Some herbs pair so naturally and deliciously with each other that we reach for the combinations automatically. Since we’re trying to achieve certain flavor profiles I thought it might be fun to create flavor inspired container herb gardens.
Try planting these herbs together and everything you need for a certain style of cooking will be right at your fingertips.
- Mediterranean: Plant Greek oregano, thyme, and a bay laurel tree together. Prune the tree so the branches are a foot or so above the soil. This will allow plenty of light to reach the thyme and oregano. And the tree won’t get more than about 4 feet tall grown in a pot. Give this container plenty of sun and don’t worry too much about watering. These plants are moderately drought-tolerant. In winter, if you live in a cold area, bring the container inside and let the tree go dormant by placing it in a chilly but sunny spot. This combination of herbs is fabulous with grilled fish, seafood stews, and lamb.
- Mexican, Latin American & Caribbean: Cilantro, marjoram, papalo (also known as summer cilantro and Bolivian coriander), and Cuban oregano are for dishes from Mexico, South and Central America, and the Caribbean. This container should be kept consistently damp. Test by poking your finger about an inch into the soil. Marjoram and Cuban oregano are frost-sensitive so keep this container indoors in the winter. These are, naturally, heat loving plants so keep them very warm.
- English Garden: English lavender, borage, chamomile, are lemon balm are all part of this versatile herb garden. Flowers and leaves from most of these plants can be used in cooking. This combo prefers a lot of sun and moist soil. Combine sage, parsley, and lemon balm to flavor vegetables and meats. These plants like moist but not wet soil and, the sage especially, prefers full sun. Rosemary is another plant you might want to grow but it should be kept in a separate pot because it’s picky about water. Too much moisture will quickly kill rosemary. Move these containers inside for the winter if you live in northern climes.
- Southeast Asian: Try flatleaf garlic chives, spearmint, lemon basil, and lemon grass for this container. You may even want to try Vietnamese coriander. Keep them in bright sunlight and maintain even moisture. Lemon basil will need to be replaced each season. If your temperatures stay above 10°F you can leave the flatleaf garlic chives and spearmint outdoors but move them inside if your temperatures go really low. Bring the rest inside for the winter. This container may inspire you to make your own spring rolls and curries.