Small Herb Garden (layout).

Joined Mar 24, 2002
Hello everyone,

I have found this wonderful forum while looking for information on how to create a Chef's Garden.

What I am wanting to do is create a small indoor box garden that contains some basic herbs used for cooking and/or garnishing. I know that certain plants grow better next to one another and want to capitalize on the experience found here.

Can anyone recommend a resource (or post your suggestion) on a layout (see below), and on what plants I should use (I know what I use but want your recommendations)?


Thyme Parsley
Basel Rosemary
Mint Oregano
Joined Jul 31, 2000
Hi, and welcome to cheftalk,

Good timing on you question because we are gearing up all over the place to gardening.

It is much easier than you may think to put together a nice, productive indoor herb garden.
Just a couple things to keep in mind.

Many herbs will grow well in pots on sunny windowsills, in window boxes, hanging baskets and in
Tubs and barrels in a sunroom or balcony.
There should even be enough space on one south-facing windowsill to grow a selection of basic culinary herbs and some scented herbs as well.

If you have a sunroom or balcony, then four tubs planted with annuals and perennials and a good proportion of evergreen herbs for winter picking could provide most of the fresh herbs needed by a small household.

Light and temperture

The first necessity is light. Few herbs suitable for indoor growing will thrive in shady conditions. Most need sunlight for at least half the day so set them in a south facing window if possible, otherwise one facing east or west.
Temperture is important. Ideally, there should be warmth in the day and cooler tempertures and humity at night. Fresh air is also a benefit.

Wooden boxes and barrels.

Wooden boxes and barrels make great containers if you have the space. Boxes should be at least 10 inches deep.
Saw barrels in half and use them as tubs, or cut several holes about 2 inches across in their sides and grow herbs from each hole.

If you use a large barrel this way; put a narrow tube of wire, netting down the center, from top to bottom, before filling it with soil. By watering down the tube the moisture will spread evenly through the soil, with no tube the lower plants may suffer from drought.

All the herbs you mentianed will do really well in a boxed envirement, I would only recommend planting your mints in a separate contianer so it doesn’t end up crowding the other herbs.

Hope this helps
Joined Dec 30, 1999

Out of curiosity, is there a reason you want them inside instead of outside other than convenience? I ask because they will grow so much better if even on only on the porch... I am in agreement with cap chef, herbs thrive best with sun and heat, especially basil.

As for companion planting, this is usually referred to with combinations of vegetables and herbs as opposed to just herbs. You don't have to worry too much about it with herbs.

Of your selections: Thyme Parsley Basil Rosemary Mint Oregano

I would plant the mint in a different container. Mint is very invasive. It will send out "runners" underneath the surface of the soil and eventually take over your pot.

Regarding layout, plant your parsley, basil, and rosemary towards the center of your container as they are taller plants - and the thyme and oregano will "fill in" at the bottom and can cascade over the sides of the container. The bigger your container, the better.

Also, use a container which is at least 6" deep. The rest of your selections should be fine. You could also get a miniature "strawberry pot" to plant your selections.

I started like you a few years ago and was displeased with the lack of growth having been accustomed to vegetable gardening years ago. I then brought them outside and they did much better, all still in one container. The next year I planted each herb in it's own pot so the root systems had room to grow and the plants were even bigger. Last year I planted them in the ground and you just can't beat the growth if you do this.

FYI: here is an herb companion chart for you.

You may find the following links informative:

Gardening with Herbs

Planting a Kitchen Herb Garden

One-Stop Herb Garden

Windowsill Gardening

Container Herb Gardening

Kitchen Herb Gardening

Joined Mar 24, 2002
Hi CC and CChiu,

Thanks for the fantastic information!!

Here is the background that prompted my question (sorry, I should have included this before). I live in a third floor apartment with east, west, and north facing windows. There is garden space in the backyard but again, I live on the third floor.

The goals I have estibilished are to:
-Have herbs in the kitchen ready to use.
-Create something visually appealing.
-Introduce new scents into my kitchen.

After reading both of your posts, i'm thinking about using the "stawberry pot" idea. I have room on my back deck for one and another on my kitchen window sill.

What I may do is plant them in the garden downstairs and keep the "starters" upstairs.

Thanks again to both of you for the help!

Joined Dec 30, 1999

Will you be starting from seed or buying plants?

If you have a really good local nursery, I recommend a trailing rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis prostratus; Rosmarinus prostrata), you can hang it off a curtain rod in front of a window if you're limited on space. It makes a wonderful hanging basket and will scent a room!
Joined Mar 24, 2002
Hi Mudbug,

What a great idea!

Sorry for the late reply, I lost the link to cheftalkcafe and have been away from the computer and the kitchen for quite sometime (and too long).


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