Enjoy the flavor of herbs all year long by growing your own herb garden indoors. Most homes have a good spot for growing a delicious herb garden. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Find the perfect spot
Herbs like lots of sunlight. Check out different areas of your home to determine what room has the best natural light. Ideally this would be in your kitchen, where the sun is bright at least 6 hours a day. If that isn’t possible, try a table near a south or southwest facing window.
Most herbs do well with indoor temperatures and even like a lower temperature overnight. Just be sure they aren’t too close to drafts or touch cold glass, which can damage plants.
Gather the right containers
Herbs need good drainage to grow successfully. Make sure your container has drainage holes in the bottom. Metal, ceramic, plastic and terra cotta are great options. Place your pots on a saucer or dish to prevent excess water from staining the windowsill or table your herbs are on.
When choosing terra cotta, be sure to pay close attention to the moisture levels of your soil. Clay pots can dry out the soil more quickly than other materials, especially in the winter months when the air indoors tends to be drier.
The larger the pot the better. Use pots that are at least 6 inches in diameter for individual plants and 8 to 10 inches when planting herbs together.
Use a well-draining soil like Miracle Gro, Espoma Organic or Proven Winner potting soils to grow herb indoors.
Food and Water
Your herbs will need to be regularly watered and should never dry out completely, they should get mostly dry in-between watering but not completely. Misting the foliage with water can help during the winter months since most of our homes are not humid enough and dry air can cause the foliage to dry out before the soil does. Depending upon the humidity of your home, it can take a few days to a week. To test, push your finger into the soil to the knuckle, and if the soil is dry it is time to water, or try a moisture meter, these are easy to use and give reliable readings.
To water your herbs, place the containers in the sink and water where the stem meets the soil. Do not water the leaves. Let the water soak into the soil and drain completely before returning your herbs to their saucers.
Herbs don’t need much in terms of fertilizer during the winter. Use a low phosphorous fertilizer that promotes growth if you find your herbs have stopped growing.
Herbs are relatively easy to grow indoors, however there are some varieties that are lower maintenance then others. Bay leaves, Lemongrass, Coriander, Mint and Chive are great starter herbs for the newbie gardener. Basil, Cilantro and Sage are a bit more challenging.
Herbs tend to stretch indoors during the winter months since the days are shorter and light is less. Herbs will appreciate being pinched back or trimmed on a monthly basis to keep them tight and bushy. If you cook with herbs regularly, this should not be a problem, the grass-type herbs can be cut to just above the soil to rejuvenate and ensure a fresh supply of tender blades.
For more information on growing your own herb garden visit any of our English Gardens locations and talk to an expert.