Two years ago we started messing with EarthBoxes. They are a container system with a built in water reservoir, especially important for our hot dry summers.
The first year we went with two of the Junior boxes and started herbs from seeds. Didn’t have a whole ton of success there. Not really the fault of the boxes, but more to do with our gardening skills.
Last year we bought herbs from Home Depot and put them into some full sized boxes. All I can say is, wow. Tons of Basil, Mint, Peppers, and Catnip. That’s the way to go. Get one or two of the large ones (you can save shipping by getting soil locally). Get some already started plants, plant them, and you are good to go.
You can grow just about anything in them, but we prefer herbs, because they give the best return for your money spent. It’s so nice to go out back and get some fresh basil for pizza or pasta.
They are also very kid friendly, in that they are easy to water and you can not over water. Also close to the ground, so easy for kids to pick herbs for dinner.
This year, I think we’ll do some heirloom seeds in the Junior boxes, then potted herbs in the full sized ones. I want to try out some hot peppers I can’t get in the stores, and the hassle to grow herbs from seeds just isn’t worth it for us. Not when a single $3 plant will give us more herbs than we need for a season (I was still able to get basil off it in December).
For seeds, we’re going to try out some of the John Scheppers stuff. They seem to have some good varieties.