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Herb Gardens for the Tabletop

February 9, 2009

photos by Lizi Beth

photos by Lizi Beth

What’s exciting about table top herb gardens is that they’re so EASY.  Keep them near the kitchen in a windowsill or outdoor patio for convenient snipping while whipping up your favorite culinary dishes.  Not only are they easy to put together but they are easy to maintain.  Just be mindful similar light, water and feeding needs to make maintenance easy on yourself.

What supplies do I need for an herb garden?

  1. A container.  Roughly 8-9 inches high and however wide you want it.
  2. Ask yourself, “how many herbs do I want?” If you want a lot, then get a container at least 36 inches wide.  If you want less, get a container about 10-18 inches wide.
  3. Tools.  It’s handy to have a hand trowel, hand pruners and a convenient watering container.
  4. You will need some gravel or other small rock type material for adequate drainage.
  5. Of course you need some potting soil and plant food.

How do I put it all together?

  1. Fill your container with a small layer of gravel for drainage.
  2. Fill the rest of the container with plain potting soil to about an inch from the rim of your container.
  3. Plant the herbs with an even spacing arrangement.
  4. Draw a layout or use plant markers if you need help remembering which herb is which.

How do I care for an herb garden?

Sun The herb garden needs as much direct sunlight as possible so find a south or west facing window.

Water Water regularly to prevent wilting but be careful not to over water.  Roughly once a week should be enough, or stick your finger in the soil and water when it’s dry.  It’s important to not let their roots sit in standing water, so don’t water again until the first inch or so is dry.

Food Occasionally feed with a liquid fertilizer.  I like to use a water soluble type fertilizer and dilute it more than the manufacturers directions.  Then I do a deep watering to get the nutrients down to the roots.

Care When the herbs begin to flower pinch off the blossoms because you want the herbs to get leafy so you can use them in some yummy recipes.


What do I grow?

Well, you can grow whatever you use regularly in recipes or try something a little more exotic.  There is a long list of possibilities but here are a few popular choices to get you started.

  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Rosemary
  • Basil
  • Sage

What are some of the cool herbs you’ve grown or used?  What are some of your successes?  Failures?

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. Auntie Jo Jo permalink
    March 3, 2009 8:48 pm

    Thanks for the info and tips! I can’t wait to get started on one!

    • March 5, 2009 8:26 am

      Thanks for the visit to the blog. Good luck with your herb garden. What did you decide on? Indoors, outdoors, containers, or all three? Let me know if you blog about your new garden and I’ll be sure to link back to your blog.


      • Auntie Jo Jo permalink
        March 6, 2009 12:18 pm

        Hey Jayme–

        I think for it to work for me, I am going to do right outside on my deck…faces South. I think I will do it in some sort of container…I was thinking a wine barrel. A friend of mine found these adorable ones and I loved it. I am now hunting for one myself. I will update you as soon as it’s ready. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks! I am still researching the ideal planting time for our area. Thanks for all the help!

        • March 7, 2009 8:50 pm

          How fun for you! I hope you find that wine barrel you’re looking for. Be sure to updates us as you get further along. If you’re into taking photos, and you have a Flickr account, join our photo group to have them featured in our side bar.

          Let me know if you need some resources for your area. Have you tried your local extension service? They will be your best, and most accurate, resource for your local area. I call mine all the time!


          • April 25, 2009 1:11 pm

            Hey Jayme–

            I have a question. I am working diligently on my herb and vegetable garden. I wanted to use half wine barrels for my tomato and herbs but had trouble finding something locally. I recently picked up what looks like a knock off version of a half-wine barrel. But when I got home I realized there is a strong odor coming from them, it’s stained. Do you think it’s safe to use this? I went through a ton of trouble to find untreated wood for my veggie garden and didn’t think about my container gardening. Let me know what you think. Thanks in advance for your help.


  2. April 25, 2009 9:40 pm

    Auntie JoJo,

    Excited to hear you are breaking ground on that herb and veggie garden. Your question about treated lumber is a tough one for me and I hesitate in giving you a straight ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Depending on what/where you read about this topic, you will get opposing points of view. I tend to only gather my info from .edu websites, mainly extension service websites. Basically, what I’ve learned, is to avoid gardening with woods treated with creosote and pentachlorophenol, but chromated copper arsenate (known as CCA) doesn’t seem to harm plants. However, recent reports question whether or not arsenic stays bound in the wood.

    I prefer to practice the better-safe-than-sorry approach. If you are concerned, I would either return it for untreated, rot-resistant wood like redwood or cedar, or just line the container with plastic (remember to think about drainage if the container has holes).

    And to be super, super sure; call the store you bought it from and explain you are growing edibles, or call your local extension service. Let me know if you need help with the contact info.



  3. April 26, 2009 8:18 am

    Thanks Jayme for the feedback.

    I went through the trouble with the veggie garden, I will play it safe for this one too, give up the aesthetic!! Besides, those stained odors are strong so they have to be pretty heavy.

    Thanks for the resources. I appreciate all the help and I will send you some links to the new garden soon!!!


    • April 26, 2009 9:56 am


      Good choice to play it safe. I would love to see your pictures. Just about to post pics of my First Gardening Gig on my Flickr Group. Let me know if you’d like me to post yours to the group as well.


  4. December 19, 2010 8:56 am

    I very glad to find this site on bing, just what I was searching for : D also bookmarked .

  5. March 29, 2012 5:56 pm

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  6. May 22, 2013 3:49 pm

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