Potting Fresh Herbs

Fellow foodies – we all know that fresh herbs really make a difference in quality cooking!  And when you start with the right container, it’s so easy to do. Fresh herbs are the “little ounce of love” you need to add to both your cooking and your kitchen.

Polish pottery, with its smooth glaze and bright colors, can liven up any kitchen windowsill and comes in a variety of patterns and shapes.  Many designs of Polish pottery work well together, and colors can easily be played off each other.  Most already come in a rich floral theme, so while you’re waiting for plants to leaf out to their fullest, the pottery itself brings the outdoors inside.

You can grow many herbs together in one long container for a lush look or use individual planters at different heights for variety.  Long rectangular planters, about 4-5 inches deep, are just the right size for most kitchen sills.  Other shapes of planters in several colors can also work well in more varied sill depths.  A small set of 3 planters is perfect for seedlings.

While it’s important to keep the soil moist when growing herbs from seed, once your plants mature, most require frequent watering and good drainage. Roots need to have oxygen circulating through the soil to avoid root rot and other fungal diseases, so choosing a planter with a drainage hole is important in addition to buying the best soil.  Make sure to also use a coordinating saucer with an elevated rim if your planter doesn’t already come with one.  Fluted pie dishes also make perfect saucers for planters.  If you tend to overwater, adding a layer of gravel to the bottom of your planter will allow for more efficient drainage.

For those of us who save time buying store-bought potted herbs, it’s fine to temporarily keep them in their plastic containers, tucking them in a pretty container for watering.  Shorter utensil jars or wine chillers work well for this purpose.  Adding rocks to the bottom of this allows the drained water to slowly dissipate its moisture back up through the soil, and also allows you to position the plant at the right height for maximum sunlight.  Just make sure to empty water from your vessel over time, or it could accumulate and drown your plant’s roots before you have time to transplant it to a different home.

When you’re ready to move overgrown plants into larger containers, you’ll be able to easily remove dirt from the smooth surface of your Polish pottery, making it look brand new.  Since it’s glazed on the inside, unlike other types of planters, this waterproof barrier resists hairline cracks that could become waterlogged and destroy the piece over time.  It also ensures the patterns on the piece remain rich and bright, avoiding discoloration.

Our top 3 easy herbs to grow in the kitchen are chives, parsley, and basil.  All three can be easily grown from seed and are used in many types of recipes.  Store-bought basil plants are often two or more plants sold in one plastic container and can be separated into different planters right from the start, multiplying the “greenery” effect in your kitchen; plus, they grow so fast, cuttings can easily be rooted to create even more plants over time.

Trust us, the comfort of knowing you have fresh herbs makes planning and food prep that much easier.  And if you’re already a maestro in the kitchen, adding a Polish pottery planter full of herbs to your window will make your cooking and your kitchen the envy of everyone!