Indoor Herb Garden: The 5 Basic Ingredients

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Indoor Herb Garden: The 5 Basic Ingredients

Staff Writer · Jan 19, 2010

An indoor herb garden is popular for health and culinary benefits. With well-chosen herbs you can grow the spices you need for your favorite dishes and have what you need to cure minor illness and bruises. Finding success with your garden takes having the right ingredients. Here are 5 basic “ingredients” needed to make your own indoor herb garden.

1. Sunlight

Herbs need sunlight to grow, some more than others. Even herbs that grow in semi-shady environments need some direct sunlight. When planning your indoor herb garden, take into account the amount of sunlight every room gets. Place your herb plants in rooms that get the most direct sunlight, often the south-facing window, if they need a lot of sunlight to grow. Some herbs will do fine in western facing windows, but it’s important to know what your herbs require.

2. Artificial Lights

If you live in a climate that gets very little sunlight, or if you want to maintain your indoor herb garden during the winter months, then you should invest in artificial lights. These can help give your herbs the light they need to grow well. If you’re worried about your electric bill, consider using LED grow lights. These don’t contain mercury like florescent light bulbs, making them safer to use indoors.

3. Good Soil

Don’t just pluck up any dirt and put it in your containers for your indoor herb garden. You want well-drained soil to grow herbs. When the soil is too rich it can kill the plants rather than help them grow. Check your local greenhouse to see whether they sell top soil in the spring or summer. This is a great way to find good soil much cheaper than bagged soil. If that’s not an option in your area, then a good potted soil mix from your garden center or nursery can work well.

4. Gravel

Once you’ve got good soil to use, you’ll want to prepare the bottom of your containers with gravel. Fill the pot to about one inch from the bottom with gravel or pebbles before putting soil in, to ensure proper drainage. Your herbs will grow well if you have proper drainage in place. Otherwise, you can end up over watering the herbs and they’ll die.

5. Pruning

Whether or not you prune is dependent on what you grow in your indoor herb garden. Some herbs require a little water and feeding and can be left alone. Others need more care and maintenance, such as pruning every once in a while. It’s important to learn as much as you can about your herbs, and make sure that if you’re growing something that needs pruning, that you schedule that task. Otherwise, those herbs won’t grow well and you would have wasted time and effort. Buy and keep small sized pruning shears just in cast you choose to add an herb down the road that requires pruning.

Many of these basic ingredients can also be applied to growing herbs outdoors. Starting with you indoor herb garden will help prepare you in case there’s a time when you have the opportunity and space to grow herbs outside.

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