3 Tips for Growing Herbs Right in Your Own House
by Liz Alterman
One of the highlights of summer for any home cook is the ability to run out to the garden -- rather than the supermarket -- to gather fresh herbs. But just because the seasons change doesn't mean you have to say good-bye to your beloved backyard bounty of herbs and spices.
Planting an herbilicious garden indoors is not only easy, fun, and flavorful, but also it can save you from spending a bundle at the grocery store or farmers' market. Getting going, or growing, is simpler than you might think. Start by picking up planters, potting soil, and some seeds. Or get a head start by choosing already-mature healthy plants.
Even if you're short on space, don't worry:
Some herbs make fine "roommates" and can be planted in the same
pot. You'll find that basil, parsley,
thyme, sage, chives, oregano, and rosemary will be happy house guests long after
summer has ended if you follow these three tips for growing herbs
More from The Stir: Plant an Indoor Vegetable Garden: Eat Healthy Year-Round
1. Location, Location, Location
For busy cooks, the kitchen seems like the most convenient location to grow your indoor garden, but for herbs and spices to thrive, they need as much sunlight as possible. Place your pots in a spot where they'll enjoy at least four to six hours of sun per day. South- and southwest-facing windows provide the best light, but east- and west-facing will do if necessary.
Before you "put down roots," keep an eye on how much sun your intended location will get throughout the day to ensure ample light.
2. Proper Watering and Drainage
Because a hydrated plant is a happy plant, watering is key -- but don't overlook the importance of proper drainage. If your herbs are left soaking in water, eventually their roots will rot. Placing a tray or liner under your pots will not only allow roots to shed excess water, but will also protect the surface beneath your planter.
If you're deciding between ceramic and plastic containers for your plants, you may want to consider that ceramic or clay pots are more effective in terms of drainage and keep soil moist rather than wet. Plastic pots, while not as environmentally-friendly, will retain more moisture, which could be beneficial if you'll be out of town or forget to water periodically. Either way, make sure your pots have holes at the bottom and containers beneath them.
3. Keep Temperatures Consistent
If you place your garden near a window, remember that once the sun goes down, so does the temperature. If it starts to get pretty chilly on that windowsill, you'll want to move your plants. Likewise, if you'll be going out of town and lowering the heat, consider leaving herbs and spices with a friend who can care for them while you're away.
Have you ever planted an indoor herb garden? If so, which herb or spice yielded the biggest harvest?