How To Start An Indoor Herb Garden

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Starting an indoor herb garden is not a difficult task, and it’s so rewarding. All you need is a sunny spot, some good soil, pots, and seeds. Once your garden is established, you’ll have all the herbs you need to make healthy, fragrant meals and aromatic teas. 

Why settle for wilted shop-bought herbs? When you grow your own, you always have fresh and tasty herbs close on hand. Read on to find out how to start an indoor herb garden.

The right place for your herbs

Herbs like a lot of light and, it is said, that they are more fragrant when they have plenty of it. Before you start your indoor herb garden, you need to find a place in your home where your plants will enjoy six to eight hours of sunlight each day. 

South-facing windows can supply this much light. If you don’t have enough sun, all is not lost. You can invest in grow lights. Grow lights provide full-spectrum light which stimulates plant growth. A word of warning if you use grow lights, your herbs will need between 12 and 14 hours of light a day as the lights are less intense than sunlight. 

Herbs that don’t get enough light will become lanky and become less flavorsome. Turn your pots a quarter clockwise when your water them to ensure even plant growth. 

Herbs like a fairly warm environment. They will thrive in temperatures of 60° to 65° Fahrenheit. Though basil prefers even warmer temperatures of 75° F. If you keep your herbs on a window sill, make sure that the leaves don’t touch the panes. The cold could damage the leaves. 

Choosing the best pots for your herbs

One of the most important features to look for when buying pots for your indoor herb garden is its ability to drain effectively. Herbs don’t like wet feet, so you don’t want the roots saturated in water. Too much water is one of the main reasons why indoor plants fail to thrive.

If you’re unsure about the pot’s ability to drain effectively, you should place pebble or gravel in the base to protect the roots from water. 

Make sure that every pot has a pot tray to catch the water when it flows through the drainage holes. Many a kitchen surface has been damaged by water draining straight out onto the counter. 

Have fun some when choosing pots. You can get plenty of colorful pots at your local garden center. There is also nothing stopping you from getting inventive. Put pots into baskets, or punch holes onto painted cans. Go off to your local garage sale and find old household items that you can convert to planters. 

Plant each herb in its own pot

Putting each herb into its own pot gives you the best chance of helping them to survive and thrive. Some herbs may enjoy a little more light. You may have a combination of herbs, where some are thirstier than others. By planting each herb in its own planter, you can customize the care of the different plants. 

It also means that you can mix and match your pots to ensure that you have the most useful herbs close on hand. You can also substitute plants when the leaves need time to regrow and replenish.

If you decide to plant a mixed herb garden in a single container, try to mix herbs with similar needs. Pots must be at least six inches tall to give them space to stretch their roots and prevent the soil from drying out too much.

You should give each of your herbs about four inches of space all around to ensure that they have enough place to grow. 

How To Start An Indoor Herb Garden

Choosing the right soil

As mentioned earlier, indoor herbs need plenty of drainage. When buying the soil for your indoor herb garden, make sure to buy the best soil for potted indoor plants. The soil you choose must be light and loose. It should be rich in organic nutrients and slightly acidic.

If you feel the potting mix is a bit dense, add some vermiculite or perlite to the mix. Nurseries often sell two types of soil for potting. One is called potting soil; the other is potting mix. Potting mix is less dense and is mixed with perlite. This is the one you want for your indoor herb garden. 

It is never a good idea to use soil from your garden in your indoor pots. You’ll end up bringing a bunch of bugs into your home. Inside, the insects and other bugs have no natural enemies, so they will multiply. The soil from your outdoor garden is likely also too dense for use in an indoor garden. 

Consider making your own potting mix by blending coarse soil with peat moss and perlite. When you mix your own soil, you can customize it to suit the moisture requirements of the individual herbs. 

If you’re planting herbs from seeds, you should start in March when the days are long and sunny. 

Looking after your herbs

Herbs don’t like a lot of water, but they do need a regular source. You should water your herbs when the top 25% of the soil is dry. Stick your finger into the soil to determine how dry it is. If your herbs need water, slowly sprinkle water over the soil.

Also, mist the leaves several times a week to keep them clean, healthy, and dust-free. 

Add some plant food to the water every fortnight to keep your herbs well-nourished. You should also give your herbs a low dose of plant food after you have harvested leaves. 

Harvesting your herbs

Don’t harvest your herbs until they are well established. Once they are mature, your herbs will benefit from a regular harvest as this encourages the growth of new, young leaves. You can dry herbs like rosemary and thyme for later use. Liquidize basil with a bit of water and pop it in an ice tray for later use. 

That being said, you shouldn’t take more than a third of the leaves on a single harvest. Basil and chives are exceptions, so you can help yourself to more of the leaves from these plants. Cut chives down to about an inch of the soil. It will quickly grow back up again.

Choosing herbs 

When planning your garden, choose herbs that suit your lifestyle and palette. If you’re new to growing indoor herbs, start with one or two. Then, grow your collection as you become more comfortable with looking after them. 

Herbs like thyme, parsley, cilantro, basil, rosemary, and chives are present in so many tasty recipes, and they aren’t difficult to grow. Mint grows like a weed and makes tasty, healthy tea and cool cocktails like mojitos. 

The bottom line

Indoor plants bring nature right into your home. When you start an indoor herb garden, it’s about so much more than just gardening. Your herbs will coax you into cooking delicious meals with fresh and fragrant aromas. They will have your family and friends wondering which great chef taught you to cook. 

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