I have always wanted my own indoor herb garden, but to be honest, I have a black thumb. True story. Any time that I have brought a plant into my apartment, it doesn’t stay long before it withers and dies. But, thanks to the following guest post from Francesca Singer and Lawn Starter, I might just try my hand once more at growing an indoor garden of my own. Check it out below.
How to Make Your Own Indoor Herb Garden
Who needs a spice cabinet when you can grow herbs and spices in your kitchen? Growing edible herbs makes it easier to grab a seasoning while you’re cooking. Here are some tips on how to make your own indoor herb garden.
Find a Sunny Spot
Most herbs do best in full sunlight. A place in front of the kitchen window (preferably facing south) is perfect for giving them six to eight hours of direct sun. Don’t have a windowsill? No problem. Just place a pole near the window and use hanging planters.
You may need to move the planters during a frost since most herbs thrive when the temperature is between 65 and 70 degrees.
Use Potting Soil
There’s a difference between potting soil and dirt. The right mix will contain vermiculite and fertilizer, giving your plants the moisture and nutrients they need. Dirt from your garden may hold onto too much water and outdoor pests — the last thing you want in your kitchen! Make sure your containers have small holes in the bottom (or put gravel in the bottom), so the soil can drain.
What to Plant
Your herbs will add flavor to all your dishes. Some also have medicinal qualities and can save you a trip to the drugstore.
Mint will add flavor to your tea, dessert, and even meat dishes. It’s also soothing and helpful with relieving indigestion and gas. Mint is easy to grow in the kitchen, and flourishes in moist soil and indirect sunlight. Pick the leaves and chop into your salad or marinade. Peppermint can also freshen your breath.
This fast-growing herb is great in tomato sauce, pesto, in salads or sprinkled over tomatoes. Pick a few leaves at a time, and tear them instead of chopping to get the most flavor.
What’s a baked potato without sour cream and a few chives? You can also chop these up to use in salads and sauces. You’ll get the taste of onions with a little greenery in your dishes.
Known for its mellowing properties, German chamomile is well-suited to growing in a pot, provided the container is at least twelve inches across. This soothing herb loves low-key lighting and will do best in a north or east-facing window. Harvest the flowers and use fresh or dried to brew up a calming tea.
This pungent herb is best known for its seeds, but grown fresh it has many many uses. You can serve it raw in salads, chutney, or pickles, cooked in rice, or made into a tea. It’s also an effective cure for bad breath, and its leaves pureed into a paste and applied to the scalp are a cure for dandruff.
Pungent and cooling, lemon balm is an antiviral herb that can also be crushed and applied to cold sores to heal them or rubbed on the skin to repel insects. It adds a lemony flavor to tea and can help with anxiety. It’s also a tasty addition to salads or can be used to brighten up fish and seafood dishes.
Also known as cilantro, this herb is a traditional spice in many regions. The leaves and seeds are also good for treating digestive disorders and stimulating one’s appetite. Pinching and removing the leaves encourages growth and guarantees some spice in your favorite dishes.
Tulsi ‘Holy Green Basil’
The most revered of all Indian herbs and often called “the elixir of life.” It’s used for both repelling insects and treating insect bites, regulating stress, and encouraging healthy gums and teeth. You can also eat it in salads or chew on it as a snack.
The same plant that most people have in the garden or potted indoors is a powerful healer. Aloe heals sunburns, rejuvenates the skin, and aids in digestion. The plant is easy to grow and to use. Remove a leaf and peel away the green skin and rinse thoroughly before ingesting, or slice open a leaf and generously apply to the skin.
You don’t need a green thumb or a lot of space to create your own indoor herb garden. But you may need a little patience. Some seedlings such as parsley and oregano can take more than a month to mature. Once they’re ready for the picking, you’ll be enjoying these herbs for years to come. Bon appetit!
Francesca Singer is a DIY enthusiast who designed an Ayurvedic herb garden for the American Botanical Council in Austin, Texas. When not writing or wrangling a toddler, she can be found wielding power tools or working in the garden.