How many times have you started cooking your favorite pasta recipe only to realize you don’t have any fresh herbs to season the sauce? Worse still, you might find a bunch of wilted basil and parsley that you’d bought weeks ago from the supermarket.
If you’re like most people, chances are it’s happened to you more often than you can count.
Fresh herbs go a long way to enhance the taste, flavor, and visual appeal of any dish. But they’re a pain to store in the refrigerator. They lose their color and aroma pretty quickly.
So, if buying herbs from the market isn’t practical, how do you enjoy the goodness of these greens every homecooked meal? An easy alternative is to build your own herb garden.
Benefits of an Indoor Herb Garden
Of course, your first choice would be to create a herb garden on the rooftop or backyard of your home. But it’s important to keep in mind that most herbs survive in a controlled environment.
Planting herbs outdoors subjects them to uncontrolled fluctuations of temperature and humidity. Most of them fail to make it through the freezing cold winter months.
So, how do you ensure a steady supply of herbs throughout the year? The key is to start an indoor herb garden. With the right container gardening tools and accessories, you’d never run out of fresh herbs in your kitchen. The best part is that it adds a splash of green to your living space as well.
In the following sections, we’ll outline a few tips to help you get started with an indoor herb garden. Let’s jump right in.
1. Find the Right Location
Do you want to know the secret to building a bountiful herb garden? You simply have to find an indoor location with minimal fluctuations in temperature, daylight, wind, and humidity.
Consider the following factors before finalizing the location of your herb garden:
- Sunlight – Does the area receive ample sunlight throughout the day?
- Ventilation – Is there adequate room for cross-ventilation?
- Accessibility – How easily can you reach your herbs and maintain the plants?
Make sure you know the answers to these questions before finalizing the location of your herb garden.
From your bedroom window or balcony to the kitchen countertop – you can grow herbs in almost any well-lit corner of your home. If you’re setting up your herb garden on the balcony, keep in mind that you’ll have to move the containers inside during winter.
2. Grow Herbs That You’re Going to Use
When it comes to choosing herbs for your garden, you’re going to be spoilt for choice. Between the wide variety of basil, fennel, sage, and other herbs, it’s easy to lose sight of things.
But the last thing you want to do is to invest your time and energy to grow herbs that you don’t like. While you might feel tempted to start growing exotic herbs in your garden, make sure you assess whether you’re going to use them in your cooking.
Otherwise, it’ll defy the purpose of creating a herb garden in the first place.
If you’re still confused about what herbs to grow in your garden, start with commonly used varieties, such as thyme, rosemary, oregano, cilantro, chives, etc.
3. Avoid Overcrowding
Most DIY herb garden tutorials will have you believe that you can grow multiple herbs in one container. While it might seem like a great way to get the most bang for your buck, it doesn’t work for all plants.
Certain herbs, such as mint, are fast growers. They need adequate space to reproduce and grow. Combining them with other herbs would strip your mint plants of nutrients and water.
So, as a ground-rule, don’t crowd your containers with too many seedlings. If you want to grow more than one herb in a pot, make sure the container provides a large surface area.
4. Choose the Right Containers
The containers you use in your herb garden must allow proper drainage. Otherwise, water could start accumulating near the roots of your plants, causing them to rot. Also, it could become the breeding ground for pests and fungi.
If you’re buying pots online or from a local nursery, make sure you get the ones with drainage holes. Or you could create your own herb containers at home from discarded soup cans and mason jars.
Container gardening practices are ideal for ensuring a year-round supply of herbs in your household. With your own herb garden, you never have to worry about running out of basil while making your signature pizza sauce.
Make sure you understand the nutrient and watering requirements of each herb. Also, grow herbs that you intend to use. Lastly, choose a corner of your living space that’s well-lit, airy, and easily accessible.