There is nothing quite as wonderful as the smell of home-grown herbs. The powerful scent from a single leaf of basil is so incredible that it can instantly transport us to an Italian restaurant or our favorite pizzeria. And don’t even get me started on oregano. Having access to a selection of those amazing herbs from your very own DIY patio herb garden can elevate your cooking to new heights.
Whether you are a talented cook or a newbie in the kitchen, the addition of a few fresh-cut herbs to your evening meal will have you swearing off dried herbs in your next recipe.
The great thing is, you only need just a few key herbs on your patio and you can use them in different recipes and combinations. A little oregano, parsley, and basil will go a long way and their amazing flavors will have you using them more and more.
Starting your own patio herb garden is easier than you might think and the cost of investment less than you may imagine. By reusing containers you have at home you can turn a discarded pot into a small garden or a silverware organizer into a work of art. Sprinkle in a few flowering plants and you can use your herb gardens to decorate your patio all summer long.
Let’s look at a few of the more popular herbs and their uses. Make a list of your favorites and give them a try on your own patio.
Think outside of the box and get a little crazy with some unique scents and flavors.
Need ideas for an indoor kitchen herb garden? Tracy has a really nice tutorial here.
10 Popular Herbs For Your Patio Herb Garden
This plant comes in many varieties with sweet basil being the most popular.
A few chopped leaves go a long way. Use it in pasta, on pizza, or fresh bruschetta for a wonderful summer flavor that really elevates the sweet tomato.
This herb is recognized by its long grass-like appearance. Chives have a nice onion flavor and can be used in fish dishes, soups, and potatoes. Don’t forget the round purple flower of the chive. They make a lovely addition to a garden salad.
Also known as coriander this herb has a tart lemony taste. Mainly found in Asian foods it is also used often in salsas and other Mexican dishes. This herb can be used by dicing the leaves or drying and crushing the seeds.
Tastes just as it sounds and is mainly used in pickles. It also goes perfectly in fish dishes and soups. But don’t stop there, the flavors are so wonderful that if you add a bit of dill to your potato salad you can really elevate the flavors.
Another grass-like herb that has many uses and is mainly known for its strong lemon aroma. It is commonly used in Asian dishes as well as Indian dishes such as curry. Lemongrass also has many medicinal and is commonly used in teas which makes this herb a popular choice.
This is another of my favorites and is mainly known for its use in Italian dishes. Oregano tends to have a stronger flavor when dried but don’t let this stop you from growing it. You can easily pick and dry your own oregano and store it until needed. If you love homemade pizza, then you will want to add oregano to your DIY patio herb garden.
This herb grows best in moist well-drained soil and loves full sun. Another herb found in many different dishes it is mainly found in Italian recipes and can be used as a garnish as well. Parsley is perfect for the beginner cook because of its subtle flavor and wide recipe range.
This herb is pretty easy to grow and perfect for a patio garden. Mainly known for its use in stuffing it also does well in lamb and chicken dishes. Rosemary is more of a shrub so you may want to give this herb its own container. It resembles needles and it’s those needles that you will be dicing and using in your next holiday meal.
Another stuffing herb that is widely used is most poultry dishes but also with beef. This is a strong-flavored herb so use it sparingly. I would experiment a bit first with a smaller dish and work your way up from there.
This is an easy herb to grow in a patio garden because it loves the hot sun. A herb that has a very short fresh shelf life, thyme is a popular one to grow for that reason. Sized out by “sprigs” this simply means the stem. You can just remove the small leaves from the stem and add them to your favorite meat dish.
What Containers To Use For Your Herbs Patio Garden
Once you have your favorite herbs, next on your to-do list is to find a container (or containers) to grow them in.
This is where things can get fun and I encourage you to let your imagination run wild.
A pasta bowl, serving tray, bucket, a wagon, or even a large ceramic seashell are great patio herb garden containers. Your only concern will be if you have enough room for the plants and roots to grow, efficient drainage, and how easy it is to move if the weather becomes damaging.
How To Create Your Own DIY Patio Herb Garden
Step 1. Prepare your container
To prepare your container for planting, you will first want to remove any residue that may alter your plant’s growth. Paint or polyurethane are two that come to mind. Wash, sand, and wash again to be sure your container is clean and safe to use.
Step 2. Add a bit more protection
Next, you may want to line your container with thick plastic. This is especially true if you chose a container that is made of wood or a material that is prone to rust. This will add to the integrity of the container and give it a layer of protection from the constant moisture of the plants.
Step 3. Be sure there’s adequate drainage
Most DIY containers will not have good drainage and therefore you will need to take a few steps to prepare things. Use a hammer and nail or a power drill to create a few small drainage holes in the bottom of your planter.
I also like to put in a layer of rock or glass stones at the bottom of the planter. This keeps the roots from sitting in water that may pool in the bottom of your planter.
Step 4. Start with good quality potting soil
I like to use organic potting soil because I feel it will give the herbs the best possible start. After you put in a generous amount you will want to water things down a bit before adding your plants. The reason for this is because most potting soil contains peat moss and the water will simply make it easier to work.
Step 5. Add your plants to your container
Now for the fun part!
Take your new plants and loosen them from their pots, dumping them out so to speak, into your hand. Using your fingers break up the roots just a bit. This will help your plants take quicker to potting soil and encourage more growth.
Be sure to follow the individual herb instructions as to depth and spacing. Do not overcrowd your herbs or you will only end up transplanting them in a few weeks. Give them room to grow. This also encourages your herbs to develop strong root systems that will better withstand your area’s weather.
Step 6. Pretty things up
You can also add in a few floral plants to create decorative and edible works of art. Just by adding a few pops of color in your DIY patio herb garden, you will have beautiful plants that are not only wonderful to look at but are useful too.
Step 7. Water consistently
Be sure to watch your herbs so that they do not dry out in the heat of the summer sun. To check water levels, stick your finger into the base of the plant. If the soil is brittle and dry then you will need to water right away. I would do so in small frequent amounts. Too much water at once will just run through and out of the planter. Slow and steady wins the race here. The trick is to keep things moist but not overly wet as this will damage the roots and the plants.
Step 8. Do daily maintenance
Check on your herb planters each morning to remove any dead growth, water if needed, and cut if getting out of hand. If you need to do a cutting but are not planning to use your herbs in the near future, then dry your cuttings and store them until you need them.
Daily maintenance is a simple way to stop any issues before they start. Begin your morning with a cup of coffee and a stroll through your herb garden and dream up a meal just from the sites and smells that surround you.
There is nothing I love more than a selection of fresh herbs just steps from my back door whenever a recipe calls for them. By incorporating a few herbs with some of my favorite flowers, I am able to create a DIY patio herb garden that I can enjoy all season long.
Tracy Lynn is the founder of Simple Living Country Gal where she teaches readers the beauty of homesteading no matter where they may live.
She also gives tips on how to get started raising goats, chickens, ducks, and pigs. With a whole lot of gardening thrown into the mix to keep things really fun!