Bring in the Herbs
A small window garden will let you reap fresh benefits all year long.
A good kitchen is where fresh ingredients are transformed into delicious meals that please all the senses. And there are no better ingredients to have than culinary herbs. Place them near a window to add the freshest possible flavors to your cooking as well as delightful aromas to your entire house. Growing herbs indoors is an easy way to bring the feeling of spring into your home--and into your heart--throughout the year. Here are some tips that can help you enjoy the many healthy benefits of fresh herbs.
Selecting which herbs to grow is actually the hardest part, but it can also be the most fun. Winter is a perfect time to wander through a nursery or let your eyes feast on the all the possibilities in a seed catalog. To help you narrow down your options, decide where you want to grow your herbs and what you'll do with them.
Location, Location, Location
Once you know which ones you want, you'll have to decide where to put them and what to put them in. The only limiting factor to growing herbs inside is how much light you have. Almost all of these plants require at least six hours of sun a day to stay healthy, and when the days are short, that's a lot of sun. A south-facing corner with windows is ideal, but you can cheat by adding fluorescent lights.
Culinary herbs grow great in almost anything that allows adequate drainage, so have fun selecting your containers. Using individual pots for each herb usually works best because every plant may have different watering needs. However, experimenting with various combinations can bring beautiful and healthy results. Because purple sage and thyme both need well-drained soil, try putting them in the same pot and letting the thyme cascade down in front of the sage.
What They Want
Besides providing your herbs with enough sun, it's important for them to have the proper amount of moisture. However, most herbs are very sensitive to soggy soil, especially when grown indoors. Only water them when the soil surface has completely dried.
Using the correct soil is critical to growing herbs successfully. Either use a store-bought mixture specifically formulated for potted plants, or follow the recipe we provide.
Spice It Up
With the right soil, moisture, and light, you'll have herbs for all your cooking experiments for years to come. They will provide a touch of color in your kitchen and remind you that spring is not far away. Once you get the hang of growing edible herbs, try adding some variation to your indoor garden.
Flowers such as primroses or pansies can make a great addition to an inside herb garden. Simply drop them into the pots alongside the herbs, and give them the same care.
Lettuce and other leafy green vegetables such as arugula are also easily grown indoors and can make a flavorful accompaniment to a hearty winter meal.
Regardless of how you decide to fill your pots, growing herbs indoors is a fun and healthy way to brighten up your life.
Once your herbs are established in their pots, the only thing you'll need to do is occasionally fertilize them. Most herbs do the bulk of their growing in the spring and summer, so for the rest of the year they don't need much supplemental feeding. Once a month add a liquid fertilizer, such as Garden Safe 3-1-5. This all-natural fertilizer is safe for edible herbs.
CULINARY HERB POTTING MIXTURE
- 2 parts topsoil
- 1 part compost
- 1 part sphagnum peat moss
- 1 part sand
- 1 part soil conditioner
Mix all ingredients together.