Cooking with fantastic fresh herbs doesn’t have to end just because the snow is falling. Herb gardening indoors is a viable option for anyone. You don’t have to have acreage for growing herbs; a simple window planter is ample for growing smaller herb plants. Container gardening makes it possible to enjoy freshly harvested herbs all year long as well as creating perfect kitchen accessories.
Most culinary minded folks would likely agree that the flavor of fresh herbs is critical to the success of many of their dishes. Starting your herbs from cuttings or from seed is an inexpensive way to obtain a large variety for your indoor garden. Some herbs are better than others for indoor growing: aloe, basil, chives, chervil, ginger, marjoram, mint, oregano, parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are all amenable to indoor cultivation.
Container gardening is not only fun but it can be decorative as well. Terra cotta pots are a great choice for growing herbs. Decorated terra cotta planters are perfect for your indoor gardening décor. Terra cotta look-alike plastic planters are easy to obtain; they are less costly and retain water more efficiently than terra cotta. Strawberry pots are perfect for growing herbs in a compact space. Trailing herbs such as thyme, tarragon or mint are perfect for growing in hanging planters. Sunny window sills are an optimal setting for herbs; narrow, long window sill planters planted with your favorite herbs will provide plenty of fresh cut herbs year round.
When planting herbs in containers, be sure to consider the requirements of the various types of herbs you intend to put in the pot. Only combine those varieties that have like soil, water and light requirements.
All indoor plants require approximately six hours of sunlight daily; a south or east facing window is best. To encourage even plant growth, be sure to rotate the containers about a quarter turn weekly. During the winter you may have to use artificial light to meet the light needs of the herbs; for the best results use full-spectrum plant lights. Maintain a distance of at least five inches between the top of the herbs and the lights.
Check the moisture in the herb containers frequently. When the moisture of the soil feels dry to 1” in depth, water the herbs. During the winter months heated air may become extremely dry; dry air can cause plant issues such as red spider mites and brown leaf tips. Misting with a spray bottle about once a week helps to maintain leaf moisture and keep the plants healthy.
Herbs have optimum flavor when they are not fertilized. Start your herbs using fertile, enriched potting soil. When the plants are growing well, periodically pinch the ends off to encourage new growth.
Dishes prepared with fresh herbs have wonderful flavor and are a delight to the olfactory senses. In addition to herbs for cooking, medicinal herbs may also be grown indoors for year round use. Container gardening makes it possible to grow all sorts of beneficial herbs indoors all year.