Apartment Gardening with Herbs

For the apartment garden, herbs are the quintessential low-maintenance, high-reward plants to grow.

| April 29, 2011

  • Photo courtesy Sasquatch Books (c) 2011

Excerpted from Apartment Gardening: Plants, Projects, and Recipes for Growing Food In Your Urban Home, by Amy Pennington, with permissions from Sasquatch Books (c) 2011. The following excerpt can be found on Pages 33 to 42. 

Herbs are champions in the apartment garden: no matter how much you harvest, they keep on giving. Herbs are fairly easy to grow; they require varying pot sizes, depending on their root systems. Many herbs are perennials, so they return year after year, signaling spring’s arrival. You can overwinter perennial herbs in their pots. Most will come back in spring even when neglected over winter—a great choice for the lazy gardener.

Herbs are potent little plants, and your kitchen will never feel lacking with bunches of fresh stems and branches on hand. Herbs may be dried or infused to extend their life outside of the garden. For the apartment garden, herbs are the quintessential low-maintenance, high-reward plants to grow.

Anise Hyssop 

The unique flavor of anise hyssop is part licorice, part mint, a little bit like honey—herbal perfection. It is nice in grain salads and as a digestive tea or tisane after a big meal or between courses. This herb is best grown from seed. Recently, I’ve seen anise hyssop starts at the nursery, but don’t count on finding them easily. The plant grows tall, sturdy stalks topped with vibrant purple flowers. Anise hyssop is a perennial and will come back year after year.

WHERE AND WHEN TO PLANT: Anise hyssop can be sown in spring, directly in a pot. The seeds are super tiny and need only be pressed into the soil. Because the seeds are so light and small, anise hyssop tends to spread seed liberally after it flowers. Expect it to crop up in other pots the following year. I let these stray seeds grow to small seedlings before I repot them or give them away to friends. Anise hyssop likes sun but will do well in partial shade with at least six to eight hours of sunlight.

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