You can bring your garden indoors and grow a functional herb garden right in your kitchen. During the summer months, you can plant herbs in an outdoor garden, but the main benefit of an indoor garden is the ability to grow fresh herbs year-round. Indoor plants are also safe from insects and plant-eating animals. Using fresh herbs in homemade dishes can introduce a new level of flavor and benefits to your cooking.
What to Grow In Your Indoor Herb Garden
If you don’t have any particular herbs in mind for your indoor herb garden, you may want to opt for the most popular cooking herbs. Basil works well in a multitude of recipes, so it is an essential for any indoor herb garden. Chives are also a versatile herb, most commonly used to flavor soups and potatoes. Parsley is essential to every herb garden, as the plant is both a flavorful addition to many dishes, and an eye-pleasing garnish.
Grow dill and cilantro to keep two boldly-flavored herbs on hand for various dishes. Dill is mainly used for dips and pickles. It loses flavor rapidly when dried, so growing fresh dill is essential for fans of the herb. Cilantro is an herb derived from the leaves of coriander plants. Used in salsas and pickles globally, this herb carries a potent odor and flavor.
To add variety to your indoor garden, you can also consider growing catnip and aloe vera. Most commonly used as a recreational drug for cats, catnip inspires some entertaining reactions in cats. Once dried, sprinkle catnip on a cardboard scratching post or sew into a cat toy. Once they consume the catnip, many cats will drool, roll on the ground and sometimes even fall asleep. Humans can consume catnip in tea, tea infusions, and tinctures.
While not typical of most indoor herb gardens, aloe vera is a functional and attractive addition to any indoor garden. Instead of using aloe for cooking, however, use it for its medicinal properties. Applying the milk of an aloe plant to the skin is a common natural treatment for burns. The substance is also a fantastic natural moisturizer.
What You Need to Grow an Indoor Herb Garden
Take a trip to your local home and garden store to find all the essentials for an indoor herb garden. You will need starter trays, seeds, planting soil and a separate container for each type of herb. Make sure the containers are at least six inches deep.
Begin your seeds in starter trays. Fill each tray with potting soil and water the soil until thoroughly dampened. Poke a shallow hole in each starter cell, and place at least two seeds in each hole and cover with soil. Once you have all of your seeds sewn into starter trays, leave them to germinate for one to two weeks, making sure to maintain the water level.
When your seeds have sprouted, it’s time to move them to their permanent homes. You can use any type of container – large trays or individual pots. Plant each type of herb in separate containers, as different herbs have different needs.
Herbs like ginger and parsley prefer shady locations, so keep them out of direct sunlight. However, most herbs prefer direct sunlight, so positioning them in a sunny area is vital to the success of your indoor herb garden. Refer to the plant packaging for explicit details for each individual herb.
Growing an indoor herb garden is relatively simple, and yields tasty and practical results. With minimal effort, you can grow herbs indoors year-round, and add a new level of flavor to your cooking at a very lean cost.
By Megan Thacker