Who doesn’t love basil? I mean, the uses are endless! I love it on my favorite obsession...PIZZA. I can never get enough pesto. Just the smell of basil, when I water my garden completely puts me at ease. In the summers I run home from work because my basil needs me! This post is all about how to grow so much basil you’ll be giving it away. You’ll be shocked at how easy it is. A few summers ago, Lucille and I (yes, I named my garden) produced so much basil I didn’t know what to do!
Basil was just one of the plants in the raised bed but it was definitely a showstopper in the front yard. So, what’s my secret to endless amounts of basil all summer long? I’ll let you in on my secrets below.
Let me start out by saying basil is not a hard herb to grow. Just as long as you meet its needs it will keep on producing! First things first, give your dirt some love. I never missed a chance to feed my plants. As I built my raised bed I even used dirt that already had fertilizer in it for backup!
Next up, sun, sun and more sun! There were several places in my raised bed and container garden that I could have placed my basil but I put the plant in the area of the garden that received well over eight hours of sunlight a day. It was actually getting close to twelve hours. You don’t have to give my pizza garnish more than six hours but it does need full sun. Anything less than six hours will slow the growth.
Here is the most important step of all...clip your basil. This plant is one I would call the diva of the garden. It needs attention in that the more you clip the more it grows back! So get to pinching. You’ll be rewarded like crazy for a little love. Be sure to take the larger leaves and allow the smaller ones to grow.
Flowers are beautiful in a garden but you don’t want them on your basil. If a basil goes to flower the edible leaves will have less flavor. But not to worry. When you a tiny flower growing in just pinch it off. If you let it get just snip it off and clip a few leaves to get new leaves growing. Simple fix!
Here it is! Glitter Green Thumb’s top five perennial herbs to keep in your container garden. You must, you must, you must include fresh herbs in your garden. Be it a container/ patio garden, raised bed or endless fields.
If you’ve got the bug for growing your own food then why not garnish and season your dishes too. Not to mention the health benefits and endless ways to use herbs other than just eating them. But, that’s another post, for another day. So what are the best plants to keep in your herb garden? Why the perennial ones of course! This list of herbs makes a culinary come back year after year. I’ve had success with all of these herbs in my container garden. I saw my herbs come back without putting them in the ground, year after year. So here we go, my list of top 5 perennial herbs to keep your garden awesome. And if you’re ready to buy check out the shopping list I created at the end of the post.
Oregano. This is one herb that should definitely be kept in a container. Oregano is known for taking over the yard. If you plant this herb in the ground you will indeed take more time containing it than enjoying it! It’s also a tough little herb as it has returned several years in a row in a small pot.
Thyme! Have I ever told you that I’m a Maryland girl? By birth, I love my seafood. Thyme has this perfect light, lemony, mint vibe to it that can be just the right herb to a fish soup or grilled salmon dish. It also has a tendency to grow and cascade over a cute little container just like oregano. This one is a must.
This one was a pleasant surprise when I added it to my perennial herb garden. Lemon Balm has become my favorite herb to harvest for tea. You might be thinking,...wait,...what do I have to do to make homemade tea from my perennial herb garden? The short answer is... NOTHING! A clip , clip here and some hot water there and ! B boom,! tTea! That really was all that I did. I’m also a fan of loose leaf tea so I was sure to harvest tons of lemon balm from the garden to air dry in the kitchen and store away for later.
Sage is my next pick and by far my most undervalued herb! It comes back on its own each year and stands very tall. I’ve learned not to make this herb share a pot with others. The water routine for sage is less frequent and more on the dry side. Even with other plants that need less water this herb just seemed to beat to its own drum. When I finally moved my sage to its own pot, it doubled in height! With an increase in my harvest, I headed for the kitchen. I also enjoyed using sage in the kitchen more often than the traditional holidays to season turkey meat. Sage can really anchor a dish and provide a savory element to soups and veggies!
Oh, yes! Mint is on the list. And happy hour perks is only one of its culinary benefits. What I love about this perennial is how strong of a perennial it is. Currently, my mint plant has been split and divided several times. and the dirt has been reused in several other pots. Each plant has come back strong and the dirt has held on to seeds and created even more mint seedlings. Mojitos, anyone?
Ready to get started? I would recommend either of these herb garden starter kits to get your garden going
Admittedly, before I started running my own garden the only thing that came to mind when I thought of the common sage plant was an old episode of Charmed. The classic smudge stick to cleanse some serious jujumagumbo (for my fellow Psych fans out there). And then I took a culinary glimpse into my past and realized I was in the middle of a total brain fart! My mom has had sage in her arsenal my entire life.
But before I could include my own home grown sage I had to grow a healthier plant. My sage was coming back each season but it wasn’t its fullest and didn’t give a large harvest. Below I have outlined the life of my sage and how it tripled in size and turned into donations to my family and friends.
In the beginning:
When I first purchased my sage it was in a small container with other herbs, purchased . It was at the end of the season. and The sage was in a container with other herbs that weren’t the best companions. I eventually narrowed it down and transplanted the sage to a much larger container just before the first frost. But, I let sage stay with one of its buddies that I bought him with. Mr. Oregano.
The first winter:
Winter came, the herbs died off with a pretty standard winter to follow. Winter passed and spring came back to me and so did my sage with its sidekick, oregano. Both plants were on the thin side. And when I would harvest some it would take a few weeks for new leaves to begin to develop. Even though the herbs were totally different, I felt the need to keep them together because that was how I bought them. No! Wrong! They have totally different needs. After a season of low harvest I waited until the fall to split the plants and put them in their own pots.
Winter again and boom!:
Winter came again and so did a long overdue spring. And what do ya know...!? That oregano was one of the first herbs to signal spring was nearby. And it came back with a vengeance! Both sage and oregano came back much stronger. Sage stood four inches taller and generated more leaves each time that I harvested some. By the end of the season I had so much sage I had some dried out as décor in the kitchen and dining room table! Sage on, gardeners, sage on.
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