Frequent moves and renting can make gardening feel like stretch for many military families. With a little creativity, grow kitchen herbs indoors to bring both delicious flavor and freshness inside your home.
Winter is a time of holiday meals, soups, stews and hearty fare. Just because the temperature has dropped outside doesn’t mean you need to go without (or pay through the nose for) a taste of freshness.
Start With What You Use
Choose herbs that you frequently cook with in their dried form. Lemongrass, chives, parsley, oregano, thyme, rosemary and basil are all easy to grow common cooking herbs. If you are new to indoor gardening, start with 1 or 2 and get the plants well established before adding more.
While the ease of a single container for multiple herbs is appealing, it can also significantly inhibit the growth and health of your plants. Small, individual terra cotta pots are attractive and easy to maintain. Keep in mind that pots should have drainage holes to prevent too wet soil as herbs are especially susceptible to root fungus. Small pebbles in the drainage pan can also increase air flow and reduce the chance of fungus.
Soil Quality = healthy plants
A high-quality organic potting soil that contains vermiculite or perlite to help with drainage will give your plants the best start possible. Soil from your yard is not a good choice as it contains organisms from the outdoor environment. Rosemary, thyme, and basil flourish in soil with more lime, so you can toss a spoonful of crushed eggshells to the soil. Keep the soil rich in nutrients by adding 1 tbsp of fish emulsion (available at any home improvement store) to a gallon of water and use each time you water.
Seeds or Plants
You can start from seeds or buy started plants. Starting from seeds will offer you a greater variety of herbs to choose from (there are some amazing exotic herbs out there) but will take longer. Started plants provide a jump ahead and can be easier for the beginning gardener. You can always split the difference and purchase a couple started plants backed up by some seed varieties!
Keep Them Happy
Watering is often a problem area for beginning gardeners. When watering, pour water at the base of the plant, where the stem meets the soil instead of wetting the leaves. Let the water drain completely through the soil before repeating. For frequency, let the soil dry between waterings – the exact time frame will depend on the temperature in your home, container drainage and the individual plant. Cooking herbs require much less water than your typical houseplant so over-watering is a common mistake. If the leaves start turning yellow, you are likely seeing the first sign of over-watering.
We hope these tips inspired you to start your own little kitchen her garden. Let us know in the comments section if you do!