Growing herbs indoors is simple and fun. This easy-to-follow guide will teach you how to create your own indoor herb garden, how to care for your herbs, and the best herbs to grow. Plus the easiest and best way to grow herbs indoors.
”Gardening is the purest of human pleasures” -Francis Bacon
Herbs and spices are two of the most important things in the world of cooking. they are even more important than butter, which coming from me is saying a lot. If you’ve picked up a cookbook recently, chances are you’ve seen a page or two dedicated to talking about them, especially about herbs. To be specific about fresh herbs. Fresh herbs are a chef’s secret weapon, they are what turns any recipe from good to great. They make makes people taste your food and say ‘wow’. They are and always will be the most essential ingredient of every recipe. And the difference between fresh herbs and dried ones is like the difference between night and day.
I’m pretty sure we all have a good idea of why herbs are so important in cooking, the trouble is that fresh herbs aren’t always easy to come by. And depending on where you live and what time of year it is, getting fresh herbs can be downright impossible. Not to mention they cost an arm and a leg.
Since I live in the midwest, and in a state that is prone to long harsh winters. And in an area where shops are few and fresh herbs are fewer. I got to thinking, wondering how I could get fresh herbs year around. How I would ensure that I would always have fresh herbs on demand no matter what. And after a bit of thinking the answer seemed simple, grow them.
I soon learned that I was not alone in this endeavor and that chefs and home cooks all around the world, were growing their own herbs at home. And not just in their gardens during the summer months. But they were always growing herbs indoors, creating their own indoor herb gardening and ensuring that they would always have fresh herbs on hand. Even during the winter months.
So I set out to do the same, to learn how to grow my own ”indoor herbs” and master the art of growing indoor plants.
Where To Start?
Indoor gardening is exactly super easy to do, especially when it comes to growing herbs. There are just a few basic things you’ll need to know and a few basic items you’ll need to get started.
Step one is to get some herbs. You should easily be able to find seeds or young plants at your local nursery, greenhouse, or garden centers. (I get mine at a local Amich greenhouse) Whichever route you choose to take, and whether you plan of growing from seed or transplanting young plants. I would highly recommend getting organic herbs. As they are not only better for you, but they are also more flavorful, will grow better, and even seem to last longer than GMO ones.
You can grow any of your favorite herbs at home, but some of the easiest herbs to grow and the hardest ones to kill would be bail, cilantro, and rosemary.
Step two is to find some pots or containers to grow your herbs in. I use terra cotta pots or clay pots as they are readily available where I live and I am usually quite cheap. But there are a variety of different things you can use for container gardening, including, milk jugs, old Tupperware, and many many more. A good rule of thumb for choosing a container is that you want something with good drainage(most pots have drainage holes already.), and that is small enough to fit in your kitchen.
Step three is to get some dirt. There are many different options you can use, potting mix, compost, seed starter soil, or even dirt you dug up from the backyard. Most plants aren’t very picky and herbs will grow in almost anything. Just try to find an option that doesn’t have too much fertilizer.
Once you have your herbs or seeds of choice, some dirt, and some pots/containers you are all ready to begin!
How To Grow Herbs From Seed
- fill your pot/container with dirt, leaving about a 1-inch space between the dirt and the top of the pot.
- poke a few homes in the dirt, using a stick of straw.
- drop your seeds into the holes, and gently cover them with more dirt. -remember to always plant a few extra seeds, since it is very likely not all of them will sprout.
- Gently water the seeds, I recommend using a spray bottle, if you use too much water you may drown your seeds. You should have moist soil after watering, not soggy soil.
- Set your pots on a sunny windowsill and water as needed. In a week or two you should have sprouts!
How To Transplant Herbs.
If you are using herbs from a greenhouse or nursery, they should be transplanted as soon as possible. The pots they are started in are usually quite small, and herbs form quite fast and will need more space as soon as possible.
- Add some dirt to the bottom of your pot. For smaller pots add 1-2 inches of dirt to the bottom of the pot, for larger pots, you’ll need to fill about halfway with dirt.
- Carefully remove the plant from the pot it is currently in and gently break up the dirt around its roots.
- Set it in the prepared pot. Using one hand hold the herb up in the center of the pot, with your other hand scoop in more dirt until the pot is full and the plant can stand on its own.
- Gently pat down the dirt around the plant and add more dirt if needed. Water your herbs and set them in a nice sunny spot to grow.
Most plants take 1-2 weeks to sprout. But I recommend referring to the back of your seed packet, to find out exactly how long your herbs will take to sprout.
Most potted herbs will last about four-six months. Or until they go to seed.
The easiest way to cut herbs is to carefully cut the base of a stem with scissors or a sharp knife.
This will depend on the size of the pot you started with. If you started your seeds in a large container then no, your herbs will not need to be transplanted. However, if you started your seeds in a small pot or container then they will likely need to be moved to a larger pot the bigger they get, just like any other new plants you buy.
Yes! You totally can, and it’s super easy to do. Some people use a Dehydrator to dry fresh herbs. Personally, I like to just my herbs on long stems and tie them in bunches. Then hang them upside down until they are dry. Both of these options are good choices and make creating your own dried herbs to use super easy.
You can differently use a grow light for your herbs, but just like most plants herbs prefer natural light. However, if you are growing in a small space, in the basement of your house, or you just don’t have a good windowsill to put your plants on. Then using a grow light would probably be the best choice.
The best way to grow herbs is to grow them in full sun. Which means about 6-8 hours of direct sunlight every day. This is why I recommend keeping your herbs by a nice sunny south-facing window. To make sure they get plenty of light and you don’t have to worry about moving them around. Just be sure to keep eye on them and keep them well watered. Too much heat or bright light may cause your plants to wilt, so be sure to water daily, especially in the summer months.
What can I do with fresh herbs?
Fresh herbs can be used for a variety of different things. You can add them to any of your favorite recipes, even the ones that call for dried herbs!
They are great for roasting meats, adding to marinades, salad dressings, pasta sauce, homemade pizza sauce, and more. You can dry them, and use them to infuse vinegar and oils. Or even use them as decorations, in table settings or bouquets.
Their fresh flavor and fragrant smell make them a great addition to nearly everything!
Growing your own herbs at home and creating your own windowsill herb garden are two easy and simple ways to improve your cooking and to start sourcing more of your food locally.
Whether starting from seed or transplants, growing your own herbs couldn’t be easier and is a great way to ensure you’ll have fresh herbs all year round!
I hope you’ll give growing your own herbs a try, and that you’ll pass this great cooking tip on to others!