The first known documentation of herbs was in about 2000 BC in Babylon and they, along with herbs and spices from the Orient and India, were exported right through the continents through to the ancient Egyptians, who learned the traditional uses through their trade.
Today, we have a renewed interest in herbs with many people creating their own culinary and medicinal gardens. This is easy to achieve, as herbs are generally undemanding and because they are able to be grown on a small scale, there are many that thrive in a container garden environment. It is important to regularly pick your herbs at the tip of each steam while they are growing, otherwise you will end up with tall thin plants.
Your herbs will thrive if you feed them with liquid seaweed, which contains trace elements and minerals that give lush, strong plants, while still retaining their flavour. Here are some of the easier and most commonly culinary herbs which grow well in containers.
Sage, Bay, Thyme and Rosemary
These are classic English country garden herbs and have robust flavours that are excellent for soups, stock, meat dishes, pastas and sauces. They prefer to have a dryer root, so try not to over-water them. Sage can be grown from seed, but Bay, Thyme, and Rosemary are easier to grow as established plants or grown from cuttings.
Virtually indestructible, mint grows fantastically as a container crop. Mint is hugely versatile and can be used in everything from teas, sauces, chutneys, and salads. This herb will grow pretty much anywhere, even where there is heavy shade, but does require regular feeding and watering. Once matured, the plant can be divided into halves or quarters.
This is a lovely salad herb that is also brilliant in soups and garnishes. Chives make a pretty addition to your collection when they flower in spring and attract bees. Easily grown, chives only require four to five hours of sunshine, but make sure the soil is kept damp.
Parsley can be slow to take off from seed, but once it takes hold, it will produce for almost two years before it flowers and goes to seed. This is a very solid hardy herb to grow and takes little maintenance.
Basil likes to bask in the sunshine and is best if it is grown in a bright, sheltered, warm area. The soil needs to be well drained and watered in the mornings.