Having fresh herbs just beyond your door is a real treat. Not only are they far more flavorful than dried varieties, but they are also visually appealing and highly fragrant. It only takes a little space to grow an herb garden, especially in a container. Even those with a balcony can enjoy growing and harvesting herbs. An herb garden is easy to grow in a container on a balcony, adding beauty and life to an otherwise drab outdoor space.
I lived in an apartment for a year when I first ventured out on my own. I had a one-bedroom apartment with an ordinary balcony. I was highly impressed by the other apartment dwellers that took great pride in their outdoor decor. They had gorgeous balconies that were embellished with plants, flowers, and stylish outdoor furnishings. I wanted a balcony that I could enjoy to the fullest extent and an herb garden.
Select Herbs that Grow Well in Containers
I spent many hours helping my grandmother plant and tend her garden, and I especially enjoyed the herbs. Not only did she have wide different varieties in her raised bed garden, but she also had a container garden near her back porch. She planted varieties that were sure to grow well in her container herb garden, and they seemed to always thrive.
When planning a container herb garden on a balcony, select a variety of plants, including sage, mint, parsley, oregano, rosemary, and basil. I do not recommend growing chives in a container with other herbs. Chives grow and spread incredibly fast. They can easily take over an entire container garden in a single season. My grandmother grew chives in a separate planter; we always had fresh toppings for potatoes, soups, and more.
Consider a Strawberry Jar
Instead of buying a large planter to hold several herb plants, use something more appealing. Consider a terracotta strawberry jar. A strawberry jar has openings on the sides, providing the perfect way to grow several plants in one container. In addition to harvesting, they will require continual pruning to keep them under control.
Use Rich Organic Soil and Perlite for Drainage
A terracotta strawberry jar typically has a single hole beneath for drainage, but do not rely on it. Place a piece of porous fabric over the drainage hole to keep the contents in, and fill the container with a combination of rich organic soil and perlite. Three-fourths of the mixture should be soil. The perlite will improve consistency while promoting drainage.
I loved having fresh herbs on my balcony. Even though I did not have a traditional garden, I could still grow and enjoy my favorite herb plants. I clipped off fresh oregano while preparing Italian dishes. I used basil, rosemary, and parsley in homemade soups and added fresh sage to my favorite salads mixture. The mint was superb in iced tea and chocolate beverages, and I used sugar-coated mint leaves to top many of my desserts.
Even though I no longer have a balcony, I still grow a container herb garden each year. It is easy to tend and grow on my patio. The herb cuttings add fantastic flavor to countless dishes and drinks. They are far better than anything dried and packaged for retail stores.