When most of the plant world is on hiatus for the winter, there are some hardworking plants that can, and will, work right through the cold season. That is, of course, if you have an indoor garden. Indoor gardening has become a growing trend, and there is no better time to start one than now. Your own indoor herb garden can be complete in a few easy steps! If you feel like you don’t have the room, don’t fret. All you need is a windowsill, shelf, or table near a sunny window, preferably a south or west facing location, and you’re ready to grow!
Fresh herbs are used not only for perking up your favorite dish when cooking, but as herbal teas, herbal remedies, essential oils, and aromatherapy. There is such an “air” about them. Considering they are so aromatic, they can be used as an air freshener!
Your shopping list should include:
- Any type of vessel, as long as it has drainage holes and a saucer for the bottom to catch water. The size can be anywhere from 5″ in height and up. Be sure to consider the room you have to work with. Trios work perfectly for smaller areas and Terra Cotta Clay Pots with Saucers are an affordable option that come in many shapes and sizes. If you have more room to spare, use larger containers. With larger containers, you can mix and match plants! A favorite of mine is to plant a bush tomato plant in the middle of the container and basil around the perimeter of the container. Or, mix an assortment of herbs in one container. Make sure that what you’re planting will get along together in one container, not because they are unruly, but because some herbs require more water than others.
- A good quality Organic Seed Starter Potting Mix (for seeds) or an Organic Potting Mix (for seedlings/plants). Make sure you buy a potting mix, as it has all the right ingredients for herb growing. A potting soil will be heavier and you would need to amend it with peat moss etc., so just keep it simple.
- The herbs you would like to grow. Basil, thyme, oregano, mint, and chives are the easiest to grow. Buy them as seeds, in packets (follow the directions on the packets for growing), or already potted seedlings/plants. Seeds and seedlings/plants are available at garden centers, grocery stores, or Online Websites. Take heed though, in this cold weather, it’s not a good idea to order seedling/plants to ship to you. They won’t make the trip. Wait for the start of warmer weather, and for now, opt for a trip to your local garden center or grocery store. Seed packets usually come with a multitude of seeds, so when it’s time for renewing your plants you’ll have plenty to work with!
- If you are looking for something that is pretty AND edible, go with a double duty flower such as Nasturtium. The flowers and leaves are edible (the leaves have a peppery taste). Just throw a few in your salad or use them as a garnish. Make sure you buy seeds that will produce a compact plant for indoors, not a plant that will grow long vines.
- To me, fertilizer is optional. It does, however, help to refresh the nutrients in the soil that have been washed out by watering. I have grown plants both with and without fertilizer (because I get lazy at times). If you would like to use fertilizer, make sure it’s organic and for herbs/vegetables. Whatever fertilizer you use, make sure to read the instructions. You may not need a full dose or Spike for a smaller container.
When harvesting your herbs, use snips or scissors and start from the top of the plant. Work your way down the plant, but try to leave one third of the bush to encourage new growth. The more you harvest, the bushier the plant (and that’s a good thing)! If your plant loses it’s oomph, you will need to renew it. Pull it out of the container, refresh/add more soil, and start anew. Replace with either seeds or a seedling/plant.
So, what are you waiting for? If you are in need of a break from this cold weather and you are craving some of the feel-good green hues of warmer weather, it’s a great project to do for yourself or with your children! There is nothing better to renew your soul than fresh herbs, indoors, at your fingertips!