How to Grow an Indoor Herb Garden

March 29, 2011 by  
Filed under Gardening

Herbs: basil, scallion

Image via Wikipedia

An indoor herb garden provides fresh herbs throughout the winter months. I can be grown quite easily on a sunny window sill. There are several key areas to control in order to get the best results. First of all, and most important, is adequate sunlight. This will require a southern exposure which will provide at least eight hours of sun a day. A warning sign that your garden is not receiving enough light is plants growing long stems and leaves (usually referred to as “leggy”), fading leaves or leaves which suddenly begin to fall off.

This is the time to supplement the growth of your garden with grow lights. Differing from regular lights, they shine with the full spectrum of light that plants need. Complete setups, including posts and overhead lighting can be purchased or you can buy the grow lights separately and follow directions as to placement. Another option is to purchase florescent shop lights and suspend them within four inches of the plants as they grow.

Other critical considerations for indoor gardens are temperature and moisture. Often in winter, the air is too dry. Plants need added moisture which can be provided by misting or placing the pots in a tray of pebbles with water added to the tray. As the tray water evaporates, it provides needed humidity and will surprise the gardener at how often the tray needs to be refilled.

Pests are another concern for the indoor gardener. Without winter cold to kill off eggs, large numbers of sucking insects can appear suddenly around your plants. If tiny insects can be seen crawling or flying about your herbs, prepare some lukewarm soapy water in the kitchen sink and, keeping your hand over the base of the plant, turn the pot over and swish it in the soapy water a few times. The soap will kill the insects without hurting the plant. You might instead prefer to spray the soapy water until it drips over the leaves. You must also spray the leaves’ undersides because this is where the eggs and hatchings usually occur.

Most herbs will grow very well indoors and do not require any more effort than your other houseplants. Areas other than the kitchen work and will do well if all the conditions outlined above are observed. You can put herbs with different uses in other windows and enjoy the scents all through your home.

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