When the rains arrive and the temperature drops, we Portlanders tend to curl up next to a warm indoor fire and seek solace in the season’s comfort foods. Autumn favorites like creamy mashed potatoes, roast chicken, and stuffings of all kinds are taken to a new level when seasoned with fresh herbs—piney, richly assertive rosemary; warm, fragrant sage; and crisp, minty garden thyme. And when “fresh” translates to “picked 30 seconds ago from your own herb garden,” the experience is that much more rewarding.
City dwellers who don’t have access to a yard, or who simply don’t have the time to nourish a full-scale garden, often are discouraged from growing their own food. An evergreen herb garden, however, requires little space, even less maintenance, and will provide flavorful additions to your culinary creations year-round. Luckily, Portland’s mild climate, coupled with herbs’ general hardiness, makes for ideal outdoor planting conditions well into November. Most culinary herbs thrive in full sun, making south-facing balconies or porches the perfect spot to plant, though they will grow in partial shade as well.