Gardening 101 Day 17 Container Gardening Part 1: How to create beautiful container gardens with herbs, how-to grow & care for them PLUS BONUS Recipes!

“The lesson I have thoroughly learnt, and wish to pass on to others, is to know the enduring happiness that the love of a garden gives. ” Gertrude Jekyll

As all of you know I love raised bed gardening, and with that comes a bit of container gardening as well. I primarily use containers in my raised beds for more aggressive perennial herbs that have a tendency to go rogue if allowed. Such herbs include oregano, thyme, chives, and all the mints to name a few. Of course regular harvesting and not allowing the plants to go to seed help, but their root systems still want to expand their horizons!

By planting them in  your raised beds, this allows you to remove them and divide as necessary and then simply replace the pot in its allotted spot. The reason I plant the pot in the garden is to protect the roots from winter’s harsh cold here in Michigan. I also use a thick layer of mulch around them for extra protection. I generally mulch with grass clippings, old straw and even leaves.

I’m going to break this topic of container gardening into two parts, the first on herbs & then the following on veggies.

Creating a planter with herbs is an excellent way to bring the beauty and flavor of nature into your home. Whether you’re just starting out or are a seasoned plant enthusiast, this guide will provide you with all the information you need to create and maintain a beautiful herb container garden.

Be sure to read on for some BONUS recipes to make with all your herbs!

Best Containers to Use

When it comes to selecting the best container for your herb garden, there are a few things to consider. The size and shape of the container will depend on the type of herbs you plan to grow, as well as the available space in your home. I have used all of these with great success. Have you used anything different? Let me know in the comments section below… I love your feedback!

Terra Cotta or Ceramic Pots

Terracotta and ceramic pots are a classic choice for herb gardens! They both come in so many fun and whimsical shapes and sizes. Terracotta pots are porous and allow air and moisture to pass through, which is beneficial for the plants. Both terracotta and ceramic provide good drainage, which helps prevent waterlogging. The downside of both however is that they can be fragile and easily break if dropped. Proper winter storage, if not brought indoors, should be done to ensure minimal breakage. Store pots upside down so if moisture does get in, they don’t crack when any ice thaws.

Window or Railing Boxes

Window or railing boxes are another great option for growing herbs. They are typically made from wood or plastic and come in a variety of sizes and shapes. If you are in an apartment or condo, window boxes are a perfect option! Even if you have a garden you can keep these on your deck or patio railing for easy access when cooking or grilling! They can easily be hung on the side of a window or railing for easy access, and you can have several growing different herbs! The downside to window boxes is that they tend to dry out quickly, so you’ll need to water your herbs more often.

Hanging Baskets

Hanging baskets are another ideal choice for growing trailing herbs such as oregano and thyme. They too come in a variety of sizes and are made from materials such as wicker, plastic, and metal. The advantage of hanging baskets is that they help conserve space and can be moved around your porch, deck, or patio. They also can come indoors easily in the winter months. The downside is that they tend to dry out more quickly than other types of containers, so you’ll need to water your herbs more often.

Self-Watering Containers

Self-watering containers are a great option for busy gardeners. They provide a consistent supply of water to the plants, so you don’t have to worry about over- or under-watering them. These containers are usually made from plastic and have a built-in reservoir at the bottom. These are again a great option for the apartment or condo dweller, or to place on a deck or patio outside your kitchen for easy access. The downside is that they tend to be more expensive than other types of containers.

Raised Beds

If you have a larger outdoor space, then a raised bed is an excellent choice for growing herbs. Raised beds provide good drainage and allow for easy access to the plants. They can be made from wood, metal, or plastic, and come in a variety of sizes. The downside is that they require more maintenance than other types of containers, as they need to be regularly weeded and watered.

Galvanized Metal Tubs

I love to use old galvanized metal wash tubs, buckets, or any other cool container I can find. You can actually purchase these at feed type stores such as Tractor Supply Store or similar. I love the feel of a cottage garden and these fit perfectly with my theme. The key is to make sure there are proper drainage holes placed in the bottom. You can easily make these with a hammer and a nail or use a drill with a large enough drill bit. The downside is that they tend to dry out more quickly than other types of containers, so you’ll need to water your herbs more often.

How to Care for Your Herbs!

Once you have the right container and plants for your planter, it’s time to start caring for your herbs. Here are some tips & tricks for keeping your herbs healthy and thriving:


Herbs need plenty of water in order to grow and thrive. Water your herbs regularly, but don’t over-water them. Make sure to allow the soil to dry out between watering’s to prevent root rot.


Fertilizing your herbs is a great way to keep them healthy and full of flavor. Use a liquid fertilizer every couple of weeks, or add a slow-release fertilizer to the soil once a month. Be sure to read and follow the directions on the fertilizer package.


Pruning your herbs is essential for keeping them healthy and preventing them from becoming overgrown. Trim off any dead or diseased leaves, and cut back the plants to encourage new growth.

Controlling Pests

Pests can be a problem for any type of garden, so it’s important to take steps to keep them away from your herbs. Planting companion plants such as marigolds or chrysanthemums can help deter pests, and using insecticidal soap or neem oil can help control pest populations.


Harvesting your herbs is an essential part of caring for them. Harvest herbs when they are young and tender, and be sure to use sharp scissors or pruners when cutting them. Avoid harvesting more than one-third of the plant at a time to ensure that it continues to grow and produce.

How to Harvest the Herbs

Harvesting your herbs is the best part of having an herb planter, as you get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. Here are some tips for harvesting your herbs:


The best time to harvest herbs is in the morning, after the dew has dried and before the sun is too hot. This will ensure that the herbs are at their peak flavor and will retain their essential oils.


The best tool for harvesting herbs is a pair of sharp, clean scissors or pruners. Avoid using a knife, as it can bruise the leaves and damage the plant.


Once you’ve harvested the herbs, it’s important to store them properly to preserve their flavor and freshness. Herbs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to a week, or they can be dried and stored in an airtight container for longer periods of time.

Now lets talk herbs!

Once you’ve selected the right container for your herb garden, it’s time to decide which herbs you’d like to grow. Herbs are generally divided into two categories: annuals and perennials. Annuals are herbs that grow and bloom within a single season, while perennials are plants that come back year after year. Here are some of the best herbs to grow in a planter:

Would you like my delicious Pesto recipe that I taught on Fox TV2? Click this LINK and enjoy friends!

Basil is a popular annual herb that is easy to grow and is great for adding flavor to dishes. It’s best to start with a small pot, as it can quickly become overgrown. Basil prefers well-drained soil and full sun, so be sure to position it in a spot that gets plenty of light.

Chives are a perennial herb with a mild onion flavor. They can be used fresh or dried, and are perfect for adding flavor to salads, soups, and sauces. Chives prefer well-drained soil and full sun, so be sure to position it in a spot that gets plenty of light.

Would you like some recipes for Herb Infused Olive Oils? Click this LINK!

Oregano is a perennial herb that has a strong, pungent flavor. It’s versatile and pairs well with a variety of dishes. Oregano prefers well-drained soil and full sun, so be sure to position it in a spot that gets plenty of light.

Thyme is a perennial herb with a strong, lemony flavor. It can be used fresh or dried, and is perfect for adding flavor to soups, stews, and sauces. Thyme prefers well-drained soil and full sun, so be sure to position it in a spot that gets plenty of light.

Rosemary is a hardy perennial herb that has a strong, earthy flavor. It can be used fresh or dried, and is perfect for adding flavor to roasted vegetables and meats. Rosemary prefers well-drained soil and full sun, so be sure to position it in a spot that gets plenty of light.

Sage is a perennial herb with a strong, earthy flavor. It can be used fresh or dried, and is perfect for adding flavor to roasted vegetables and meats. Sage prefers well-drained soil and full sun, so be sure to position it in a spot that gets plenty of light.

Creating a planter with herbs is an easy and enjoyable way to bring the beauty and flavor of nature into your home. With the right container, plants, and care, your herb planter can provide you with a bounty of fresh herbs for years to come.

I certainly hope you are encouraged to garden. Even if you start with only two or three of these things, that’s a great start! 

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Until next time friends, eat fresh, shop local, & have a happy day,

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Garden Talk at Dearborn Area Board of Realtors Home & Garden Expo 2023

Garden Talk Topic: How-to Grow Middle Eastern Favored Herbs and Preserve Them

Jean Roman will discuss how-to grow typical Middle Eastern favored herbs at home. She will show how easy it is to grow them in containers, and how to continue growing them indoors over the winter months. She will also go into some detail on how to preserve them by drying them. 

Jean will be speaking from 12:00 pm to 12:30 pm

Click HERE for more information!

Freezing Herbs in Olive Oil

The aromas of fall elate this warm, fuzzy feeling that seems to linger within my soul… I want to hunker down somewhat, but the gardener in me refuses to let go of my love.  The plants are telling me by their exasperated appearance that they’re ready to call it a season…


“Farewell, our garden matron, it’s been a great year Jean, but now we must depart… see you in the spring!”  I wrestle with this and fight it because deep down in my lonely soul of winter days, I can’t bear the thought of the winter world that will all to soon envelope everything I love.


So in efforts to capture and hold on…  I ‘put-up’.

I can.

I freeze.

I dry.

I preserve.


All winter long I can go to the freezer, cupboards and can shelves and remember the feeling of the prickly leaves of zucchini as I carefully reached in and took hold of her bountiful beauty.


I can look at the jars of salsa and reminisce of summer days strolling through the hoop house and gazing over the Heirloom tomatoes heavy with their colorful fruits.


Bringing up a jar of vegetable soup and tomato juice… blending their beauties together in a kettle and slowly warming up for all my loved ones. This rich, romantic aroma wafting through our home… but best of all… “Oh mom… that smells sooooo good!” That’s my reward.




Life is good on the farm.

Herbs are such a blessing to any kitchen and as I’ve been showing, extremely easy to preserve. For those of us whose winter months don’t allow for growing, we are able to enjoy the fruits of our labor by preserving.

Here I am harvesting basil

Here I am harvesting basil

Here’s a step-by-step super easy way to freeze your garden herbs in olive oil.  You can use this technique with any herb or combination of herbs.


STEP 1: Using a 12 compartment cupcake tin, cut 12 squares of plastic wrap to fit into each hole. Be sure they’re large enough
to come up over the rims at least 1 1/2″.

STEP 2: Filling only one hole at a time, place plastic wrap and press in; Take 1 Tbsp. of herb and place in hole.


STEP 3: Carefully pour olive oil into hole, filling until level with tin.


STEP 4: Repeat process until all holes are filled.  Place in freezer for 48 hours to allow oil to completely solidify.


STEP 5: Lift each ‘puck’ up; if they stick a bit, carefully use the tip of a knife to help it pop out.


STEP 6: Quickly remove plastic and place them all in a large freezer bag.  It is fine that the herbs and oil separated.


STEP 7: Store in freezer and enjoy all winter long! Yum!

How to use you herbed oil pucks:
*Toss them into cooked, drained pasta.
*Let thaw in a bowl and use in a pasta salad… yummy fresh herb flavor with that white stuff on the ground.
*Toss in with a stir fry.
*Use to sauté meat for fajitas in.
*Thaw and brush on a roast before putting in the oven.
*Use when frying potatoes for home fries.
… and of course, like I always say, the uses are only limited by your imagination!

You can also do these in ice cube trays, but for my size family… that’s kinda’ funny 😉
Happy Day,

Garlic-Thyme Infused Olive Oil


I love to preserve my garden bounty as much as I love to garden and write! Whether it’s putting the good things in the freezer, on the can shelves or drying for the pantry, I relish in the accomplishment!

I thought I’d share my yummy Garlic-Thyme Infused Olive oil recipe with you today…



Pint mason/canning jar
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4-6 fresh cloves garlic to mince
1/2 cup thyme leaves
1 Tbsp. sea salt
Double ingredients except salt if you want to do a quart jar.

1. Fill your jar with oil leaving 1″ of head space


2. Take your fresh picked thyme and start striping the leaves into the oil until you have about 1/2 cup worth


3. Mince garlic into oil.  Add salt


4. Stir all ingredients until well blended. Leave in a cupboard out of direct sunlight for about a week before you use it. This will allow the flavors to blend.

Now that you have your yummy oil ready, here are some idea’s on how to use it!

*Brush on bread before you broil or toast it for Brushetta
*Brush on any veggie that you want to grill… this is our favorite for zucchini and yellow squash.
*Toss into pasta instead of sauce

… these are just a couple of my personal faves… do you have any idea’s?  If you do, please leave a comment here and share… be sure to come on over to my Facebook page and give it a like… we have lots of fun there!

Happy Day,

Make a Blooming Chair, How To Make Herbed Vinegars & Oils and Recipes!

Beautiful dill can be added not just to dishes
but also in bouquest

 Flowers are bursting open everywhere and the fledglings are leaving the nest… young robins are hopping all over the garden eating creepy crawlies and enjoying being out of the nest… glorious, glorious summer!  The fields are starting to bear and the harvest will soon be coming on heavily… that means ‘puttin’ up time is just around the corner.  Of course we’ve been busy with rhubarb and now strawberries are ripe for the pickin’ and that means the yummiest jam of all…  Strawberries scare me though… that is growing them. They are really the only ‘garden’ fruit I don’t grow. The runners and weeding they require have never tempted me… until this year! I think I have figured a way to keep them… I will blog more on this next week, so keep watching.  Today we’ll stick with more herb stuff and of course some garden junque too! Enjoy and thanks for comin’ over!

Blooming chairs you ask… I am all about big & beautiful now with certain things. I am sure you have all seen those cute chairs that have potted flowers growing right out of the seat. I just love them, and of course I have some.  Here is the simple ‘how to’ to make your own.
Step 1~ If you don’t have  an old chair already, you can easily find one at any thrift store, antique shop or flea market.  If you can find one that has a cane seat you are doing great, because this will make your job all the more easy.
Step 2~ remove the caning from the chair seat to make an open hole where your container can be placed.
Step 3~ I would simply go to a nursery and purchase an already big and beautiful hanging basket- be sure it will fit in your seat hole… take it home and put her in! Presto, instant blooming chair…
* to make it cuter if you can by chance see the pot it’s in, put it in an old tin bucket!
… of course if you want to plant your own, do just that.

Notice the chair in the forground… I purchased
a patunia hanging basket, transfered into an old
tin bucket and then placed in seat hole.  I also
just put pots on top of chairs as you can see the
potted geranium in a tin bucket on the chair on
my front porch.  Have Fun!

Herbed Vinegars & Oils can be made quite easily and inexpensively, especially when you are growing your own herbs. For those who love to grill or roast, or have salads often,  you will find that having these oils & vinegars on hand to be a real treat… and what a way to wow your guests.  Here is the ‘how to’ and some ideas on different combinations…

**How to make Herbed Vinegars~
You can use the leaves, seeds and flowers, singly or in combinations of freshly picked herbs to make herbed vinegars.  The vinegar should be the best of the cider or wine varieties available, as herbs will not disguise the sharpness of a bad vinegar.
1. Pick the herbs for the vinegar in the morning after the dew has dried but before the heat of day has driven off some of the essential oils that give herbs their flavor.  Use only perfect leaves and flowers, discarding any that have tuned brown or show signs of having been eaten by garden pests.
2. Bruise the herbs slightly before putting them in a glass bottle or ceramic crock with a tightly fitting top.  Use about 1/2 cup of herbs for each pint (2cups) of vinegar, more if you want a stronger taste.
3. Then follow one of these two traditional methods:
  ~A. Pour the vinegar over the herbs in a clear glass bottle and close tightly.  Set the bottle in a sunny window for two weeks, turning it frequently.
  ~B. Heat the vinegar; then pour the hot vinegar over the herbs in a bottle or crock and close tightly.  Let steep overnight.
  Whichever method you use, you may want to strain and re-bottle the vinegar at the end of the steeping time, adding a fresh, unbruised sprig for decoration.  This is a matter of aesthetics- a choice between one simple spring in the bottle or the generous bunch of herbs used to flavor the vinegar.

**HOW to make Herbed Oils~

Herbed oils can be as simple or as complex as you like.  To make you own, simply add the desired herbs and spices to the oil (olive oil is best, but you can also use a good vegetable oil) and steep in a closed bottle or container in a warm but not hot place for a few weeks before using.  

 Here are some yummy combo’s for you try now that you have the ‘how to’s’….
~Vinegar idea’s:
*Tarragon is most common alone~ or add lemon thyme, basil, chive blossoms, burnet work well in salads
*Burnet and borage~ add borage flowers to white vinegar and it will tint it a lovely pale blue while giving it a subtle cucumber flavor…
*Dill with whole seed head intact ~ add a bit of lemon and garlic for delicious variety
*Mint for lamb dishes and fruit salads
*lemon thyme for fish
*Basil for tomatoes ~ add borage and burnet for a yummy twist
*sage for marinating rich meats and fowl
*chive blossoms for a faint oniony flavor
*nasturtium buds, flowers and leaves for a lovely peppery flavor
*oregano, fennel and garlic
*lemon thyme and garlic
*raspberry leaves and lemon balm… yummy for a salad
*and of course garlic… for everything!

~Oil idea’s:
*Thyme and rosemary make a quick pasta oil to toss the noodles with
*garlic, chili peppers, rosemary and thyme make for a yummy barbeque oil that is wonderful to marinade and baste your grilled meats
*Peppermint, garlic, cumin, coriander, cloves, mace and fennel adds a taste of the Middle East
*Thyme alone is wonderful to brush on veggies for the grill and chicken
*Fennel and garlic are yummy on fish
*garlic, thyme and a bit of sage go well with grilled veggies

You know what you like… so be daring and try new things with all your wonderful herbs!

**Taken and Adapted from, Herbs, Gardens, Decorations, and Recipes, by Emelie Tolley and Chris Mead, published by Clarkson N. Potter, Inc./Publishers, 1985

Here are some yummy recipe’s to try… 

Spiced Vinegar
3″ cinnamon stick
1 whole cracked nutmeg
4 cup red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp. whole cloves
1 Tbsp. allspice
1 Tbsp. black peppercorns

*Follow instructions above; let steep 4 weeks in a cool place; when ready strain the mixture and bottle. Store in a cool, dark space.

Rose Petal Vinegar
3 cup white wine vinegar
1 rose bud to place in bottle
5 cup rose petal, lightly crushed

*Follow instruction above; steep 4 weeks in cool place; when ready strain the mixture and bottle. Store in a cool, dark space.

Cucumber Dill Sauce
1 cup water
1 cup organic raw sugar
1 Tbsp. sea salt
1/3 cup white vinegar
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
1 cup sour cream
1 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped

1. Combine water, sugar, salt and vinegar, stir until thoroughly dissolved; add cucumber.
2. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving; when ready to serve, drain cucumber, fold into sour cream and add dill. 
*use on top of baked potatoes… yummy!

Happy Day,