Creating an indoor herb garden
During the winter months, it's hard not to get down when all you see when you look outside your window is a gray sky, gray earth and dead trees. The only thing that keeps many of us going is the thought of the spring and summer months, with blooming flowers and freshly picked produce. Instead of wasting away until March arrives, bring spring to your house with an indoor herb garden. Not only will the bright greens liven up the dreariest of winter days, growing your own herbs and spices will save you big bucks at the grocery store!
Growing your own herbs inside, like basil and thyme, is just as easy as growing them outside. All you need are the proper materials and a windowsill or ledge that gets the most sunlight. (Herbs need at least four to six hours of sunlight). For less than $10, you can have your own fully grown herb plant for what one package costs at your local supermarket! Flex your green thumb with these helpful pointers on creating an indoor herb garden.
Choosing which herbs to grow
Before you even begin gardening, figure out which herbs you'd like to grow. It's a good idea to choose herbs you will use in a lot of your recipes, such as basil, thyme, rosemary and peppermint. Choosing herbs you are familiar with is a great place to start, especially if you're a novice gardener. If you are a novice, it's also great to start with some very easy-to-grow herbs. Below are some of the easiest herbs to grow, which are also among the most widely used in modern cooking.
Gather your materials
To begin with, you need containers/pots to grow your plants in, soil, seeds, plastic wrap, a water mister and a tray to put your plants on. In addition, you can also use Miracle-Gro for faster results. If you can, buy pots that have a few small holes at the bottom, which will help drain excess water and allow you to keep the plants at the right level of moistness. If you're short on time, purchase an indoor garden kit that comes with all of the above items and detailed instructions on planting and tending to them.
Plant your seeds
Fill your pots about three-quarters full of commercial soil or seed-starting medium and Miracle-Gro (read the label for proportions). Sprinkle seeds onto the soil and cover with additional soil. Sow seeds per seed package instructions and gently press the soil down. Using a spritzer, lightly moisten the soil with water. Cover the seeds with plastic wrap. Once seedlings start to emerge, remove the plastic wrap and place the pot in at least 2 inches of water until beads of moisture appear on the top of the soil. Remove from water and place on a tray by a sunny window. Seeds will then start to grow.
Tending & harvesting your plants
Since herbs can grow fast and can be temperamental, it's important to water them every day and snip away any dead seedlings that don't prosper. If too many seeds grow together and start to crowd, transfer the herbs to a larger pot to allow more room. Most herbs take from four to six weeks to sprout. Your herbs will be ready to harvest when the flower buds just start to sprout. Dry herbs with a paper towel and use immediately or store in an airtight container for later use.
For more information on creating an indoor garden and gardening tips, visit Better Homes and Gardens.