Tips For Growing an Indoor Herb Garden
Fresh-picked herbs can make quite a delicious improvement to your meals. Instead of buying them at the grocery store, grow your own. Grow a variety of herbs in a window box or on the kitchen counter. It is an easy introduction to indoor herb gardening. The growing climates need to be the same as the conditions outside in order for the plants to thrive to their potential.
In order to start your own herb garden you have two options. You can visit your local nursery to purchase seedlings, or grow your own from seed. If you are a novice, the seedlings are the way to go.
Once you have your seedlings at home, you can replant them. For the first season you can also leave them in the small plastic pot that they come in. If you do decide to replant them, do not pack in the soil too tightly. Place a small amount of gravel or woodchips at the bottom of the pot for good drainage.
If you want to grow your herbs from seeds, follow the instructions on the package carefully and use a container large enough to accommodate future root growth. Herbs also like air circulation. By placing the plants near an open window, you can provide both the sunshine and air movement that they need to thrive.
Read the recommendations and information that comes with your herb plants, as not all are suitable for indoor gardening.
You will need garden equipment like a small digging garden tool, garden gloves, organic fertilizer and a few small gardening containers. You probably already have most of these supplies in your garden shed.
The most important aspect of growing herbs indoors is the soil. Use only top grade potting soil with an organic fertilizer mixed in. Fertilize while potting the herbs and they should be good until spring. If you have an herb that is not growing vigorously, add a little organic liquid fertilizer to the water.
When you go to transplant the herb, go one inch up in the size of the gardening container. If the plant is in a two inch pot, go to a three inch gardening container. Leave the roots alone and be careful not to bruise the stem.
Don't plant oreganos, mints, lemon balm or bee balm with other plants because they will overgrow everything. Pot these herbs in a separate garden container all to their own.
Here are some suggestions of which herbs to plant together:
Try sweet basil, Italian parsley, oregano, marjoram, and thyme for Italian flavored dishes.
For an aromatic scented container, use lavender, rose scented geranium, lemon balm, lemon thyme, and pineapple sage.
Plant garlic chives, salad burnet, parsley, and celery for herbs to put into your salads.
Use a container that is at least 6 to 12 inches deep. Allow time for your herbs to grow used to their new conditions. Place a small piece of wire screening over the bottom of the container hole to keep it from getting clogged.
If your herbs are growing too large for their pots, you can separate a portion of them (including the roots) and transplant them outside in the spring or summer. You will double the amount of herbs you can grow. If you already have an outdoor herb garden, take a portion of each plant indoors to have fresh herbs all winter long too.
Make sure you have a sunny windowsill that your herbs will grow in. Herbs must get 4 to 6 hours of sunlight a day on your windowsill. If your window doesn't supply that much light then purchase garden grow lights and hang them three inches above the plants. If you live in a very hot climate shade the herbs during the hottest periods. If you live in a very cold climate keep the herbs away from the cold glass panes.
Don't let the herbs dry out but don't drown them either. Herbs do not like to sit in wet soil. An inexpensive water meter from your garden center nursery will help with this step in growing your herbs. Use room temperature water so as not to shock the herb's roots.
Once you see growth you can start using you herbs. Snip and use your herbs often to encourage them to grow full and bushy.
If you follow all of these steps you will have a healthy herb garden all spring, summer, and winter on your sunny windowsill.
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