My wife has asked me to add an herb garden to our yard this year. For those of you who want one year round and for those of you who love to cook, there’s nothing better than having an indoor herb garden. Indoor herb gardens bring flavour and fragrance to kitchens, and are an easy way to spice up your culinary repertoire. In no time, you’ll be saving money at the grocery store by snipping fresh herbs at home to use in any recipe you want. Herb gardens can flourish easily indoors and require minimal care, so start one up today.
So Much Variety
Basil; chives; oregano; rosemary; sage; lavender and mint are just some of the popular variety of herbs that can thrive indoors and on your windowsill. Visit your local Garden Centre to purchase herb plants that have already sprouted, or buy a selection of seed packets to grow yourself. Pick herbs that offer a mix of aromas and cooking options, but avoid varieties that may grow too tall or wide for your kitchen space.
Any container will do
When choosing containers for indoor herb gardening, any container will do the trick. However, it’s a good idea to purchase pottery between 6” and 12” deep, with holes in the bottom to ensure proper drainage. You can find ceramic or terra cotta pottery to complement the design in your kitchen, or mix and match colours for an eclectic look. You can plant different herbs in a wide or long container, or in individual pots. Whatever you decide, remember to label each container so you know what’s coming up.
Use nutrient-rich soil
Indoor herb gardens need a rich soil mix with good drainage to properly grow. Choose a high quality potting mix, and then supplement it with compost or peat moss to help herbs develop strong roots. Regularly adding bone meal, organic fertilizers or fish emulsions will also encourage growth, and are safe for indoor and outdoor use. Always follow the instructions on seed packets before planting. For instance, some seeds need to be dropped directly onto the soil, while others have to be gently covered or pre-soaked prior to planting.
Keep herbs damp
Herb gardens need to be kept damp, but avoid over-watering. Herbs don’t like to sit in wet soil, so water sparingly. In fact, too much water may cause your herbs to wilt or lose flavour. Use a watering cann to water herbs in small amounts, either in the morning or at night. Also, check the soil often before watering. If it still feels moist, wait and water your herbs the next day.
Shine a light
Indoor herb gardens should be given plenty of light. Whenever possible, place them on a sunny windowsill or near a south-facing window where they’ll get the most sunlight. If space is limited, consider rotating your plants to provide each with an equal amount of sunlight. Skylights and west-facing windows are also ideal for sun exposure. If you plan to continue your herb garden indoors during the winter, use fluorescent lights for supplemental lighting.
Cut and serve
Remember that the more you cut your herbs the more they’ll grow, so take advantage of the fresh flavours at your fingertips. Herbs are an easy way to spice up your culinary repertoire, so don’t be afraid to use your herb garden and experiment. Use mint to flavour tea, or create a potpourri using lavender; add rosemary to lamb and poultry, or spice up a homemade pasta sauce with fresh oregano and basil from your garden. In no time, you’ll find yourself creating culinary masterpieces with delectable home grown herbs.