A Vertical Herb Garden for Home Cooking

  • Difficulty Rating: Beginner
A Vertical Herb Garden for Home Cooking

In my garden, I always grow at least a couple culinary herbs, such as parsley, dill and chives. 

Most herbs are quite easy to grow, and you can’t beat the convenience. When I buy herbs at the store, I get much more than I need, so much of it eventually spoils and I waste money.

I prefer having these fresh herbs outside my kitchen door. That way I can snip the herbs I need from my garden, when I need them. And the aroma and flavor of these fresh mints, thymes and sages really add something special to my cooking. In fact, I’m rather lost without fresh herbs in the kitchen, substituting dry herbs only when I can’t find fresh.

That’s why I was delighted to try the new Fiskars Hanging Garden system. As you can see, the self-watering planters allow me to grow quite a few herbs in just a little space. I would imagine this planter would work great for apartments, balconies and small urban gardens. (Be sure to add enough space between the planters, so you can water the side holes with a watering can. I spaced these a little tight, but there’s still room for the watering can spout.)

In my little hanging garden, I’m growing chocolate mint (left); chives, parsley and dill (middle); and thyme and sage (right).  All were planted with a good quality potting soil, and a small amount of well-balanced organic fertilizers.  The herbs are in full sun, although our weather is mild in the summer. In hot climates, you may want to move dill and mint so they have afternoon shade.

I planted these herbs, based on their growing needs. For instance, mint can really take over the garden, so this container will keep my chocolate mint under control. Parsley, chives and dill like a moist, well-drained soil, so they are planted together. Thyme and sage make nice companions, as they can be quite drought tolerant, once established.

Pruning Dill

Dill is one of my favorite herbs. I like the fragrant leaves in dips, scrambled eggs and soups.  It’s particularly delicious with tomatoes or potatoes. We also use dill on our garlic bread.

I add dill towards the end of the cooking cycle to retain the herb’s aroma and taste. This cooking rule also applies to fresh parsley, basil and cilantro.

Some recipes call for these herbs to be added in the beginning, but I have noticed that they lose their flavors by the time the meal is served. That’s why I only add them near the very end. However, I do add hardier herbs like bay, sage, rosemary and thyme, as well as spices like caraway and fennel seeds, earlier in the cooking process.

Garden Shears and herbs

Once you have a nice selection of herbs around your home, you’ll find yourself adding them to a wide variety of culinary dishes.

Experiment with herbs in different ways. To get your mind going, here are some of my recipes to...

Make flavored butters with herbs

Freeze herbs for use in winter

Infuse honeys with herbs

Concoct a herbal-based spirited drink

Herbal mint tea

Speaking of drinks, I like to add a couple sprigs of chocolate mint to a pitcher of strong black tea. This makes a delicious ice tea that doesn’t need sweetener. Even after I remove the tea bags, I’ll leave the mint to continue flavoring the drink. Give it a try and see what you think.

Herb containers stacked

For added convenience, this hanging garden can be hung horizontally or vertically, as shown above in my garden.  As long as you have a solid wall and plenty of natural light, this versatile vertical garden brings the pleasure of herbs to even the smallest spaces.  Enjoy your meals!