Simple Tips for Starting an Indoor Herb Garden

If you like gardening, especially growing your own food, you might be a little disappointed when colder temperatures take over for a while. But do not worry. Despite the change in season, you don’t have to let it deter you from keeping your hands in the ground.

It’s true – it’s entirely possible to continue your journey to green thumb all year round. You may just need to rethink your game plan. As in, instead of gardening outdoors, bring your garden indoors with a potted herb garden.

Here is DIY 101.

Grasses are easy to grow, low maintenance, and look great. Plus, they’re an easy and fun way to enhance the flavor of your meals.

“An indoor herb garden provides a convenient way to add fresh flavor to your home-cooked meals whenever you need it, while saving time and money on trips to the grocery store,” says Tripp and Carmen Eldridge, Farm and Garden experts and resident farmers in Arden.

Not only are herbs delicious and great for being more creative in the kitchen, but they can also inspire you to cook more. “Along with the convenience factor, having an indoor herb garden can help you lead a healthier lifestyle by motivating you to avoid drive-thru and try new homemade recipes using your newly grown herbs,” explain the Eldridges.

According to Naomi Robinson, gardener and founder of Houseplant Authority, “Having them indoors also means you can use them all year round, compared to outdoor herbs, many of which tend to suffer in the colder months. “.

Plus, an herb garden doesn’t take up a lot of space — think of a windowsill, kitchen table, or side nook — and you can decide how many herbs and varieties you want to grow. It may be a handful or a plethora of plants as you wish. While that’s true, they will need plenty of sunlight, so you’ll need to find a bright spot in your home.

There are a variety of factors to consider to help you decide if planting seeds or seedlings is your best bet. You’ll need to figure out how much you want to spend, what strains you’d like to grow, how much time you have, as well as how long you want to reap the rewards of your herbs.

Seedlings, also known as starter plants, are exactly that – a plant that has been started from seed giving you a 4-8 week head start.

“Buying seedlings will give you ready-to-use plants instantly, but buying seeds and growing plants yourself takes time (30-60 days) and dedication,” says Reese L. Robbins, gardener and creator of JustPureGardening. “If you want to cut costs, seeds are a better bet. “Seedlings are more expensive than seeds, but buying seeds will give you a wider choice of herb varieties,” says Robbins.

If you prefer to be part of the whole process, you’ll want to opt for seeds, so you can watch them sprout and grow.

“You can start almost any herbaceous plant from seed, but for herbs that grow slowly or have difficult seeds to germinate, it may make more sense to start with seedlings or small plants,” says Lindsay. Bloomscape gardening expert Pangborn.

But it is also important to keep in mind that some herbs do not do well to be moved, ie transplanted. “Another consideration is that some herbaceous plants don’t transplant well — meaning they can experience stress or shock when moved from one container to another,” says Pangborn.

There’s no wrong way to start your herb garden. It’s all a matter of preference and determining your needs and how much time you can invest.

Herbs are easy to grow in containers and you can choose to plant them in ceramic or plastic garden pots or in recycled containers that you have on hand such as yoghurt pots, milk cartons or even plastic boxes for salad mixes.

“When initially planting herbs in their pots, it’s important to make sure the pots have drainage holes to allow excess water to escape from the pot,” says Pangborn. “The fastest way to destroy a weed is to let the roots sit in water, which leads to root rot.”

Choosing soil or potting soil is simple, as most are created for most types of plants, including herbs.

“Any general-purpose potting soil will be fine because it’s formulated to drain well while retaining just enough moisture,” says Pangborn. “Avoid potting soils that advertise they retain excess moisture and never use garden soil for potted plants, which can be too heavy and damp for plants living indoors.”

There are many herbs that grow well indoors. Here are some things to consider to get you started.

dill

Dill is rich in antioxidants and may benefit the heart.

“Dill likes to have at least 5 hours of direct sunlight each day in order to produce all of the flavor it’s known for,” says Robinson.

mint

Mint is a digestive aid due to its antispasmodic properties.

“Mint prefers indirect light for about 3-4 hours a day. It is for this reason that mint does best when placed in a south-facing window during fall and winter, and then moved to an east-facing window in spring and summer,” explains Robinson.

Oregano

Oregano may help protect against infections, due to its antibacterial and antiviral properties. It’s also very good on pizza!

“Oregano grows best in bright light with at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day,” says Robinson. “To ensure this happens, place your oregano plant in a south-facing window, although you may want to consider an artificial grow light in the winter.”

Rosemary

Rosemary is a hearty plant once it emerges from the ground. Although it is a Mediterranean plant, it will do well in different climates, including indoors.

“Rosemary does best when it receives at least 6 hours of full sun each day, with the general recommendation being to keep it in the brightest room in your home,” says Robinson. “This grass can struggle with shorter days in winter, however, artificial light can be a good idea here.”

Tarragon

Tarragon may help lower blood sugar and blood pressure in some people.

“Your tarragon plant thrives in bright, indirect light for 6-8 hours a day, so anything that isn’t a south-facing window will tend to work best with this herb,” ​​says Robinson.

Quenching your plants’ thirst is important. But not all herbs need the same amount of water. “It’s important to check pot water needs on an individual basis rather than watering everything on a schedule, which can lead to overwatered and stressed plants,” says Pangborn.

And when it comes to watering your herbs, it turns out that some techniques are better than others. “When you water the herbs, do it slowly so the water is absorbed into the soil,” says Pangborn. “Let any excess water drain from the pot and be sure to remove any excess water that collects in the saucer.” So in this case leftovers are no good.

There is a way to make sure you don’t overwater your indoor herb garden. “The easiest way to avoid overwatering is to simply use your finger to check the top 2 inches of soil in each herb’s pot. If it’s dry, you can safely water your plant,” says Robinson.

So what can happen if you give your plant too much water? This can lead to soggy soil and the roots may start to rot.

If this all seems a little overwhelming and you prefer something a little simpler and more convenient, you’re in luck. You can opt to purchase an herb kit and reap all the great rewards of fresh herbs without having to worry about all the details.

“Herb kits can be a great starting point for beginners because they include everything you need,” says Pangborn. “They also tend to be bred to include herbs that can grow well together and have complementary culinary uses.”

So whether you’re ready to step into the greenery indoors or want to take it slower, experimenting with an herb garden is full of benefits both during and after the process.

Terri S. Tomasini