You like herbs? So do I! They are nice to place around in some small space containers and can fit in smaller spaces. If you desire your herbs to come back every year without a lot of effort then you need to install some perennial beds. You just need the soil, plants to start, and the proper growing conditions.
For many years I grew a small herb garden that was right outside of my kitchen. When I first put some plants down I didn’t think much about the next year. A few years in I quickly realized the power of perennials. Instead of planting new plants every year, I had some that would come back reliably without any extra work on my part. A lot of herbs were perennial in zone 7 and some barely even died down in winter.
The new challenge is figuring out what works well in zone 4b.
Container Herb Garden For Zone 4b
To plan a perennial herb container garden you should focus on growing different herbs that return every year. A good starter list for growing zone 4b would be:
- Some variety of Mint (you will want this kept in container)
- Roman Chamomile
- Salad Burnet
It is also nice to throw in some herbs grown as annuals like basil, parsley, and rosemary and you have yourself a nice kitchen garden.
Rosemary is a perennial in warmer climates and if kept in container can be overwintered successfully even in zone 4.
Growing Perennial Herbs in a Container Garden
It isn’t too hard to get started with growing a container garden of herbs. Getting started isn’t too hard.
PICK GOOD POTS
For pots or containers you will have an easier time if the container is larger. The larger pots will allow the plants to grow larger. You may prefer going with plastic as well as those planters usually have better durability through all the possible weather changes.
USE GOOD SOIL
You want to start with good quality potting soil. Yearly you can throw a good portion of compost into the soil before you fall into the routine of regular feeding.
For a usual gardener who likes to cook the best place to keep herbs is near their kitchen. Unless you are dehydrating all those herbs, you will want them fresh. You don’t want to venture out into the back stretch of your yard digging around for herbs. You want to open your back door and pluck a few sprigs and be done with it.
Though herbs have different growing preferences. Some like sunny and hot. Some like the shade and cooler temps. Some don’t like being watered much at all. So herb selection and placement need to take into consideration what you are growing.
What Herbs Can I Grow in Pots?
There are a lot of herbs to choose from? First you need to deduce the kind of plants you want to keep around. Do you want culinary herbs? Is your interest medicinal herbs? What do you think you will actually use if you grow it?
For my garden, I looked at what spices I seemed to use a ton of. For me it was basil, oregano, rosemary, and chives. I started with those herbs first then added in thyme.
MINT AND OREGANO
Mint was something we always had in my mom’s garden. She had some mint escape a pot and it spread to the rest of the ground and acted as a nice blanket for under the shrubs. Mint is a wonderful addition to teas and various cooking experiments.
The only note with mint and mint family plants is it is best to keep them confined to containers. Oregano is another one that does better in large containers.
In zone 7 my neglected rosemary would come back every year. If you live in a cooler climate rosemary will most likely not survive the winter unless the pots are stored in a place where it can overwinter.
Chives are always a nice growing addition to a garden. They taste great to chop up and throw on some potatoes and dress up any meal that could use a slight onion flavor. They usually grow very well once established so often you may find yourself giving some away.
Given that I used to live in Cajun country, there was a heavy smattering of people who took elements of French cooking. Tarragon is a regular essential for French cooking. The herb is said to have a profile like anise and is often used on chicken, many sauces, and I even kept a few recipes where it was called for when cooking fish.
This is a newer to me herb that was recommended as something great to add to salads. It has a light cucumber sort of taste and is great with leaf lettuce and some dressing.
Thyme is a delicious regular in my kitchen. Many good recipes call for a bit of rosemary and thyme. Lemon thyme is also a usual addition for when I prepare salmon.
This is an herb where primarily the flowers are collected and used for a tea most drink to help with sleep. Because of the smell, the dried flowers can also be used for various herbal infusions and said to have some medicinal application.
Every time you go to make a stew and the recipe calls for you to add in the huge bay leaves, you are actually adding in leaves from the bay laurel. Bay laurels are slow growing trees that can get very large
These are not suitable to be in ground in many places as their hardiness zone is 8-10. I used to be able to squeak by with one in zone 7 and some protections and special care. Now the challenge will be experimenting with these in pots.