Having fresh herbs in the kitchen is great. If you already have an indoor herb garden, you can pluck some herbs for cooking any time you want. Especially, if you’re a culinary enthusiast then it is great to have several fresh spices and herbs to choose from when cooking your favorite dishes and making your favorite sauces and stews. Things will get really easy if you know how to grow an indoor herb garden. Just a few hours of sunlight and care is all that is needed to have fresh herbs ready for use.
Rosemary, bay leaf, basil, thyme, oregano are some of the popular herbs you could be growing in your indoors herb garden right now.
Here are some few essentials to remember to get you started on the right track to learning how to grow an indoor herb garden.
The Right Potting Mix
Most garden herbs and spices love soils with good drainage. They would fail to grow in dry potting mix; neither will they grow in excessively damp potting mix. You should remember as always to make holes in the bottom of the pot/ container so that excess water can drain out of the potting mix. You should include peat in your potting mix. This ensures that your pot is well drained and retains the right amount of water. You should not use garden soil; apart from the fact that they may contain weed seeds, pathogens and insects, they become too compact when put in a pot. Potting mix for your indoor herb garden can easily be acquired from your local garden center.
Choosing Container / Planter
The size of the planter depends on the type of herb and also its size. Most small herbs will grow perfectly in containers that are 8 in/ 24 cm in diameter, and bigger herb plants will grow well a gallon pot or an even bigger container.
The Light Needs
The light and temperature needs of the plant are essential and these two factors will decide the best location for the plant. A majority of herbs will have no problem growing on windowsills. Herbs that love bright sunlight for many hours a day may not grow as lush as their outdoors counterparts. During the afternoon, the sun may be scorching and many herbs prefer to be in the shade during this time. Herbs such as cilantro prefer the shades so as to produce healthy leaves. You should know the light requirements of each of your herb plants and ensure they get the right amount of light.
The Temperature Needs
Once again each type of herb has different temperature needs and it is essential part of knowing how to grow an indoor herb garden. For example basil grows well in warmer temperatures and cilantro prefers cooler than average temperature. For warmth loving herbs, you can sometimes place them outdoor during the summer. However, the normal room temperature should be adequate.
Watering Your Herb Garden
Soil in pots loses moisture a lot faster than garden beds. Because of this you should water the plants whenever the top soil feels dry. This will normally be once every two to three days. Extreme warmth can cause your plants to require watering as much as twice a day. Every herb has different watering needs; for example, basil thrives in wet potting mix while sage and lavender prefer drier potting mix. Therefore make it a point to check at least once a day, and give each herb plants its preferred watering. You should empty the water that collects in the drip tray on which the planters are placed. Also you shouldn’t water the leaves of the basil plant, as it dislikes having water on its leaves, but rather ensure you always water the base.
Fertilizing It Right
Fertilizing herbs is tricky as nutrients are drained rather quickly in containers, but at the same time if you apply the right amount of fertilizer your herbs will grow lush and nicely but will have poor flavor. You should keep fertilization of your herbs to a minimal to ensure good flavor. You should fertilizer your herbs once in every 21 to 24 days during their growth phase. This will allow the herbs to have enough nutrients to grow well. Like mentioned before, this part can be tricky but an important part of learning how to grow an indoor herb garden.
It takes between 4 to 6 weeks before you can start plucking and harvesting your herbs. At that age, you should be able to do so without harming the plants. Regular harvesting helps the herb tree not to outgrow its planter. Herbs are best harvested before the flowers fully bloom or open, and also after the seeds have dried. You should prune your herbs regularly; this minimizes the risk of disease in your indoor herb garden and also keeps the herbs tidy.
So that is how to grow an indoor herb garden. It is sure worth the effort put into it.