Experiment: Porch Herb Garden

Two years ago for my birthday, my husband (and probably the KING of thoughtful gifts), gave me an herb garden. It was and still is my most favorite gift ever.

He bought and labeled terracotta pots (in his gorgeous, perfect handwriting) for each kind of herb seed: cilantro, mint, thyme, rosemary, basil, parsley, oregano, and chives. Then he planted each one in the appropriate pot and let them grow on a sunny ledge in his library. (I love that they grew in his library–it seems so romantic!)

I loved that summer of fresh herbs. The chives keep coming back despite cold weather, squirrels, and my children digging in my pots.

This year I decided I was going to try my hand at planting a garden. My little girl loves nature and we’ve been talking about seeds and growing a garden. When we have a house and real garden someday, we’ll do some serious gardening. For the time being, our porch will have to be good enough.


(Seeds: cilantro, parsley, basil, oregano, lavender, nasturtiums, impatiens, and chamomile.)

I bought everything on a whim last Thursday. I decided we needed some flowers as well as herbs. Because I have a black thumb, this is a total experiment. My husband is too busy now with work to take on planting herbs, so it’s up to me and my daughter.


(Rolling up her sleeves.)

I let my little girl dig up the dirt with a wooden fork. (I had to be creative because we don’t have any gardening tools around.)

The package of nasturtium seeds said they were really good to grow with kids because they are hearty and grow quickly. I knew that really meant it would be good for people like me.

She liked seeing the big seeds. The herb seeds were so tiny–some were practically microscopic.

After I planted the “outdoor” herbs and flowers, I planted the “indoor” plants.


I thought my husband was brilliant when he wrote the names of the plants on the pots with a Sharpie, so I did it, too. (Looks like Martha isn’t the only one with that great idea…)

I’m hoping everything grows in the next few weeks. After the indoor plants start to sprout, I will transplant them outside.

We did not have great luck with lavender last time we tried to grow it. It never flowered.

And we also have some hungry squirrels who apparently like cilantro and the coriander berries. They destroyed my plant last time. This year I planted two pots worth. I’m crossing my fingers!

I’m excited about the nasturtiums because I have read they are edible. We’ll see what happens there.

The Kitchn had a bunch of great posts yesterday about gardening (and will all month)–

*Expanding Peat Pellets for Starting Seeds (wish I’d known last week…)
*Herb Pots and Mint Chandalier
*Herb Garden on a London Sidewalk (charming!)
*City Gardening: How Do You Deal With The Mess?
*The Weekend Gardener

(Have I told you yet how much I love The Kitchn? ‘Cause I do. I really, really do.)

Marie over at Make and Takes wrote a great post for moms and dads who want to plant a garden with their kids called Planting a Rainbow. I especially love the idea of planting a rainbow of vegetables. (Filing that away for later.)

Anyone else planting a garden? What are you planting?

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7 Comments

  1. So far I’ve planted:

    -peas
    -tomatoes
    -cilantro
    -basil
    -chives
    -thyme
    -rosemary (maybe…I can’t remember what’s in the last pot becuase I didn’t label them like you were so smart to do)

    I think I’m going to add some flowers too, good idea!

  2. Hello! I really enjoy your blog–esp. the photos!

    The nasturtiums will grow to your, and to your daughter’s, delight! They are super easy, nearly foolproof, when grown from seeds. Do let us know if you can get your kids to eat them! (You surely know they are edible, and look stunning in salads.) Speaking of salad, lettuce seeds are pretty foolproof in a nice long, shallow pot. They spout within days of planting, bringing great satisfaction to all.

    FYI: I have had really good luck growing most herbs from seed, but I usually transplant them to the garden when they are couple of inches high. This year I hope to bring some back inside for winter use, but I am not optimistic about much surviving besides rosemary.

    Best of luck with it all. I look foward to updates on here soon.

  3. Good for you!!! I have been wanting to do it too but I’m afraid I might kill all my plants. I’m just a terrible gardener although I love plants and flowers… I just don’t have a hand for it… maybe if I had some moral support to break my fear…

  4. I can’t wait to have a backyard (even a small one) so I can plant a garden. It is my dream to have a lush garden full of all sorts of veg and herbs that I can feed my family on!

    Oh, and I may plant a few bougainvillea, too. Because they’re pretty.

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