Tara Sherman: Kitchen Herb Gardens

I love the “before” and “after” photos of kitchens that have gone from drab and dated to fresh and new, complete with beautiful cabinetry, gorgeous countertops, and a workable and efficient layout. There is often another thing that draws me to these photos: herbs in lovely pots on the counter or windowsill. Not only can herbs make new kitchens appear lived-in and loved, they are also beautiful and practical for any kitchen.

Imagine having a handful of basil for a great pasta dish, a snip of rosemary for roasted vegetables, or a sprig of mint for a signature cocktail! Fresh herbs can bring your kitchen and your cooking to life.


Photo courtesy of House & Home


Photo courtesy of Real Simple


Photo by John Bessler for New England Home

Any small container will work for your indoor herb garden, including plain or painted terracotta. Do you have teacups that you love? How about small galvanized pails for a bit of industrial sparkle? I collect small pieces of handmade pottery and have found them to be perfect for herbs.


Photo by Ashley Capp for House & Home


Photo courtesy of Williams Sonoma


Photo courtesy of thecottagejournal.com


Cooks’ Herb Trio, White Flower Farm, Litchfield, Conn. Photo courtesy of White Flower Farm

Grow a few common herbs that you’ll use most often, such as rosemary, oregano, basil, mint and thyme.  Also, make a note of their visual appeal: herbs with variegated leaves, like golden or tricolor sage, are great in mixed groupings.


Planted and ready to take home! Photo courtesy of Mahoney’s, Winchester, Mass.

A few tips for your kitchen herb garden:

1. Make it beautiful.  Choose a container you love and remember that simple is almost always best.

2. Keep it handy. You will use the herbs more often if they are within easy reach.

3. Provide plenty of light and do not overwater.  Most herbs enjoy soil that is on the dry side, so only water when the soil feels dry to the touch.  Practice benign neglect.


Photo courtesy of Country Living


Photo courtesy of ahintofhoney.com


Photo by Jessica Robinson of newenglandkitchen.com

Oh, the things you can do with a kitchen herb garden!

-Tara Sherman 

Tara Sherman is a Master Gardener and member of the Massachusetts Horticultural Society. She has gardened for much of her life, and loves educating children and adults on the joys of gardening for food and for pleasure. Tara’s business, The Flower Box, is based in Lexington, MA and provides container and small garden design and installation. Find her on Pinterest and Twitter.

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