A Kitchen Herb Garden

Snipping fresh herbs from a planter right outside your door from your home is a truly wonderful experience during the summer months. Whether adding them to your favorite homemade recipes, drying or putting herbs in oils, or adding to teas, herbs will enhance every flavor.

In addition to the usefulness of cooking with herbs and the many health benefits of eating fresh herbs, they make a wonderful addition to your outdoor surroundings. Many herbs bloom and come in various colors and textures. They are heavenly scented, especially noticeable when you brush against an herb plant in a container garden. And the care is quite simple for many herbs. Be sure to water regularly as needed and watch them grow as you snip pieces daily from your kitchen herb gardens.

Herb gardens are also wonderful to share when entertaining. With just one or two planters, you will have the opportunity to share amazing scented snips to present in your refreshing summer cocktails. Did you know you may flavor vodka with herbs?! Perhaps you will add herbs to your homemade breads or in butters. Or add them to your tea recipes. You may even use the stems of rosemary when grilling up steaks or add a mix of freshly chopped herbs to your fish recipes.

In this installation story, I share the herbs I planted in large containers on a high-rise balcony. Many of the herbs planted are my own grown in my greenhouse from seed. Every season, I start herbs from seed as well as tomatoes and hot pepper plants. Each year, I introduce new varieties, hand-selected based on color, features, and flavors.

Mid Season Photo of Cathy T’s Installed Herb Garden Planters

Growing my own herbs and planting them in kitchen herb gardens for clients is a truly rewarding experience. All of my seeds are 100% organically sourced and grown without harsh additives. The potting mix used is sterile, fresh, and clean. I do not use any harmful pesticides and the plants are fresh seedlings installed around late-May when temperatures are safe for many herbs. And many herbs are sourced from local growers when I wish to locate special unique types such as orange mint or a special feature, such as a trailing spiller rosemary.

Basil with White Edges from a Local Grower

There are many must have herbs in kitchen container gardens. If you like basils, as shown above, two types of basils were used in the large planter I installed for my clients last season. Basils thrive in the hot summers of Connecticut. There are many basils to try, but one of my all time favorite suggestions in kitchen gardens are Genovese Basils (large-leafed) and perfect in pesto’s, not to mention fresh on sliced tomatoes. Purple leaf herbs add a colorful contrast to the groupings. Thai basils add a rich and distinctive anise-inflected taste. Their purple stems are pretty as well as their narrow leaves.

Your herbs’ flowers will be visited by our pollinator friends, bees! This helps your environment and everyone’s. Having herbs at your finger tips is something, I think, everyone should have. All you need is plenty of sun, because most herbs require about six to eight hours of sunlight. And a bit of watering care. Other than that, it is quite easy to grow herbs in containers. They are not demanding and give you a repeat harvest as you snip stems or leaves, they continue to grow on all summer.

Tulsi Basil

Each container can be a mix of herbs of common to unique types. I search out the specialty herbs from local grower sources based on the clients’ preferences and specifications. It may look as formal or as natural as you prefer. Or you may opt to have a solo patio pot of herbs as a centerpiece on your balcony, deck, or special outdoor space. I promise you, an herb garden is an element to your outdoor surroundings you will truly enjoy all summer long, sometimes into early fall. Herb kitchen gardens also make wonderful conversation pieces with friends and family.

Hot Peppers Grown by Cathy T.

Tulsi basil (Sacred Basil) is an herb with a heavenly scent and often used in teas and in Ayurveda. However, they also make amazing landscape patio plants, blooming over the summer into fall. Our pollinator friends adore the blooms and visit them often. If not used as a tea, it makes a beautiful flowering addition in a patio pot or in a mixed planter of herbs. Tulsi basil can be dried after harvest and kept for months. It has many helpful benefits. The tall spikes of flowers are extremely long-lasting.

Enjoy adding a bit of hot spice to your life? Many hot pepper plants are easily grown in container gardens, adding another wonderful color to your kitchen gardens. The peppers colors change from green to red, some are yellow or purple and these are also easily stored over the winter. Dry some in the oven and put them in a grinder to shake on all your recipes for months to follow. Another bonus, insects do not often disturb hot pepper plants or herbs. They are easy care plants.

Hot Peppers Plants in a Patio Pot

I use soil mixes especially formulated for containers and patio pots. Large containers allow for holding plenty of soil to help reduce your watering needs but herbs maybe grown in smaller containers grouped together. Picture a wondeful grouping of terracotta pots filled with various herbs. While many herbs do not require lots of fertilizer to thrive, some will be enhanced with it if needed and are provided with slow-release fertilizer upon the initial installation stages.

I top all my container garden installs with gravel, stone, or moss to give the display a finished look. This also helps to keep soil moist, reduces splashing, and helps finish off the look of your kitchen herb and vegetable gardens. Many tomato plants may be added to your kitchen garden area. Imagine popping a fresh cherry tomato in your mouth as you water your herb garden this summer.

All you have to do with an herb garden is water appropriately, and enjoy the harvest in every meal. In the winter months, enjoy the herbs you harvested and stored in your freezer. By the end of the summer, my client’s kitchen herb garden was extremely full. We harvested every last stem and leaf to carefully dry and store for the winter.

Early Summer
Mid to Late Summer
Just before Fall Install – Looks how massive the herb gardens grew!

If interested in more information to plan out your herb kitchen garden, contact me as soon as possible in early spring to discuss your needs. My cell number is 860-977-9473 or you may email me at containercathy@gmail.com.

Thank you,

Cathy Testa
Container Crazy CT
Broad Brook, CT