There is so much to say about herbs. Especially fresh. They are so remarkably different when they are fresh rather than dried.
So, what do you do when you have a 990 square foot apartment, two children 5 and 3 1/2, only three garden plots (that you don’t wish to be overtaken by said herbs), and limited sunlight in the apartment (bedrooms in the morning, living room in the afternoon)?
You plant your herbs in pots, of course. And just in case you think your neighbors will hate your pots all over the front walk (which mine don’t, thank goodness!), offer to share some of the results with them. And make sure to mention the aesthetic appeal and the lovely aromas of brushed herbs as you walk by.
But what to plant? Of course, with pots you can plant any type of herb and in multiple quantities. But what will you actually use?
Here is my list of often used herbs.
Chives: We have had chives for almost 7 years now. They have moved with us to three separate apartments and have remained outside year round. I have never had to buy new seeds. In the winter, they dry up and turn brown. At the beginning of spring I remove the dead strands and new ones come up.
We use chives a lot. But our favorite is in scrambled eggs with goat cheese and freshly chopped chives.
Basil: Regular genovese basil gets planted in the garden plot by the tomatoes to grow freely and keep pests away from the tomatoes. But Thai Basil is a whole other story. Thai Basil is a much stronger, more pungent version of your typical Italian variety. Its licorice taste is phenomenal and cannot be replicated. I usually plant two pots of this remarkable variety.
We have also planted purple basil and lime basil for various flavors and pesto varieties.
Sage: Sage also lasts all year round, which is nice because we usually only use it in the fall and winter. It starts to look shabby and sad at the end of winter, but has no problem returning. If planted in a pot, it will eventually outgrow the pot and you will have to start from seeds again.
Thyme: Thyme is another all-year plant, which we use all year long. Last year we planted a variation of this well-beloved herb called lemon thyme. This lovely variation was used in many salad dressings and we even made a pesto of it.
Cilantro/’Coriander’/Parsley: Now you might be asking why I lumped these two herbs together. One reason is to share this little known fact: many people do not like cilantro and/or parsley, often saying that that either one or both taste like soap. But did you know that these people have a genetic reason for not liking one or both of these herbs? As crazy as it sounds, people have a genetic pre-disposition to either loving or hating one or both of these herbs and almost all people with this genetic variation say they taste like soap.
My partner is one such person. He (as do I) loves cilantro and its more pungent cousin culantro. But hates parsley.
I, however, am fortunate enough to love both. And so both get planted in our pots. But we (I) use a lot of both, so we either do several pots of each or large pots.
Mint and lemon balm: We love mint and use it often in the summer for mojitos. We also love lemon balm and use it for the same reason and teas. But mint and lemon balm both grow wild in our apartment complex and so we do not need to grow them in pots. If you choose to grow either of these, remember that they both grow like weeds, sometimes they are even difficult to contain in pots. Also, there are several varieties of mint; you may need to experiment with different types.
Other container growing: Greens – lots of greens. Arugula, spinach, swiss chard, etc can all be grown in containers – year round!
Tomatoes, especially small cherry tomatoes and peppers.