Growing Herbs in Containers

Each summer Jamie grows culinary herbs in the garden such as parsley, chives, dill, oregano, sage, basil, Thai basil, and cilantro. This year he decided to try his hand at growing some of the herbs in containers (even though I tried to dissuade him) instead of growing them directly in the garden. Read on to learn what he did, and how it’s going. There’s also plenty of eye candy 😉

Young basil growing in Earth Boxes

Earth Boxes

First off, he used containers called Earth Boxes that his beloved father passed down. They have a nifty built-in watering system described below.

  • There’s a water trough located underneath the soil
  • You fill the trough by pouring water into a tube
  • Excess water is drained through a hole in the side of the trough
  • The roots draw up moisture from the water trough as needed; you don’t have to worry about over or under watering

These containers can be used for more than growing herbs. In fact, my father-in-law bought them when he was in his 80’s and used them for several years to grow tomatoes, peppers and eggplants. He sowed three or four plants per box.

Earth Boxes planted with basil and cilantro

Overseeding as a strategy


When Jamie and our daughter Laura planted the basil, they overseeded purposely so we’d have plenty of young basil to pick. We’ve been regularly thinning it out to make pesto and Easy Caprese Salad.


They also planted the cilantro seeds tightly for the same reason – but our cat threw a wrench claw into the plan. He dug around in the fresh soil shortly after it was seeded. As you can see below, even with Kitcat’s antics, the cilantro filled in nicely and there’s plenty to enjoy. I put a bunch of it in our guacamole tonight.


Dill was planted in the third box about a week ago. The seeds have sprouted; aren’t the seedlings cute? Hopefully there will be plenty of fresh dill to pick just in time to make cucumber and green bean pickles.

Container growing success

I must admit I was first skeptical about growing herbs in containers; I couldn’t imagine them doing as well as when planted in the garden. But honestly I’m impressed so far with how it’s going – they seem to be thriving. I’m also finding that having them located right off our deck, accessible from our kitchen, is very convenient!

Three containers of herbs: cilantro, dill, basil

What it takes for herbs to thrive

You probably already realize this, but as a reminder, in order for herbs to thrive they need:

  • proper watering (neither too much nor too little)
  • plenty of sunshine (whether in the garden or container, our herbs get full sun until 2 p.m.)
  • good soil (Jamie used roughly 75% compost, 20% peat moss, 5% aged chicken manure)

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like Spring Gardening Ideas, Lettuce from Seed to Salad and Vegan Nut-Free Pesto. How’s your garden going? Feel free to leave a question or comment below.

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