Less Noise, More Green: Planning a Herb Container Garden

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Planning a Herb Container Garden

Planning a herb container garden, urban farming

Who wants to guess what kind of weather we are having today?  If you guessed more snow, you win a prize. I feel like we are living in perpetual winter, as if we have been transported to Narnia in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I keep expecting to see the faun, Mr. Tumnus, appear from behind my pine tree holding his umbrella. Actually, tea and toast in front of his living room fire sounds rather lovely.

You are going to have to use your imagination as you read my post today. The plan was to show you my empty deck then explain my ideas for a herb container garden. Instead you get these shots:

Can you see the size of the snow flakes coming down?

I'm sure you get the idea! Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow in containers. As long as you meet their basic light and water requirements and provide a big enough pot for them to grow in, they do not need a lot of attention.

Growing rosemary in a container, urban farming
Rosemary growing on my deck last year.

Each year I try to find more ways to increase production in my little urban farm. This year I am trying to maximize the amount of food I am growing in my beds and one of the ways I can do that is by removing most of the herbs and growing them in containers. By placing these pots on the back deck, the herbs are closer to the kitchen for quick harvesting. I also want to grow more edible flowers. These will grow nicely in containers with the herbs and together, will form a nice garden for my family to enjoy.

Planning herb container garden, urban farming

Here is a drawing of how I envision the deck looking. As you can see the deck faces north. The sun is in the front of the house in the morning, leaving the back in shade until around noon time when it starts to move around the house. Most of the deck is in full sun for the rest of the day, something that is hard to imagine right now!


The movement of the sun is important to know when planning any garden. All the herbs and flowers I plan to plant in this container garden will need to have full sun all afternoon for them to thrive. I have a long stretch of open space on the deck against the house but because of an over hang, this wall is in shadow for some of the afternoon. This means I can't plan on placing containers there. I may monitor higher up the wall, though. I want to plant hanging baskets full of strawberries and this maybe the place to do it, where squirrels can't reach them. They will need the sun so I'll monitor how many hours that spot gets.

Growing edible flowers, urban farming
Nasturtium flowers are edible.

All the pots will be towards the front of the deck on a table or along the side near the door. I will also install window boxes. The three along the deck rail will contain leaf lettuce and trailing nasturtiums. I will also add a box on the east wall. This spot will get great sun all afternoon. I would plant strawberries here but the squirrels can access the box from the roof. Squirrels are so much fun.

Preserving herbs for the winter
Hanging herbs to dry for winter use. I want to preserve much more this year.

My goals for herb and edible flower production this year are:

  • Grow a large crop of basil and dill in the beds for preserving.
  • Grow enough culinary herbs in containers for fresh use and to dry for winter use.
  • Experiment with growing herbs to dry and use in teas.
  • Grow enough edible flowers for fresh use and to attract bees to the herb garden.
  • Create an attractive fragrant garden for family enjoyment.
Growing herbs in containers

Here is a list of the herbs and flowers I will be growing in pots this year:
Basil, rosemary, thyme, oregano, cilantro, parsley, cilantro, sage, chamomile, calendula, lavender, geraniums, zinnias, chives, mint, marigolds, garlic chives, lemon balm and nasturtiums.

Growing edible flowers
Marigold flowers are also edible.
I am definitely going to need more pots! Most of these plants I will be starting from seed. I have already planted the geranium seeds and will plant lavender this week to start indoors under grow lights.

growing herbs in containers

I have been pinning inspirational images of container herb gardens on a Pinterest board and this has given me some great ideas. Please visit and enjoy some amazing gardens!

I am so looking forward to being able to photograph more than just seed packets and snow. I know that time will come and for now I must be content with planning and dreaming. I hope wherever you are you are warm and surrounded by green.


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  1. Sue,
    Sometimes I feel as if we are reading each other's minds!

    I am planning to do more "food" related container gardening on my deck as well this year. It has usually been a spot reserved for flowers, but in my quest to grow more of our own food, I thought this year the deck would be more of an herb garden than a flower garden.

    I can relate to the snow, my deck and yard look pretty much the same as yours. Today they are predicting freezing rain for us.

    Here's to spring!

    1. Many herbs are also beautiful plants and have attractive flowers. I think we will have a very enjoyable container gardens!

  2. I can almost picture how it will look =)

    1. Yes, if you squeeze your eyes almost shut and think of spring!

  3. Lovely post Sue I am also planning a herb garden many thanks for sharing

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