Creating an Indoor Herb Garden

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Creating an Indoor Herb Garden

Staff Writer · Sep 13, 2009

Herb gardening in small spaces is sometimes difficult, and creating an indoor herb garden in an apartment can be quite a challenge. Here are some simple steps to streamline the creation of an indoor herb garden.

Choose Herbs You Will Use

Before starting an herb garden, take a cursory look at your most often cooked recipes (for herbs you use). Choose 4 or 5 of your favorites to add to your indoor herb garden. Some good choices are:

  • basil
  • chives
  • tarragon
  • marjoram
  • oregano
  • mint
  • sage
  • rosemary
  • lavender

Plant the Herbs

Plant these in a mixture of two parts:

  1. one part sterilized potting soil
  2. one part coarse sand or perlite

Choose pots with great drainage, and consider adding in rocks at the bottom of the pot to help excess water flow out. Herbs should never be soggy.

Find a Windowsill

Herbs love sunlight, so locate your herb planter on a windowsill that is facing south. Eight hours of sunlight is ideal for herbs, but less light will still produce these edible plants. If proper light is a problem in your apartment, simply pick up some grow lights (or fluorescent, as a secondary choice) from a local hardware store. Turn the light on next to the plant for eight hours a day or so, and watch the plant grow happily in even the darkest apartment corner. If turning the grow light off and on seems a daunting daily chore, pick up a timer to plug the light into. The light will turn on and off on schedule, and you will be free of one more daily maintenance item. Check the plants for signs of appropriate light; if the leaves are few and far between on long, leg-like stems, then the plant needs more light.

Control Humidity

Dry air can be a problem for herbs. In a dry environment, mist the plants daily with a squirt bottle filled with tap water. Another option for low maintenance is to set the planter on a tray filled with pebbles. Cover the water with pebbles, and the air around the plant will be more humid as the water evaporates.

Dry Excess Herbs

Since herbs are the most flavorful just before flowering, watch for the buds and then collect the extra leaves for drying. Most herbs can be safely cut down to 1/3 size. Rinse the leaves and stems in cold water, and dry them on absorbent towels. Hang the herbs to dry thoroughly before attempting to store them. In order to keep the herbs looking as green as possible, hang them upside down in brown paper bags in a dry, dark place. In about two weeks, your herbs will be ready to store and to be used in countless delicious recipes!

Enjoy Your Herb Garden

An indoor herb garden will thrive all year with a little bit of care and attention. Although a small apartment may seem like an odd place for a garden, you will find that there is no limit to the herbs you can grow there! Before long, you will be adding your organic, homegrown herbs into delicious meals every night.

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