There's nothing better than having fresh herbs at your fingertips when cooking your favorite recipes. Our tomato sauces always taste better in summer when we can add fresh basil, oregano, and parsley to the mix. But you don't have to have a large herb garden to have fresh herbs. Many herbs grow well in containers on a deck, balcony or patio. This is great because you don't have to venture far to harvest the leaves.
When growing container herbs, match the type of herb to the type of container. Heat-loving herbs that don't mind drying out, such as oregano, thyme and rosemary, are best grown in clay, stone, or metal pots. Clay pots breathe and dry out fast, while metal pots heat up the soil.
Mediterranean herbs love hot and dry, of course, with proper watering. For herbs that like a consistently moist, but well-drained soil, such as parsley, chives and basil, use plastic containers.
Use potting soil in your containers and add compost to larger containers when growing perennial herbs, such as mint, or large growing herbs, such as lemon balm and lovage. These herbs need the extra boost compost will add to the soil.
If you don't have lots of space for large containers, grow dwarf herb varieties in smaller pots or hanging containers on a wall. Varieties such as Spicy Globe basil, Santo cilantro, Blue Boy rosemary and Fernleaf dill stay compact in a small pot.
Finally, bring perennial herbs indoors in fall. Place them in a sunny window and you can continue harvesting fresh herb leaves throughout the holidays.