Why an indoor herb garden?
You live in an urban area, are short of space, but still hunger for green and a piece of nature, inside cultivation is probably the best solution.
You have an outside garden but still want to have newly-picked herbs in handy, some pots of herbs in the kitchen are also a good choice. While you’re cooking, instead of walking outside or buying from the supermarket, you can snip off fresh herbs anytime to flavor your dishes.
Although it’s not as easy as growing herbs outside, these plants require relatively little care and effort. They can also serve as decorations and natural insect repellent to your house.
Below are instructions on how to start and flourish your indoor herb garden:
Pick up your herbs
What you should take into consideration first are those which you usually use to boost your cooking. Among them, some plants that grow well inside such as:
- Lemon balm
Some others like cilantro, basil or oregano need plenty of sunlight to thrive well. Don’t take the inside unless you have fluorescent bulbs.
Plant your herbs
Most herbs can be grown from seeds but it would take long to germinate and grow. You have to wait for at least 2 months to harvest. However, seeds are cheap and handy. Follow the instructions on the packet about when and how to sow.
If you already have a grown-up plant, carefully dig it up and split it then replant the halves. This method is used for perennial herbs like chives or thyme.
For herbs like mint, rosemary or sage, cut stem segments. Remove the bottom inch leaves. You can either put them in water first or directly into soil. If you put them in water, wait for about ten days for the cuttings to take root.
Buy small plants
This is probably the easiest way to start your herb garden. If the plant comes in a small pot, transplant them into a bigger one to ensure growth.
Select a spot
Locate them in sunny places with at least 6 hours of sunlight. South or southwest facing windows are best but east or west facing ones are still fine. If there is not enough sunlight, use a fluorescent bulb to supplement.
Choose the right containers
When you grow herbs indoors, it’s best to put them in separate containers. Choose tall and because most herbs have deep root. The diameter should be between 6 and 14 inches.
You can choose among glazed ceramic, plastic or wooden pots. Terracotta is not a good option for they drain rapidly. Place saucers or drain pans underneath them unless you want drained water to ruin your table or window sill.
Take care of your herbs
Keep in mind that three important factors of cultivating are water, light, and nutrients.
Right after planting, water generously to help the plant settle into the soil. After that, water when need. Poke your finger or dig up an inch of soil to check. You don’t need to water if the soil underneath is damp. Herbs need water, but they cannot withstand too wet soil, the fastest way to kill them is to water too regularly.
Always water slowly and gently because the soil needs a moment to absorb water and strong water flow can wash away nutrients.
Observe your herbs every day. When there are signs of harmful insects, use insecticidal soap to wash infected leaves, spray organic pest control or homemade remedies.
Ensure good air circulation by not crowding your plants. They need both light and carbon dioxides for photosynthesis.
After 1 month, when the plants have used up nutrient in the soil, fertilize them. Don’t let your herbs bloom as flowers would take all nutrients, which makes the leaves less flavor.
Harvest your herbs
You have been waiting eagerly to use your herbs but still worry that it’s not the perfect time or you can ruin the little growing plants. Don’t hesitate to harvest when the stems are big enough to eat. Just remember not to cut more than a third. When you pick them in a proper way, the herbs don’t shrivel; they only flourish better.