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Mountain Gardening: Recipe for a Culinary Herb Garden

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Looking for a recipe for a culinary herb garden you can grow in a container? Here's one from Lowe's Mountain region gardening contributor Jodi Torpey.

A strawberry pot makes a perfect container herb garden.
strawberry pot ready for planting

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether gardening is an extension of my cooking, or my cooking is an extension of my gardening. Either way it makes for some delicious results, especially when I add herbs to my container garden.

A strawberry pot makes a perfect container for planting a culinary herb garden that features a recipe of tarragon, oregano, rosemary, basil and thyme. With this assortment I can cook up dozens of different dishes. In addition the strawberry pot makes a beautiful presentation once the herbs fill in.

An assortment of five culinary herbs.

For the container herb garden I included, clockwise from top, Mexican tarragon, Greek oregano, rosemary, 'Purple Ruffles' basil and German thyme. 

- The leaves of Mexican tarragon (Tagetes lucinda) are nice substitutes for French tarragon, which doesn't do as well in hot weather. I'll snip the fresh leaves to create tarragon vinegar to use in tasty vinaigrettes for summer salads. 

- Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is another must-have herb in my container garden. I use it fresh from the plant as a finishing touch for pasta dishes, and dry some leaves to use in winter sauces and soups.

- 'Purple Ruffles' basil (Ocimum basilicum) has such nice, dark leaves with fringed edges that it makes an attractive ornamental plant. I plan to tear the leaves into salads and add them at the last minute to seasonal sauces. 

- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is a hearty herb that makes a flavorful addition to roast chicken and other meat dishes. Before the season ends I carefully remove the plant from the container, repot it and bring it inside to use for winter recipes. 

- Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) looks lovely in the container garden, but I clip the delicate leaves often for flavoring poached fish, mixing into marinades and seasoning vegetable dishes. It also makes a great companion herb to rosemary.

Would you like to plant your own culinary herb container? Watch my how-to video.