12 Dec Growing Herbs Indoors
Indoor Windowsill Herb Garden
Growing herbs in the garden is easy and fun – and many are perennials, which means that they will return year after year. But in many parts of the country, when the temperatures dip in the winter, you might be looking at months and months before your herb garden springs to life again. If you enjoy cooking with fresh herbs throughout the year, planting a windowsill garden and growing some fresh herbs indoors through the winter is easy and practical.
Best Light & Temperature Conditions for Herbs:
The most logical spot for your indoor herb garden is the kitchen windowsill, but really any sunny windowsill will work. Herbs do like sunlight, so the more they receive the better. Situating your herbs on a south or east facing windowsill is optimal, making sure they receive at least 6-8 hours of direct sun a day (or grow them under a grow light).
Most herbs are happiest in a range of 65-70F degrees, which is likely about where you keep the temperature in your house. Some extremely cold-sensitive herbs like basil might need to be kept a bit warmer or moved away from the window on cold evenings.
Many culinary herbs originated in the Mediterranean, so they thrive in dry, sandy conditions and one of the biggest mistakes gardeners make with herbs is over-watering them. The air in your home is likely drier in the winter, which the herbs will like, but be sure to check them often and water them when the soil dries out or the leaves start to wilt. Plant them in pots or jars with good drainage and a saucer underneath. Your herbs should never be sitting in water. Putting some small stones in the bottom of the pot will help with drainage. Most herbs don’t require fertilizer, but using a high-quality potting mix is a good idea.
When to Trim Herbs?
Herbs grown indoors will likely grow to be “leggier” and more spindly then those that grow outdoors, so be sure to snip or trim your herbs regularly (never more than 1/3 of the plant at a time though!) to keep them bushy.
You can grow most herbs from seed, or buy seedlings already planted in small pots perfect for the windowsill. Another option is to take cuttings from your herb garden before the first frost and root them in a glass of water, then replant in a pot once the cutting grows some nice roots. Then in the spring, you can plant them back outside in your herb garden.
Some good herbs to try growing indoors include:
About the Author:
Lisa Steele is an author, 5th generation chicken keeper and Master Gardener who tends to her flocks and gardens on a small farm in Maine. The founder of Fresh Eggs Daily shares natural chicken keeping and gardening tips as well as recipes using eggs fresh from her coop and produce fresh from the garden on her website.