We’re thrilled to feature a guest post by our friend, Katie Kuchta, on creating an herb garden right in your own kitchen. Katie came to appreciate nature’s beauty through her plein air painting and finds passion in designing gardens and outdoor living spaces. In her spare time, she enjoys practicing Tai Chi on a nearby beach and taking meditative walks through forests.
Photo via online
Transitioning into the fall weather has its ups and downs. Frequenting lawn care on the weekends to prepare for a lush yard in the springtime and the dwindling sadness of cleaning out your garden bed. Gardening doesn’t have to end there!
You can do one of two things or both– utilize your freshly cleaned out garden bed for quick growing vegetables or bring the gardening indoors. Lettuce is easy to grow and with some varieties can keep the cold where the winters are mild. If you prefer to bring the garden indoors instead of bearing the chill to exercise your green-thumb, try growing something similar and rewarding like fresh herbs.
Fresh herbs will add zest to the most ordinary of meals. Dried herbs are good enough, but there is no comparison to the vibrant scent and flavor of fresh herbs. Besides, when have you ever been satisfied with “good enough” in your culinary artistry?
There are no fresher herbs than those that you grow at home, let alone in your own kitchen. Not only is it easy to establish and maintain your indoor herb garden, but it’s also an extremely satisfying way of exercising your green thumb year-round. Here are some tips on bringing the outside in by creating an herb garden right in your kitchen!
Let there be light
Photo via online
Of course you want your herb garden in the kitchen where you can reach over and snip the fresh herbs as you cook, but if there is not enough light in the kitchen, an herb garden in any other room works just as well.
Herbs need as much natural light as possible—at least four to five hours of sun a day. Four seasons rooms and rooms with a skylight or larger windows work best. Windows with south or southwest sunlight exposure is ideal, but windows facing the east or west work fine as well.
None of those in your home? Purchase grow lights and position them so that they light the area over your herbs for four to six hours a day. No matter how your herbs receive light, remember to turn them regularly for even exposure and growth.
Keep the herbs comfy
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Indoor herbs prefer the same temperatures that most people do— around 65 to 70 degrees F. If you’re comfortable, they probably are too. At night, the temperature near a window may drop to 55 or 60, most herbs are okay with that, just don’t let foliage touch the cold glass. It will turn brown and the plant can die from thermal shock.
Herbs find it difficult to deal with dry air, whether it’s from air conditioning or heating. They’ll appreciate a weekly shower with lukewarm water. Put the pots in the sink, spray them gently but thoroughly and let them drip dry.
Pot and Plant
Photo credit: dogeared (CC BY-NC 2.0)
Now that you’ve found the right spot, select the pots. You may automatically head for clay pots, but they dry out quickly, a real problem in dry climates or when the heater is on in the winter. Stick with glazed or plastic pots. They are better for your herbs, in particular– the glazed pots are so beautifully made that they add another dimension to your home’s décor. Be sure that the pots have drainage holes.
Use a fast-draining potting mix with perlite or vermiculite rather than garden soil to keep the soil loose and aerated. You will need good drainage and protection for your window sill or table top. Place the potted plants on a saucer, liner, or drain pan to catch the drainage.
Photo credit: online
Herbs to start with
When taking care of herbs indoors, it’s best to start with established plants rather than seeds. You’ll have herbs months sooner.
- Basil: “Genovese” for classic aroma and flavor or “Siam Queen” for a more exotic spicy flavor.
- Chervil: Also known as French parsley, with delicate overtones of anise.
- Chives: “Grolau” has a delicate onion flavor and loves growing by a window.
- Cilantro: Also known as Chinese parsley, with a distinctive flavorful blend of parsley, sage, and citrus.
- Dill: Grows best indoors. “Fernleaf” dill is an ideal compact variety.
- Marjoram: This Mediterranean native is related to oregano, but the flavor is sweeter and more delicate.
- Mint: Peppermint, spearmint or “English” mint—all are good choices. Each needs its own pot. They can get aggressive with other herbs.
Once your herbs are planted, they aren’t particularly demanding. The most important thing to do is to snip or prune back your herbs, once a week on average. Keeping them pruned will make them sturdier and more productive.
Thanks for the tips, Katie! Now you can exercise your green-thumb in the cooler months and enjoy your own farm-to-table herbs year-round. How amazing is that? Do you have any tips when it comes to growing herbs indoors? Comment below!
P.S Check out more plant care tips and tricks HERE