Everyone loves the flavor of fresh herbs in their cooking. However, this time of year is too cold to be growing herbs outdoors. And there is the question of space. If you live in a small apartment or a condo, an outdoor herb garden may not be an option for you.
Have you ever thought about starting an indoor herb garden? Even if you don’t have a green thumb, growing your own herbs is an nice way to add some pizzazz to your cooking. And having an indoor garden is easier than it sounds.
Why Grow Herbs Indoors?
There are many great reasons to think about growing an indoor herb garden. One of the most important is that it gives you easy access to fresh herbs all year long. Once it gets too cold for outdoor plants, you can still have your favorite herbs at your fingertips.
Another reason many people enjoy indoor herb gardens is that you can clip off exactly the amount you need at any particular time. How many times have you bought a large bunch of parsley or another herb at the grocery store only to take it home, chop up a tablespoon or two, and throw the rest out? If you’re harvesting your herbs from your own plants, you’ll avoid having to buy more than you need.
Indoor herb gardens are low maintenance. As a rule, they don’t require any special equipment, and they don’t need to take up a lot of room either. And, as an added bonus, you won’t have to stoop over to tend your plants like you would a traditional garden.
Not only are they practical, but potted herbs can also add a decorative touch to your home. Indoor plants are beautiful, they can also improve your mood, freshen the air, and contribute a nice scent to the room.
If you’d like to start your own indoor herb garden, here are a few tips for starting and maintaining your own potted herbs.
What You Need to Know About Growing an Indoor Herb Garden
Pick the Right Plants
If there’s an herb that you use frequently in your cooking, that would be the perfect option to start your garden. Some plants are easy to start from seeds. For others, it may be better to use a clipping or an already established plant. For guidelines on how to start growing a few of the most common herbs, click here.
The following herbs are especially easy to grow and would be a great start for a new indoor gardener:
Find a Sunny Spot
Most herbs need at least 6 hours of sunlight every day. A south-facing window is an ideal location for your indoor garden. Avoid placing plants in the center of your room or in a north-facing window, since there will not be enough sun. If you don’t have a sunny location for your garden, you may want to use a grow light to provide your plants with the light they need.
Use the Right Pots
Your herbs need pots with good drainage. Make sure to place a saucer or another container under your pots if they have holes in the bottom to avoid damaging the tabletop or windowsill where they sit. If you decide to use containers with no built-in drainage, use a layer of pebbles in the bottom.
As a general rule, it’s a good idea to let each plant have its own pot. Most herbs will grow better if they have a little room to breathe.
In the beginning, your herbs will be happy in smaller pots. As they grow you may need to transplant them if you notice roots in the drainage holes, if the plant’s growth stalls, or if it starts to flop over.
When to Water
How often you water your plants will depend on the size of the pot they are in and the humidity of the air in your home. Aim to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. It’s best to water slowly so that the water is evenly absorbed instead of running straight through to the drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. If your plants begin to wilt or if the leaves start to turn yellow, it’s a sign that you’ve been watering too much.
Using Your Herbs
When you need fresh herbs, simply snip off the right amount with some kitchen shears or pinch off what you want with your fingers. Occasional trimming will encourage new growth. However, you should be careful not to clip off more than a quarter of the plant at a time, since this could damage it.
Now you’re ready to enjoy your garden! Fresh herbs are a great way to add a splash of fresh flavor or an attractive garnish to your cooking all year long.
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