FEATURE — Have you wanted to try your hand at gardening but feel limited on space? Do you find herbs at the store too expensive? If you have a sunny window, you can grow your own herbs inside – no garden required!
Herbs are a great way to add flavor to dishes and can be grown indoors all year round.
There are a couple ways you can create your indoor herb garden: starting your herbs from seeds or buying potted plants. Starting your herbs from seed is a little bit more challenging than buying a potted plant because seedlings require lots of light and patience while they grow. Buying a mature plant from the grocery store or a nursery is the quickest way to start your herb garden.
Some herbs that grow well inside are mint, basil, chives, parsley, thyme, rosemary and sage. Here are a few tips for starting a successful indoor herb garden:
Lots of sunlight! Find the sunniest spot in your house for the herbs. They will need at least six hours of sunlight a day. When herbs don’t get enough sunlight, they will start to wilt and turn yellow.
Pick a pot with good drainage to avoid rotting roots. Planting pots can be found at nurseries, grocery stores and home improvement stores, but if you’re on a budget, check local thrift stores for affordable options.
Use potting soil for indoor plants. Since your herbs are staying inside and you probably don’t want bugs in your house, purchase a potting soil instead of using dirt from outside, which may have pests. Potting soils for indoor plants also help keep the plant’s roots dry while providing the nutrients it needs to grow.
Water! It might be tempting to water your new herbs frequently, but it is possible to over-water. Soil dries out from the top down. Watering every time the top looks dry could result in the deeper soil being too wet. Herbs should only be watered about once a week.
Extreme temperatures. Be mindful of extreme temperatures if keeping your herbs on a windowsill. Some herbs are very sensitive to the cold and heat.
Use labels. Make sure plants are clearly labeled to avoid any confusion when reaching for your herbs. Many look similar, and you don’t want to use the wrong one in your recipes.
If you want more information on starting your own container garden at home, check out the websites below:
- Guides for growing and maintaining yard and garden.
- Start a little bit of spring in your house!
- How to grow food from seeds.
- Starting herb seeds indoors.
- Indoor herb gardens: a how-to guide.
- Growing your own herbs indoors.
When your homegrown herbs are ready to eat, try making chicken and thyme soup. It’s a great recipe for a rainy, cold day.
The recipe calls for cubed or shredded chicken. I had leftover turkey breast in my refrigerator, so I used that instead. If you don’t have fresh thyme on hand, you can still make the recipe. Replace the fresh thyme with half a teaspoon of dried thyme.
Written by CANDI MERRITT, Certified Nutrition Education Ambassador and SUSIE WEST, Create Better Health Intern.
This article originally appeared April 15, 2020, on the USU Extension Create Better Health blog.
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