How To Grow Herbs Indoors
Have you ever wanted a fresh sprig of rosemary or thyme for a specific recipe and had to settle with stale, store-bought dried herbs? Well, now you can bring the freshness of an outdoor herb garden indoors with a few easy tips.
Whether you start them from seed or purchase plants you will be rewarded for your efforts. Try to keep them where all the cooking action is so you can pick a sprig whenever you need it.
Ready? Let’s get started:
- Choose robust plants, a container, and good potting soil for each plant. That way, each plant has plenty of room and they don’t have to compete for space with a too-close neighbor (even though they don’t usually grow to full size indoors.)
- Place in a southern window for optimal light but do not allow the plants to touch the window. The light should be enough for your hand to create a well-defined shadow when you place it between the plants and your window. If you don’t have a bright window you can substitute grow lights, but for the lights to be effective, the plants must be close to the lights, perhaps 6 inches away, and the lights should be on for about 18 hours a day.
- Water plants as soil becomes dry to the touch, and make sure they have proper drainage. Do not leave standing water in the saucer, as the plants will rot very easily in soggy soil.
- Turn the pots frequently to keep them growing evenly on all sides.
- Since you are harvesting, you will need to fertilize them to keep them putting out new growth. We recommend either of two Espoma products, used every two to four weeks at the label rates: Espoma Organic Grow!, or Espoma Organic Fish!
- Wait for plants to reach 6-8 inches in height before harvesting. Take only about a quarter of the plant or less each time.
Remember: If you use a lot of oregano, basil, or parsley, you may want to plant more than one plant to maintain a continuous supply. That way you can harvest from one plant while the others fill out from the previous harvests.
Important Tip: When using fresh herbs, you will need more than you would if you used dried ones. The ratio is usually 3-1 but it is probably best to do a taste test as you go.
Best Herbs for Growing Indoors:
You will find the best selection at local independent Garden centers in March. Stop in and pick out a few pots for your windowsill. Enjoy the flavor of fresh early in the season, and in May you can plant them outside to increase your bounty!
Herb Teas: You can brew herbal tea from fresh herbs by boiling water and then pouring it into a cup containing pre-washed culinary herbs or just add fresh culinary herbs to black/green teas to flavor them.