I know it may seem a little premature to be talking about winter but now is just the right time to start growing herbs indoors so you have fresh ingredients for soups and stews this winter. If you have just a minimal amount of space there are a bevy of herbs available to you but if you’ve never done it before here are some tips to help improve your chances for success:
- It is best to get new plants rather than to try to bring what you’ve been growing outside into your home. Such a transition can be traumatic to your herbs and the fact that winter is a time when growth slows down will only make such a move even more difficult for the plant to overcome. Many herbs are available right now so why not start fresh?
- Don’t put all of your herbs in the same container! Each herb may have its own needs which conflict with another herb that you are trying to grow in the same pot. For example, Mint and Parsley prefer moist soil which Rosemary, Thyme, and Sage do not. Putting them all together is a recipe for disaster since they don’t have the same watering needs! Each herb should have its own container with a drainage hole in the bottom. You should choose pots that fit your personal style but they should be at least 6 inches in diameter to leave ample room for the herbs to grow.
- Use high quality organic potting soil. Don’t use soil from outdoors as that’s a good way to bring unwanted pests into your home!
- Water the soil in your containers, not the leaves! Watering the leaves can promote fungus. The biggest mistake that gardeners and cooks make is to overwater their herbs. Remember, growth is slowing down at this time of the year and many herbs don’t like too much water anyway. If the leaves start turning yellow you are probably watering too much.
- Don’t forget to feed your herbs once a month or so. This, along with the cutting of the herbs for your meals, encourages more growth. Any good all-natural organic fertilizer should do the trick.
- Lighting requirements are always a challenge moving into the winter. Some herbs require more light than others. It is recommended that your herbs receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day and if you can’t get that in a sunny windowsill you may have to provide some supplemental lighting in the form of fluorescent grow lights.
Here are some suggestions on herbs you may want to try to grow:
- Chives-One of the easiest herbs to grow indoors. They don’t need as much light either!
- Mint-A very hearty herb that also doesn’t require as much light. This herb can even be started from seeds.
- Parsley-Like Chives and Mint it doesn’t require a lot of light but it is a slow grower. Be sure not to harvest too many leaves at any one time.
- Oregano-If you have a location where you can give this plant 6 to 8 hours of sunlight than you can give this one a try. The Greek varieties are sometimes easier to grow indoors.
- Thyme-Like Oregano this requires a lot of light. If you can’t provide a Southern window or supplemental light such as a grow light you may want to skip this herb and try something else.
- Rosemary-This herb does not like a lot of water and the soil doesn’t have to be all that rich either. It will also need 6 to 8 hours of sunlight a day in order to thrive indoors.
- Basil-This may actually be one of the toughest herbs to grow indoors! It requires up to 10 hours of sunlight a day and temperatures need to be consistently in the 70’s both day and night for it to grow properly.
If you have any questions about growing herbs indoors please feel free to contact us!