Indoor Herb Gardening

Winter’s on the way

or in full swing for some parts of the US

but that doesn’t mean your herb garden should go into hibernation. Full of flavor often missing from their dried counterparts, many varieties of fresh herbs are not only a quintessential part of cooking but easy-as-pie to grow indoors! Even for those of us with limited space! #apartmentdwellersunite

There are some things to consider before you begin; method of growing (Old fashioned pots? High tech hydroponic thingamajig? Vertical planters?), location (Kitchen? Available window sill? Patio?), herb selection (Basil? Sage? Mint?), the combinations are endless, but we’ll try to cover a little bit of everything here!

Growing Method

Are you a gardening purist? Do you like to get your hands dirty? Are you a fan of ironically vintage décor? Then regular o’ container growing might be for you! Benefits of this method are all about the customizable care and configuring; you’re able to buy small or large containers, many or just one, in more colors and designs than you can imagine, and placement together or all over the house!

On the other hand, if you are a 21st Century computer lover with a warm spot for herbaceous foods? Consider aquaponic, hydroponic, or aeroponic growing systems.

While they range widely in price ($50-$1,000), they all offer some similar advantages: sleek design, set it and forget it watering & feeding options, in some cases; soilless growing medium and even light itself! Full-spectrum grow lights already installed on your system give you the freedom of placement nearly anywhere (See ya later, Sun, we’ve got electricity!)

Location

South-facing windows have the brightest light and most hours of sun during the short, cool winter days. Good choices for these locations are plants that come from tropical and semi-tropical climates, such as rosemary, thyme, basil, bay laurel and oregano.

East- and west-facing windows receive bright sun for about six hours in the morning or afternoon, but east windows will remain cooler. Good choices include mint, parsley, and chives, which thrive without intense light and prefer the cooler temperatures.

All containers should have drainage holes and a saucer underneath to catch water.

If you’ve got a growing system with grow lights, go crazy with your placement!

Plant Selection

B A S I L Basil is incredibly easy to grow. Start with a well-draining soil, place near a bright, south facing window, and water when the soil feels dry, BOOM, basil! Consider the variety when planting, as it can grow anywhere from 12 to 24 inches in height.

M I N T Did you know there are over 600 species in the mint family? Basil is one of them! But we’ve moved on from basil, so let’s talk about Peppermint. To grow this immensely helpful sidekick in your kitchen, gather a container with a wide, but not necessarily deep container (mint roots will encircle themselves and choke the plant), potting soil with organic matter is best, and should be kept moist. Mint tolerates shade well, so an east- or west-facing window will do fine! Be careful, some variegated varieties of mint are sensitive to too much direct light.

**Please be careful with fresh peppermint leaves or peppermint oil; they should not be given to children as menthol can be dangerous for them!

P A R S L E Y If a parsley farmer is sued, can they garnish his wages? I’m not sure, I’m not a lawyer, but I can tell you the best way to grow parsley starts with love, determination, quality potting soil kept lightly moist, and a west-facing window. Betcha didn’t think it was going to be that simple!

O R E G A N O Oregano is a must have! Anyone who tells you otherwise isn’t using it right! Like the other herbs mentioned, oregano thrives in a well-drained soil. You should water only when the soil is dry to the touch, and make sure you stick this one in a south-facing window, oregano loves lots of warm light!

These are just a few of the amazing and (super) easy herbs you can grow indoors. Find what works best for you and add amazing homegrown flavors to your life!

Happy growing,