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Growing your own fresh herb garden indoors is so easy and rewarding you will wonder why you never did it before! With little effort and lots of love, you can enjoy the benefits of fresh herbs all year long. Here are some tips on how to get started!
Growing Your Fresh Herbs Indoors
Starting From Scratch:
- One thing to always keep in mind whenever you are planting anything is to make sure that the containers you are planting in are clean and dry. Always wash out the planting containers with hot soapy water before planting, as this will ensure that any unseen aphids (horrible little things that can kill your plant in as little as 24 hours) are dead and gone. Once your containers are clean and dry, then you can begin with the fun part.
- Seed herb plants in small pots, or in a tray, until they are large enough to transfer into a large pot. The roots have to be firmly established in order to transfer them successfully, so make sure the plant is of a good size before transferring.
- To seed, fill small pot or tray 3/4 with a good rich potting soil. You can also mix in some natural compost with the potting soil at this point. Plant the seeds according to the package, usually 1/4 - 1/2" down into the dirt. Make sure you do not accidentally push the seeds down too far, or sunlight will not be able to warm them and make them grow! Keep the soil moist, but not soaked, and place in a warm sunny window to germinate. Germination times vary according to species, but you can usually look for little green sprouts after 3-4 weeks.
- Once plants are established enough to transplant, carefully pull out each plant by the roots, being very careful to keep the root system intact. Move into a pot large enough to accomodate the root system when fully developed. I usually pick a pot with at least 3 inches from the bottom inside of the pot to the ends of the new roots. Fill pot 1/2 -3/4 full of potting soil and make a wide hole in the dirt large enough to fit the plant. Place the plant in the hole and gently press the dirt around the roots and base of plant to secure the plant. If needed, add more soil to the pot. Then place on a sunny windowsill free from cold drafts and water regularly. Soon you will have wonderful herbs to begin harvesting.
- Another alternative to windowsill planting, is using a terrarium for your herbs. If you don't want to spend the money on a terrarium, which can get expensive for a decent sized one, try an old fish tank. They work just as well, and are sometimes larger than a standard terrarium. When using a terrarium, make sure to lay a layer of stones or gravel on the bottom to aid with drainage before putting in the potting soil. For soil, be sure to use terrarium potting soil, available in any home and garden store. Terrarium potting soil has added nutrients and sand to thin it out and prevent plants from overgrowing their environment. Also, never plant the terrarium in direct sunlight! The light in the terrarium is adequate for the plants. Too much light can cause too much moisture and cause rotting or bugs!
- Terra cota pots seem to work the best for herbs, but any pot or container will do as long as you have a drainage hole in the bottom. If you are using a container with no drainage hole, try layering the inside bottom with pebbles or stones about an inch deep. Then plant as normal. The stones will act as a drainage barrier to release excess water. The plant will absorb the excess water as needed.
- Get creative when choosing your pots and containers. Half the fun of growing your herbs inside is using a variety of rustic and fun looking pots that will complement the beautiful plants and serve as a fresh decor!
- Your herbs will grow all year long as long as they are trimmed periodically and kept out of drafts in the winter time. However, at that point, the normal expected lifetime of a plant is 1-3 years, depending on variety.
- If you have pets, always check to see if any of the herbs are poisonous to them, and if so, keep them out of reach!
- If you have cats, you may want to consider keeping your dill out of reach. While it is not poisonous, they love it and will likely eat your entire harvest! Dill is actually a natural way for cats to ease upset tummies, so you may want to plant a separate dill plant just for kitty!
- Always keep indoor herbs out of the cold drafts during the winter. They will not produce as much leaves or be as flavorful, and could die altogether!
- If possible, try to place in a window facing south, as this is always the brightest and warmest sun.
- Water your indoor plants regularly. They will require more water in pots than they normally would outdoors and in the ground.
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