Planting Herbs in a window box or outdoor table top container is an easy way to make your own organic, fresh edibles that you can pick and add to almost any meal. Try to get a box with a little more soil and volume in it and you can maximize your garden space while also watering less often. Most herbs work best with weekly liquid fertilizer and high quality potting mix. Make sure your window box has good drainage and adding a thin layer of pea gravel on the bottom can help with making sure you don't have standing water or get root rot.
1. Lettuce. Planting lettuce in a pot is actually very easy. Lettuce doesn't need deep root space and grows quickly without fertilizer in cool climates. Since it's lettuce you can easily eat fresh, organic salad anytime you want to.
2. Oregano. This perennial herb is not only full of antioxidants but it just looks great in a window box with it's trailing vine like leaves. It does well in the harsh conditions of sun and dry soil making it a good herb for beginners.
3. Parsley. Parsley is a great multi-vitamin plant with numerous health effects that can be chopped finely and placed into various foods for seasoning. It's an annual plant lasting till winter but can live through winter in warmer climates. The best time to plant is in spring. Try not to over pick the leaves or it can hurt this plant.
4. Thyme. This perennial needs shade to grow outside but can even be grown indoors by a window near your kitchen. It grows fast and can outgrow a container which means you can prune them often and cut leaves for eating. Chopped leaves and stem work great in soups or as topical seasonings.
5. Mint. These leaves are great for making tea or can be chopped up and placed in yogurt for antioxidant flavoring. Mint plants need deeper containers for their roots, preferably 10-12" deep and wide. It spreads very quickly resulting in a continuous stream of fresh new leaves to pick but it can be invasive if grown next to parsley.
6. Lavender. The attractive blue flowers and leaves of lavender are aromatic making them great for use in making your own balms, soaps, or scents. You can make your own "infused" lavender oils by heating the leaves and flowers in a special process. You can chop the leaves out and dry them out for a few days then add to a warm bath to soak in and release the scent. This plant can even be eaten.
7. Chamomile. This herb grows attractive and fragrant white flowers. You'll need deep 12" inch pots for this larger plant. Chamomile is great for teas. Just boil some water and then drop the leaves in for 10 minutes to soak. You can also add the leaves to your salad and eat them.
8. Rosemary. This savory herb has all kinds of uses in the kitchen. You can eat the leaves and they go well in stews or as pasta or meat toppings. It has medicinal benefits for blood circulation and brain function. It grows thick and tall so will need a pot of 12" root space. It's an annual you can plant each year or you can bring it indoors during the winter and put it near a sunny window.
9. Cilantro. This savory herb can be added to meals but don't cook it. Instead add the leaves raw to a cooked meal so it doesn't lose it's flavor. Cut the bottom leaves of cilantro which are less bitter in taste. Once this plant begins to flower it will stop producing edible leaves. The flowers will eventually die dropping the seeds which will take root the following season.
10. Lemon Verbena. This herb is great for digestion and has a lemon smell which makes it great for tea. You can add chopped, dried leaves to fish dishes and yogurt for a lemon taste. This herb can grow to tremendous height of several meters in large outdoor pots or can be planted in smaller pots for indoors.
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