Are you motivated to add fresh flavour to every meal you make? If the answer is ‘yes,’ then consider a pot or two of culinary herbs on your patio.
Do you love mint tea? Are you planning to bake potatoes? Contemplating bruschetta and tabouli salad? Then you need mint, chives, basil and parsley at your fingertips. If you usually grow petunias on your balcony or deck maybe it’s time grow your own mojitos instead!
Herbs are food enhancers and add natural fresh flavour to everything from drinks to desserts. Plus, adding an herb pot to your patio is easy once you’ve picked your plants.
Start with Basil
Greek columnar basil is an ideal shape for the middle of a patio pot. Unlike other basil varieties this clonal variety stays narrow and will easily reach 45 cm tall.
Basil tip: While most basil dies back and their leaves go bitter after blooming, Greek columnar basil is very slow to bloom and stays green and tasty well into fall.
Flat-leaved Italian parsley easily fills a whole pot but curled parsley is the tasty and petite cousin. It is a great filler plant so place it next to your columnar basil.
If there is one herb I can’t be without it is chives. The tidy, grass-like leaves fill out a mixed pot and together with their onion-flavored purple petals they decorate both salads and baked potatoes.
The hardiest herb to grow everywhere is mint. Mixed into watermelon salad, muddled into cocktails, or steeped into tea, mint is versatile for every part of the meal. Richter’s online catalogue lists over 50 kinds of mint and I order seven types for my garden including mojito mint.
However, most gardeners are afraid mint will take off and run rampant through the garden, as it has a tendency to spread. But in the confines of a pot on your patio, mint stays put. If space is limited, I use Corsican mint because it tumbles over the edge of a mixed-herb pot instead of taking up vertical space.
Gardening may seem old fashioned but growing your own mojito mint cocktail? That’s pretty cool. What are you waiting for?
Get your green thumb dirty this spring with a container garden. Growing your own herbs on the patio is simple and rewarding.
- For ease and visual interest start with a pot at least 14 inches (30 cm) across.
- Buy one basil, two chives and two parsley plants.
- Add a second or even third pot for mint, fennel, dill, rosemary or any other herbs you crave and use.
- Prepare soil by mixing equal parts worm castings with commercial potting mix.
- Toss in a handful of organic all-purpose fertilizer before you place plants.
- Water and enjoy.