Growing an Indoor Herb Garden
The snow is falling. The sky is grey. And even though Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow this year, spring feels like it’s a million miles away. A great way to feel like we’re getting closer to warm weather is to think about gardening. Your hands in the warm soil, fresh veggies and herbs, and the sun shining overhead…sounds lovely, right? We’re almost there. In the meantime, feel closer to spring by getting a head start on your herb garden. Starting an indoor herb garden in winter is easy and brings a little spice back to your life (pun intended).
If you’re just getting into the herb growing business, mint is a great place to start. It’s resilient, likes a comfortable temperature range, and will make your house smell great. The easiest way to start growing mint is to get what’s called a cutting from an existing plant. This is where you take a section of stem from an existing plant and replant it. Mint is aggressive. If you plant it outside and leave it untended, it has the tendency to spread, taking over large areas. Once you have your cutting, place it in a glass of water for around 7-10 days, or until you see roots start to grow. Once you have roots you know it’s time to move it to some soil. Mint likes a wide mouth container, rather than a deep one, so it has room to breathe. Once your mint is thriving be sure to keep the soil moist. Planting your mint in a plastic container, rather than a porous clay, will help with this. Before you know it, you’ll have more mint than you know what to do with.
Basil is great in pasta dishes, pizza, caprese salad, pesto, honestly this list can go on and on. With everything you’re able to add basil to, it’s a great addition to your indoor herb garden. To plant your Basil place moist potting mix in your pots, sprinkle a few basil seeds onto the surface, and cover with a thin layer of soil. Water, or use a spray bottle to keep the soil moist, but not saturated. Just like the rest of us, basil likes a warmer climate. During these winter months placing the basil in a window that sees lots of sun does the trick. Make sure there’s a good distance between the plant and the window if it’s leaky, or drafty. Cold temperatures, like a leaky window or a leaf touching a cold pane of glass, is a sure-fire way to kill a basil plant.
Chives are the perfect way to add a bit of color and boost of flavor to almost any dish. Garlic and chive mashed potatoes, cheddar and chive scones, thrown in soup, salads, pasta and potato dishes…is anyone else getting hungry? No matter how you use your chives, they’re a great addition to your indoor herb garden. The fastest way to grow chives is if you can get your hands on some already grown bulbs. Simply transfer the bulbs to a pot with some moist soil, keeping the soil moist and the plant in the window, and wait a few weeks. Once the plant is accustomed to its new home, you can start snipping for your snacks. If you’re starting your chives from seeds, you’ll need to plant them about 1/4” deep, in well-draining soil. It will take about 2 weeks for the seeds to germinate (aka: grow so you actually see some chives).
Growing an indoor herb garden won’t make warm weather get here faster. But it will make you feel better along the way!