Growing herbs in small spaces: tiny herb gardens across London

Herbs are surely the easiest (and most cheer-inducing) things you can grow in a small urban space. They are so much hardier than anything else in pots and you can keep harvesting them for ages. I remember having a small tomato plant back at university. I had bought it at a market where the woman on the stall assured me that yes, this plant would bush up and provide me with umpteen tomato. Needless to say the poor little vine withered away and died under my confused an utterly inept indoor care. A pot of basil, or one of rosemary would have been a much cleverer purchase. And ever since then, however small our house has been (and we’ve lived in some very, VERY small London flats), I’ve always had fresh herbs growing. I grew them on the balcony of our first flat where they doubled as ashtrays (poor things), in hanging pots I suspended from IKEA poles in the kitchen of our last London flat, I grew them in our useless side return before we had it turned into an extension, and now I grow them in wall planters covering a sunny fence.

Herbs on the balcony of our first flat

And they’re so good for you! Not only do they taste amazing when picked fresh, they smell lovely and they are excellent for morale in how fast they grow. 

Herbs suspended from IKEA rails in the kitchen of our second flat

My little wall planters have simply exploded with life and little gives me more pleasure than popping outside with my herb scissors to harvest some greenery for whatever I’m cooking. 

Side return herb garden in this house a couple of years ago

If you want to grow anything in a small space, I’d say go for herbs. Cut and come again salad is all well and good but the heady woody fragrance of a rosemary plant, or the sweet tangy green waft of a basil plant as you brush by really can’t be beaten. Wouldn’t it be lovely if one day every kitchen has a vertical planter of herbs installed as standard? I now have sorrel, basil, flat parsley, curly parsley, rosemary, tarragon, oregano, black peppermint, morrocan mint and lemon verbena growing in the garden and I need so much more!

Before and after – what a difference a month makes!

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We farm a three acre smallholding in Hampshire, England, having fled London in pursuit of the good life for our little family. We mess about with an assorted menagerie and try to be as self-sufficient as possible in meat and fruit and vegetables whilst enjoying our plot and an outdoors lifestyle with our son. I am the luckiest person that I know.

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