Growing an Indoor Herb Garden
Summer might feel like ages ago, but that doesn't mean you can't have fresh-from-the-garden herbs in every meal. With an indoor herb garden, you can still enjoy the beauty of live plants and the taste of fresh herbs, even in the cold winter months.
Head to your local True Value hardware store for the gardening supplies and tips you need to get your indoor herb garden growing. You'll be enjoying fresh herbs in no time at all.
Step 1. Pick Your Herbs
Not all herbs are ideal for growing indoors. Some of the best herbs to grow indoors are thyme, lavender, basil, parsley and oregano. Other good choices are chives, mint, dill, rosemary, sage and garlic chives. Decide what you want to grow and why you want to grow them. Herbs can be used for cooking but also can be used for the natural touch they add to a space, not to mention their fragrance. Basil, scented geraniums and coriander give off a nice scent.
- If you don't have a place in your home that gets enough light or warmth for an indoor garden, you can grow your herbs under a fluorescent light or sun lamp. Be sure to only use the lamp for 6 hours a day.
Step 2. Pick Your Prime Location
The best setting for growing an indoor herb garden is a warm, slightly humid room that gets plenty of sunlight. Most herbs grow best when they get at least 4 hours of direct sunlight a day. The kitchen is usually the best room. Just keep them away from cooking areas, or if you have a small kitchen, put them elsewhere. The fluctuations in humidity and heat can be taxing on the plants. Try the sill of a southern or western exposure window for the best sunlight.
- If you don’t have a place in your home that gets enough light or warmth for an indoor garden, you can grow your herbs under a fluorescent light or sun lamp. Be sure to only use the lamp for 6 hours a day.
Step 3. Start Planting
There are three ways to start your indoor herb garden. You can start your herbs from seeds or from cuttings from store-bought plants or your own garden-grown herbs.
For those who like to get their hands dirty, try starting herbs from seed. It's the least expensive way to grow an indoor herb garden, but it takes some babysitting.
- When purchasing seeds, make sure you get the "compact" varieties. Not only are the regular varieties difficult to grow indoors, but they're also meant for growing in large spaces.
You'll need some small pots—around 6" in diameter. Terra cotta or heavy clay pots work best, but any pot with good drainage will do. Fill each pot with potting soil, and following the directions on the packets, add the seeds to the depth specified by the manufacturer. Mist the soil with water, keeping the soil damp but avoid overwatering. You may have to mist the herbs everyday, especially if your home is especially dry during the winter months.
Stem cuttings are another easy method to grow herbs indoors. Before the growing season ends, start your indoor herb garden with some cuttings from your outdoor plants or use cut herbs available from a grocery store. Cut about six inches of a stem at the base of the plant.
Once the branch is cut, strip the foliage off the bottom so it won't rot. A root should develop anywhere a leaf or stem has grown. Place the cutting in a small jar of water so it can set roots. Keep in mind that these cuttings need a sunny location, and the water should be changed out every day.
Once the cutting has sprouted roots, you'll need to plant it in a small terra cotta or heavy clay pot. Fill the pot with potting soil and plant the cutting.
- To keep your herbs growing, use them! Snipping off enough leaves for a recipe or garnish will keep the plants healthy and thriving.
Congratulations! You've just planted an indoor herb garden that you will surely enjoy all winter long. From now until the spring thaw and beyond, turn to your local True Value hardware store for all of your home gardening needs.
For more project ideas, visit the Project Library >