is. They need to be thinned.Rosemary is the first plant I set in the ground in my new home. It will grow in containers, but flood it at least twice a week. Daily when hot.The window boxes at the bottom of this image contain Apple Spearmint and Peppermint. These will grow well near a moist area like the garden spigot.
Red Onions may be planted whole to seed an area with small onions. They will flower if you let them go.
Red Onions may be planted whole to seed an area with small onions. They will flower if you let them go.
Lavender is soothing herb popular in herbal medicine and beauty products. It is said to be a lucky plant to have at the entrance to your garden.
Lavender is soothing herb popular in herbal medicine and beauty products. It is said to be a lucky plant to have at the entrance to your garden.
My brother thought it would be cool to plant all of these onion seeds in this window box. It looked neat so I left it as is. They need to be thinned.
My brother thought it would be cool to plant all of these onion seeds in this window box. It looked neat so I left it as is. They need to be thinned.
Rosemary is the first plant I set in the ground in my new home. It will grow in containers, but flood it at least twice a week. Daily when hot.
Rosemary is the first plant I set in the ground in my new home. It will grow in containers, but flood it at least twice a week. Daily when hot.
The window boxes at the bottom of this image contain Apple Spearmint and Peppermint. These will grow well near a moist area like the garden spigot.
The window boxes at the bottom of this image contain Apple Spearmint and Peppermint. These will grow well near a moist area like the garden spigot.

Helpful Gardening Resources - Growing Herbs

When you first start an herb garden anywhere, be it planted in the ground, containers, or window boxes, it may be a bit of a surprise to see what shapes these plants take on. A basil plant for instance will bush out and grow very tall if it is happy. Pinch the flowers back on this herb plant and when you are taking cuttings, pose them upside down when letting them dry or strip the stems out and use them fresh.

Herbs are as essential to your garden as tomatoes and peppers. They not only taste good in your fancy dishes, they help ward off certain insects because of their strong oils and scent. They serve a double purpose. If you have a spot in a container or in your garden that just isn't filling in with the plant that is already there, drop an herb plant in with it and enjoy the mixture.

Growing herbs in a small pot or a large container is a great way to add decorative plants that are cost effective and beautiful. Saving time and money is a concern we all have. Planting herb seeds and growing your own is a great way to accomplish this.

Growing Organic Herbs In Containers - Guestbook, Comments, and Reviews

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    • MBurgess profile image
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      Maria Burgess 3 years ago from Las Vegas, Nevada

      @asereht1970: One of these is Italian and the other a multicolored variety. There are many different leaf styles. I grew one from seed a few years ago that had rounded leaves. It had a very strong, wonderful smell.

    • asereht1970 profile image

      asereht1970 3 years ago

      We have oregano herbs but they look different compared to your oregano. Guess they have different looks.