If you are a food lover who loves to cook with fresh herbs – you should think about starting your own indoor herb garden.
Indoor herb gardens are easy to grow and require little work compared to outdoor gardens.
If you want to save money on your herbs or if you find yourself scouring the Sunday paper for seasoning and spice discounts and coupons, grab your garden trowel and a planter and get to work!
Herbs such as rosemary, sage, sweet basil and mint are durable plants that can be grown by even the most inexperienced gardener.
This winter, rediscover your green thumb with fragrant and delicious fresh herbs.
About Herb Gardening
If you want to start an indoor herb garden, you don’t really need to make a big investment to get started.
Herbs can be grown in anything, from old planters lying around the garage to used metal coffee canisters adapted with holes in the bottom for proper drainage.
While your container doesn’t really matter, you should pay close attention to the soil.
When planting herbs, you should always consider using organic soil since you will be ingesting the plant. If you choose to use a fertilizer on your plants, opt for natural compost instead of a chemical fertilizer.
As far as soil type and texture goes, each plant will have its own unique requirements.
Generally, herbs can be grown in a mixture of two parts organic potting soil and one part coarse sand or perlite to encourage drainage.
If you want your herbs to have a sweeter flavor, try adding a sprinkle of limestone to the mixture.
Regardless of what soil combination you choose to use, be sure to place gravel or small rocks in the bottom of the planter to encourage proper drainage.
Like soil, each plant will also have its own requirements for sunlight.
In general, it is best to grow your herbs near a large window that faces the south or west for maximum access to sunlight. If you do not have a lot of sunlight in your home, you may want to invest in a fluorescent lamp, which can help to supplement natural light.
While some people may want to start their plants from heirloom seeds, it might be more gratifying to purchase a starter plant from your local greenhouse or gardening center.
Which method you choose is up to you, but you will be able to reap the benefits of the plant sooner if you buy an established plant.
Pick and Store Your Herbs
Once you have established a hardy plant, you will want to begin using the fruits of your labor. But how do you know when it’s time to begin picking the leaves off of your plant?
Fresh leaves can be picked once your plant has enough foliage to maintain growth. A good rule for some herbs is to begin picking the leaves once the flowering buds begin to bloom.
There are several ways to store your herbs for use. While some people prefer to simply pinch leaves from the plant as needed, others prefer to dry and store their herbs.
To dry your herbs for later use, hang your plants upside down in bunches and cover them with paper bags. Place the bags in a dry, dark place like a cupboard or food pantry.
You will know when the leaves are ready because they will be dry and crumbly to the touch. This usually can take between one to two weeks.