Garden Minute: Growing Herbs Indoors

Buying fresh herbs in the grocery store can be expensive. Why not save some money, have them at your fingertips and ready to use by growing them indoors. They have a few key benefits to growing indoors vs. outdoors, and in addition they taste and smell wonderful, creating a cozy atmosphere in your home.

Growing fresh herbs indoors is a little different than growing them outdoors. I suggest you keep your herbs in or near a kitchen window if possible so you are able to harvest regularly, plus the closer to you they are the easier they will be to maintain. Too often herbs in an outdoor garden can suffer, especially with insect problems that may go unnoticed until it is too late. Another key benefit is to keep herbs in their own pot. Herbs can be opportunistic at times and can take over other herbs if they are sharing a pot.

Repot herbs into the next size up to allow for adequate root growth, using fresh organic potting soil. I recommend using terra cotta pots rather than plastic. Terra cotta is porous so it is breathable. It allows soil to dry out more thoroughly than plastic.

A few things to consider when growing herbs indoors is that many prefer to grow in a south facing window. But some can survive adequately in a north east facing window. Rosemary, basil, oregano, sage and lavender all prefer a southern exposure. If you don’t think you have enough light you can add a grow light kit to increase day length. Herbs like thyme, parsley, cilantro, chives and even mint can do well in medium to low light along with being some of the most forgiving to grow indoors.

All plants tend to slow down there growing in the winter time and herbs are no different, especially parsley. They do not grow as fast as they would during the growing season. I find that it is much easier to grow herbs using starter plants, instead of seeds. This way you are able to harvest a few sprigs right away, instead of waiting for seeds to germinate. Your success rate will be greater this way.

Allow herbs to dry between waterings. Overwatering can lead to fungal and insect problems, such as powdery mildew, whitefly and fungus gnats. Mist herbs 2-3 times per week or place pots on top of a saucer filled with moist crushed stones, this will help increase the humidity, which is beneficial for the plants.

Ideal temperatures for indoor herbs are between 65- 70 degrees during the daytime. Try to keep herbs away from dry heat vents and extreme cold.

Don’t forget to keep on clipping those herbs! This will encourage more growth, and after all that’s why you are growing your them indoors.