Being an urban gardener can be a challenge. It’s hard to find space to plant unless you’re fortunate enough to live in a city with public gardens in which you can rent a lot. Not only that, but the idea of a balcony garden can be intimidating for gardening beginners. But herbs can be a good place to start.
Most herbs are simple to grow and do well in containers. Some can also tolerate mistakes, such as forgetting to water frequently. As a bonus, you usually don’t have to grow them from seed, since you can buy seedlings at your local greenhouse or garden center.
Herbs generally prefer full sun, but there are some that will tolerate partial shade as well.
Here are three herbs you can use to get your balcony garden started.
Basil. This herb prefers full sun and needs to wait for warmer temperatures to be outside. It transplants very well from seedlings, but unlike some herbs, it does need to be watered regularly. Fresh basil is delightful with in-season tomatoes from your local farmers’ market and fresh mozzarella cheese. Dress this super summer salad with a little olive oil, salt, and lemon juice or red wine vinegar.
Dill. This herb should be started from seed, but it will grow easily if you place it in full sun and plant it in moist, well-drained soil. Dill will get pretty “leggy” if you don’t harvest it when it’s young. Add fresh dill from your balcony garden to thinly sliced cucumbers and marinate the mixture for a little while in olive oil and vinegar. This can be a great topping for sandwiches or eaten on its own as “cucumber salad.”
Mint. There are many varieties of mint with an array of different flavors from classic mint to lemon mint and “chocolate mint,” which really does have a subtle chocolate taste. Mint tolerates partial shade, likes moist soil, and is best started as a seedling in your container garden. Fresh mint can be a refreshing addition to summer iced tea or mint juleps for Sunday brunch. Dry your mint for hot or iced mint tea.
All three of these herbs smell lovely, too.
For more great ideas about herbs to grow in your balcony garden, visit My Balcony Jungle.