Fresh herbs are our number 1 tip for delicious, fresh and healthy food. Why? They add extraordinary flavor without adding calories. While you might not have a yard with garden space for herbs, all you need is a sunny front step, porch, or ledge for growing herbs.
Herbs are on our mind, as this past weekend we were in Portland teaching herb planting demos (which was such fun, HI! to all of you who stopped by). It’s also a subject on our latest podcast, which features 17-year-old visionary Katie of Katie’s Krops, whose life mission is to end hunger by encouraging youth to grow gardens. (Amazing!) Check out the podcast here for more.
How to grow herbs on your own? It’s quite simple; just check out our tutorial below. Also, watch this video — it’s pretty old and made me tear up when I watched it (we were so young!).
How to Grow Herbs (in Pots)
- Buy herb plants. We buy our herbs from starts (you can grow from seed, but that involves a bit more time and energy, and we find it easier to begin with starts).
**Our Top Herbs (in order of priority): Basil, Oregano, Mint, Dill, Thyme, Chives, Rosemary, Sage
- Buy pots. Any pots will do, clay or plastic. Important: Look for pots with drainage holes at the bottom. If the pots do not have holes, you can also drill holes.
- Buy soil and lava rocks. Purchase a potting soil mix. If your pot does not have drainage holes in the bottom (and even if it does), it’s nice to have some rocks in the bottom of the pot for good drainage.
- Fill pots to nearly full with soil, then make wells for the plants you plan to add. Do not overcrowd the herbs; leave plenty of space for growth.
- Loosen the roots of the herb starts to allow the plants to take root easily, then slide them into the wells.
- Cover with remaining dirt, up to the top of the pot.
- Place the pots in a sunny place, on a deck or front steps, or even a sunny ledge.
- Water the pots every few days, making sure that the soil does not dry out.
- Harvest the herbs as much as necessary; the herbs will continue regrowing throughout the summer. For basil, regularly pinch off the tops (where 4 leaves have formed); two stems will grow in its place and allow for a large, bushy plant (don’t be shy!).
- Eat! There’s nothing better than a pizza margarita or caprese salad with fresh basil from the garden.
About the Authors
Cookbook Author and writer
Sonja Overhiser is author and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best vegetarian cookbooks” by Epicurious, and a recipe developer and healthy & sustainable food advocate behind the award-nominated food blog A Couple Cooks.
Cookbook Author and photographer
Alex Overhiser is photographer and recipe developer of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the “best new cookbooks” by Bon Appetit, and a recipe developer, photographer, and technical expert at A Couple Cooks.