How to Grow an Indoor Herb Garden
If you need a reminder of spring in the depths of winter or want fresh herbs all year knowing how to grow an indoor herb garden is imperative. Growing herbs indoors isn't difficult with a few basic materials and a little time. Most herbs grow inside just fine as long as they have plenty of light and are watered according to their needs.
Materials You Will Need
- A grow light or a window that gets 5-6 hours of sun (South facing is best)
- Potting soil (preferably organic)
- Fertilizer (preferably organic)
- Pots or containers with drainage
- A pan to keep the containers on
- Herb plants or seeds
Herbs to Grow Indoors
Some herbs grow inside better than others. Here is a list of some of the easiest herbs to grow in your home.
Basil can be used for salads, soups, and sauces. It has a slightly minty flavor and is the main component of pesto. There are numerous kinds and colors, and many basil varieties have unique flavors. Consider growing several types for a variety of uses.
Chives have a delicate onion flavor that goes well in eggs, salads, and to garnish foods. They look like thick stems of grass when growing.
Cilantro imparts a warm, earthy flavor to foods and it is an important ingredient in salsa and other Mexican dishes.
Rosemary will give your kitchen a fresh fragrance. It looks like a tiny evergreen tree and is good with poultry or lamb. You can also add the fresh leaves to olive oil with salt and garlic for a bread dip.
Other Herbs to Grow Indoors
- Bay leaf
Tips for How to Grow an Indoor Herb garden
Preparing Pots and Planting
If you don't have a sunny window you can use a fish tank with a grow light over it. This actually makes a very effective "garden" in your home. Place a few inches of gravel in the bottom of the fish tank to set the pots on. This ensures good drainage.
Place some river rock in the bottom of a pot and then fill with organic potting soil. If you are planting seedlings just plant as you normally would. If you are planting seeds then scatter them across the surface of the pot and add a thin layer of potting soil. Keep moist. You will need to thin the plants out as they grow.
Place the pots on the river rock in the bottom of the fish tank. If you aren't using a fish tank you will want to put the pots on small dishes filled with gravel on the window sill.
Using a Grow Light
Grow lights are usually fluorescent lights. They should be placed no more than five inches above the top of your seedlings so that your plant gets plenty of beneficial light. You should ensure that the plants get about twelve hours of light per day. The easiest way to keep up with your plants' schedule is to put the light on a timer.
Most of all don't forget to turn the grow light on. If the leaves seem to be getting scorched raise the light a little bit more.
How Often to Water
Herbs, like any plant, need water to flourish. It is important that you give your plants just enough water, too much or too little will harm them. Usually, watering well once every two weeks will keep your plants in good health. The soil should be moist but not waterlogged.
If the leaves begin to turn yellow you know that you have been watering the plants too much.
Fresh Herbs for Fresh Flavor
You can create a variety of fresh herb gardens in your home for different looks and purposes. You can have a "spaghetti garden" and plant oregano, basic, and even garlic in one area. Keep lavender, lemon balm, and other fragrant herbs for a potpourri garden in another area. You can even grow your own tea garden with herbs commonly used for herbal tea.
Fresh herbs will bring a new excitement and fresh flavor to your cooking. An added benefit is that plants are natural air filters and remove pollutants for the air in your home. Growing them is a great hobby that has lasting benefits.