The Balcony Herb Garden, 2010

July 20th, 2010 - filed under: The Farm » Flora


Each year, along with my actual garden, I plant a variety of pots that live right outside my kitchen – here’s 2009. These hold all the fresh herbs that will enhance my kitchen exploration from late spring to early fall. And let me tell you, there’s something *so* satisfying about plucking your seasonings straight from the pot and into the platter!

IMG_0345Oregano – one of my very favorite fresh herbs. I use this a LOT.

IMG_0349The biiiig pot of parsley. I don’t use tons of parsley in my recipes, but it’s *awesome* for homemade stock.

IMG_0352Cilantro, mmmmm. Mexican food is made for summer.


IMG_0715Thyme is my other favorite herb. So perfect in so many dishes of the season!

IMG_0713My dill is just now coming alive, I can’t wait till it it’s matured. I don’t cook much with dill but it makes a mean green smoothie! (pair with strawberry, oh man!)

IMG_0716That header picture up at the top of this post was taken a few weeks ago. ^^^ That is what it looks like these days – filling out quite nicely I’d say!

IMG_0718I didn’t think my jalapenos would make it after such a late-start summer, but here they come. Hot!

Container gardening is an awesome option for apartment-dwellers and others with limited space. You certainly don’t have to let your circumstances stop you. Even if it’s just a little basil on your window sill, anybody and everybody can be a farmer!

Are you growing any herbs this year?

  • Janine – Alternative Housewife

    I killed my patio cilantro and thyme! My mother brought me two tiny plants and they just didn’t do well in the window or on the patio. I blame the crazy weather! (Except yours looks great so obviously I’m making excuses.)

    I really want to do hot peppers but I don’t cook with them anymore because I had a bad experience doing so and then removing my contact lenses!

  • Cindy

    I’ve never tried growing my own cilantro. My husband and I go through so much that I doubt we’d keep up with the demand. Do you find it as finicky as Janine, Sayward? Yours is doing well, so I’m hoping you have some tips.

  • Erin B.

    My parsley isn’t doing so well. But I’m trying.

  • Karmalily

    I love growing herbs, and I always do it in pots. I’m moving in to a house (from a terrible apartment in a huge complex) and my roommates want me to plant a little herb garden in the yard. I’ll happily oblige! You’re right about picking things right out of your yard – one of the best feelings in the world is when you need some sage for a recipe and you can just walk outdoors and grab as much as you need.

  • The Vegan Smartypants

    Ab-so-lutely! Parsley, rosemary, teeny weeny peppers, and cilantro.

  • Sayward

    @ Janine – Alternative Housewife – Actually my cilantro has began struggling, I think because of the wacky weather. It’s already flowering! I’m thinking of tearing it out and replanting another round . . .

    @ Cindy – In my experience cilantro is medium-finicky. A bit tougher that something like thyme or oregano, but not nearly so delicate as basil, which I consistently slaughter, haha. If you eat a lot of it you might as well give it a try!

    @ Erin B. – Trying is good! You gotta start somewhere! =)

    @ Karmalily – I grew sage my first year and I didn’t use it one single time, so I haven’t grown it since. But I love the idea of it! What do you use it on?

    @ The Vegan Smartypants – Rosemary! I need to get some rosemary going, mmmm rosemary roasted potatoes and fresh baked rosemary sea salt bread, nom nom nom.

  • Lindsay Jewell

    Ohh that cilantro looks dreamy. We’re growing herbs, too, but maybe I should have lumped them together rather than giving them individual cells (they’re planted in the holes of old cinder blocks. Yum, yum. :)

  • f

    Our potted basil and rosemary are taking over!

    However, our potted peppers have aphids… Sayward, shy of a box of ladybugs, is there an organic way to get rid of pests without harming pollinators? Thanks

  • Sarah

    I love your labeled pots! I was thinking about doing labels one of these days, but I’ve been hiding out from the heat lately.

    Even though we live in a rented house with over 1/2 an acre of yard, it’s nearly completely shaded by trees. I spent a whole weekend this spring making a shade map just to figure out where I could get some sun :) My whole sunny container garden is situated around a tiny area by the front door…

    I have tomatoes, jalapeños, cayennes, oregano, piccolo basil (so cute!), chocolate mint, marigolds, creeping rosemary (I use this all the time for my husband’s vinegar hair rinses), and a bunch of other stuff… I did have cilantro and bigger leaf basil, but the cilantro already bolted and died back in this heat. I saved lots seeds, though-coriander and next years crop. I think the basil got devoured by a caterpillar family…
    It’s funny, but high summer down here usually means the plants stop producing for a while-tooooo hot and wet. But, I get lots of spring/fall food :) Well, the cayenne is crazy still, though-it really really likes its spot apparently because I think I’ve counted about 25+ peppers on that thing!

    I need to figure out to use the dried peppers- I wonder if I could grind them up for powder. They keep a really long time regardless…

  • thewoodlanders

    I’ve had the weirdest year, herb-y wise. For years I have struggled to grow any herb without it dying on me within a few weeks. This year I decided to concentrate pretty much exclusively on herbs in order to make salves etc, and they have all grown enormously. I now have a herbal jungle!

    I have all manner of herbs in there, mostly old english herbs originating from the 1600s which have adapted perfectly to our changeable climate over the centuries. I also have clothing dye plants (i.e. woad) and a native wild flower patch.

    Your herb garden looks phenomenally pretty though, far nicer than mine, and I love your pots!

  • Tenise Rae

    YES!! You MUST get rosemary. It’s a must have, seriously.
    I went out and weeded the garden a bit the other day and my two year old daughter followed along willingly. Her job was to “pull weeds” around the rosemary plant; and I have to say that was a FABULOUS idea because she was simply scrumptious smelling for the rest of the day. It was truly awesome. =D

    Oh, and I just LOVE the little “hot” pots you have. So kick ass!!

  • erosan

    Herbs is the only thing I am still growing, since all my tomato plants died…

    I have basil and my faithful spearmint.

  • Christa

    Mmmmm fresh herbs – love, love, love oregano! Even better though is marjoram (I always joke it’s like oregano’s slutty cousin!)

  • Lily

    Yes! This year is my best yet for herbs. Our parsley and calendula were the fastest to grow, but the hyssop has caught up. The oregano is pretty small, as is the thyme, and I wish I had planted more of them. We tried some quinoa this year! That is pretty neat to see what the actual plants look like, and the saponins on the leaves and tops. Basil is holding its own, and likewise feverfew. I hope to see more growth from them in the next few weeks. Oh yeah, and peppermint! It is doing really well and I am so excited to dry it all to use for tea this winter. I am so pleased with our garden this year! Good soil and plenty of water seem to do wonders, lol!

  • Sayward

    @ Lindsay Jewell – I love cinder block gardens! I think it looks so neat.

    @ f – I’ve had a lot of trouble with pests, mostly because I try to garden as veganic as possible and not kill anything unnecessarily . . . but they eat all my stuff! Grr. I know people who use diluted vinegar sprays or diluted castile soap sprays for aphids, not sure how it affects the pollinators. Sorry I couldn’t be more help!

    @ Sarah – Aww, that’s so cute – I can just see you out there, mapping out the sunny spots. Too bad it’s so limited! But it sounds like you’re growing a ton of stuff. I’d love to do cayenne – never even thought of that!

    @ thewoodlanders – I always just do a small selection of cooking herbs, but I have dreams of doing an entire medicinal herb garden! I think it wold be so amazing to dry my own teas, make my own ointments and oil infusions! Oh man, that’s the dream. Some day! =D

    @ Tenise Rae – That reminds me of my house in southern California – we had a whole rosemary hedge along the front of the house, and my dog Harley liked to use it as a backscratcher. He would walk up and down, up and down, just rubbing all up in it, and then come cuddle with me just reeking of rosemary. It was so awesome!

    @ erosan – Poor tomatoes. =( At least you get basil, I’m jealous!

    @ Christa – Okay, next year I’m definitely growing marjoram then! =D

    @ Lily – Wow that sounds awesome! THAT IS SO COOL that you are growing quinoa! Will you be able to harvest the seeds to eat? How many will you get, ie is it worth it for the yield or is it just for fun? I’m totally intrigued! I’ve thought about growing my own legumes before (soy beans, chickpeas), but never grains. I’d love to hear more!

  • Lily

    Well, over the winter we started eating more and more quinoa and I was curious as to what the plant looked like and how it grew. We planted it in April, and it is about 12 – 16 inches tall right now. Most of the seeds germinated so they require thinning, but that’s fine because you can eat the leaves in salad. If you don’t like them bitter, make sure to wash off the saponin. When the saponin is gone, the leaves start sticking together. I think they taste like a combination of lettuce and spinach.

    We will try to harvest the seeds and then see what the yield is. It’s more for fun this year, and the experience, but I think quinoa will become a regular in our garden. It’s so easy and rewarding to grow.

    Hmm, I’d be interested to grow beans and chickpeas. I planted a ginger root once, and that was a special treat!

  • Sayward

    @ Lily – That’s so awesome, thanks for the info. I really want to give that sort of stuff (beans, grains) a try!