Five herbs perfect for indoor growing

Spring has yet to arrive in many parts of the country, and we’re pretty sure a lot of you gardeners are getting a bit of cabin fever. One cure for the late-winter gardening blues is to start an indoor herb garden.

We’ve come up with a list of some of our favorite herbs to grow indoors, and some tips for getting started. Note: it’s pretty easy, so it’s perfect for beginner gardeners too!

1. Chives
Chives are in the allium family, making them a close cousin to onions and garlic. But unlike their stronger cousins chives have a delicate flavor perfect for adding a light garnish for eggs or potatoes.

These attractive and compact plants are super low maintenance. They can be grown from seed, but it’s easier to use starts. To harvest, just trim a few of the thin, round leaves. 

2. Mint
Mint is a wonderful addition to tea and other refreshing beverages. It’s also a delicious garnish for many deserts. But did you know you can also include it in salads?

Mint is easy to grow, and with care can thrive in an indoor herb garden. If you want to move it outdoors, be sure to keep it in a pot as mint is extremely invasive and will take over your garden.

3. Oregano
This aromatic perennial is essential to Italian and Greek cooking. Fresh oregano can be used immediately in the kitchen, chopped into sauces or added to meat dishes.

Oregano is a hearty herb that is quite easy to grow. Like other herbs, it likes well-drained soil. Compared to other herbs, though, it can tolerate some dryness.

4. Rosemary
Evergreen rosemary grows into a deliciously scented shrub whose needle-like, gray green leaves are a classic aromatic seasoning for Mediterranean dishes, as well as chicken, lamb, and bread.

In a pot, it will remain small and easy to cut and come again while retaining its lovely shape.

5. Thyme
Intensely aromatic, thyme is indispensable in a kitchen herb garden as it adds a delicate peppery-lemon flavor when added to soups, casseroles, pizzas, and breads.

Thyme is an easy herb to grow, and requires little care. It needs full sun and well-drained soil. It doesn’t like having “wet feet” and will develop root rot if the soil stays moist for too long.

Getting started: 

Selecting a location:
The best way to grow herbs is to place them on a sunny windowsill or wherever gets the most daylight. A minimum of four hours of sunlight per day is ideal.

Planting Tips:
Starting from seed may be a bit of a challenge, so it’s usually best to buy plant starts or get a cutting from an established plant.

When choosing a plant, make sure you get one small enough for your pot. Remember, they’ll grow! Four inch pots are perfect for windowsills.

Put each herb in its own pot. Garden soil can often contain unwanted pests, so it’s better to use fresh, quality potting soil.

Growing Tips:
Leaves may drop in the first few weeks. The herbs are adjusting to a new environment and with care they will begin to thrive.

Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. It should feel slightly damp when you poke your finger into it about 1 cm.

Be patient. Some herbs, like rosemary, can have difficulty adjusting indoors.

Dealing with pests:
If your indoor herbs attract aphids or spider mites, don’t fret. An easy treatment is to cover the soil surface and dip the plant upside down in a container of insecticidal soap and water. If persistent, you can do this once a week until the pests are gone.

 

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Author: Karen Price

Karen has an associate teacher certificate in early childhood education, and a bachelor's in outdoor education from the Environmental Studies program at Sonoma State University, in Sonoma County, CA. It's her mission to be an advocate encouraging families to grow and eat more vegetables.

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