Create an Indoor Herb Garden
Creating an indoor herb garden will
- ensure a supply of fresh herbs all year round
- create a pleasing visual and fragrant aspect to a room
- save you money when compared to buying herbs in shops
There are also other advantages such as the virtual absence of garden pests such as slugs to worry about and the reduced need for consistent, careful monitoring due to a more stable growing environment.
Which room should you grow your herbs in?
The kitchen is a popular choice because it is convenient for when cooking. However the main deciding factor on the location of your indoor herb garden should be the light levels received by the room. Herbs like light and require a good deal of light for growth and so a south or west facing windowsill that receives at least 5 hours of sunlight a day should be chosen. If the room recieves direct light further into the room from the windowsill for the desired length of time then the garden can be situated further into the room.
If you do not have any windows that receive adequate amounts of light then you can grow herbs under grow lights. This obviously comes with the cost of setting up the lighting system and providing electricity to power the lights.
If located in the kitchen then make sure the herb garden isn't situated to near to your cooker as the resulting high temperatures can damage the plants and dry the soil out.
Most herbs have similar growing requirements which can be summarised as good light levels and a well drained fertiles soil.
Which herbs should you grow in your indoor garden?
Herbs can be used for their culinary, healing or fragrant qualities and the choice of herbs you grow will be down to personal preference. Popular choices are Basil, Parsely, chives, rosemary, Dill, Mint and Thyme. Colour may also be a consideration you take into account if you are interested in the aesthetic aspect, try purple leaved Basil instead of the more common green leafed varieties. Your indoor herb garden can consist of a number of small pots with one herb in each pot or it may be one large container with multiple plants in. Keeping plants in seperate pots can help to prevent problems of one herb out competing another herb and so prevent 'spreading' out across the garden. Mint should definitely be potted seperately as it will spread at a rapid rate.
When selecting herb seeds try to look for varieties that are more suited to indoor gardening due to their compact growth nature. The smaller the plants are, the more you will be able to grow. You can also limit the plants size by reducing the size of the pots that they grow in. Pots with about a 15cm diameter are well suited to indoor herb gardening, choosing pots much smaller than this will mean that you will be harvesting the plant before it has reached a stage in its development where it is capable of coping with the shock and producing new growth resulting in weak and unproductive plants. Your pots should also have adequate drainage holes and these should be covered with a broken pot piece to ensure good drainage.
If growing from seed then you can start your seedlings of in a seed tray and then transfer into your pots or you can sow a number of seeds directly in a pot and then remove (thin) all but the strongest seedling after a few weeks growth.
If transferring potted herbs bought from a garden centre or a supermarket then fill the pot with soil. Place the plastic pot (with plant in) into your 'final' pot and fill the final pot with compost up to the rim of the plastic pot. Remove the plastic pot, remove the plant along with all the soil in the plastic pot and then place in the hole left in the 'final' pot. The plant should now sit snugly in the final pot with its roots well protected by additional compost. If you have an outdoor herb garden you can transfer plants indoors over the cold seasons to extend their life.
Make sure to water your herb garden regularly. Pots can be placed on some kind of drip tray to prevent messy windowsills or damage to other household surfaces.
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