Plant a Container Herb Garden

Turn your patio into a container herb garden and harvest the delicious results.

| March/April 2012

When it comes to choosing between containers of flowers or herbs on the back deck, good first choices might include a planter of lemon thyme; an old stockpot bursting with lavender; long, low containers of various mints; an old kettle brimming with parsley; and a barrel of chives, dill and lime basil.

Indoors, aloe vera plants make a great addition to garden windows. The best part is each plant can be used in a number of tasty, beneficial and/or healthful ways.

Herb gardening favorites

Lemon Thyme: Flavorful, fragrant, attractive and easy to grow, this plant looks as good as it smells. Crushing the leaves between your fingers releases a delicious lemon scent. When it flowers, a mist of frosty pinkish-lavender blossoms makes for a pretty sight. A tasty addition to fish and poultry, it adds zing to garlic bread and a delicate flavor to soups. Steep a few leaves with mint and lime basil for a relaxing, nutritious tea.

Lemon thyme should be grown in its own container. Line the bottom with gravel, fill with a good potting mix, and don’t let it get too wet or dry.

Lavender: English lavender is popular among both herb and landscape gardeners. A bush shrub that grows to 3 feet high, lavender’s silvery leaves are strongly perfumed, and the tiny flowers are beauty at its best. Use a large container and place in full sun.

Lavender can be used in cooking, but a favorite use is to harvest spikes of mature lavender after the flowers are opened, hang them to dry in a dark, well-ventilated area for two weeks, and then crush them onto squares of thin cotton. Gather the fabric edges and tie with string. Sachets freshen closets or chests, and repel moths. Tie under the bath faucet for a relaxing soak.

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