A Starter Guide to Growing Indoor Herbs

Growing herbs in your home is a great way to freshen up your cooking, as well as make convenient a variety of herbs that have different uses throughout the home. To start an indoor herb garden in your home, check out the following tips below!

Pick the Right Room for Growth

When people are putting an herb garden in their home, the most common room to start growing in is the kitchen. This makes sense, as there you are usually using herbs most in your kitchen, so putting your herb garden there makes it convenient for cooking. Still, this doesn’t always work best for everyone. Is there a different room in your home that happens to see a lot more light than your kitchen? If so, then, by all means, feel free to take your herbs out of the kitchen! 

While of course, it’s convenient to have fresh herbs within just an arm’s reach in your kitchen, sometimes you simply can’t have that luxury—kitchen windows get blocked by brick walls, windows are northward-facing, kitchens are virtually windowless, etc. Find a place in your home where light streams in without limits, and set up your little herb garden there. Five to six hours of sunlight is ideal for most herbs.

Pick Your Favorite Herbs

Now is the fun part: choosing which herbs you are going to have in your kitchen at all times. Think about what some of your favorite herbs to cook with are and what would be convenient to have on hand on a daily basis. You will, however, have to keep in mind what your kitchen may or may not allow you to grow. Here are some popular herbs to consider including in your herb garden.

  • Basil. This herb prefers full sun or morning sun and afternoon shade in hotter climates.
  • Cilantro. This herb prefers full sun or light shade.
  • Mint. This herb prefers ample sun and part shade.
  • Oregano. This herb prefers full sun or morning sun and afternoon shade in hotter climates.
  • Parsley. This herb prefers ample sun and part shade.
  • Rosemary. This herb prefers full sun.
  • Sage. This herb prefers ample sun and part shade.
  • Thyme. This herb prefers ample sun and part shade.

Be sure when selecting your herbs to get hardy varieties and heirloom varieties if possible.

Purchase or Build a Growing Setup

There are multiple ways to organize your herb garden. Some simply place multiple plant pots along the windowsill. If you do this, be sure to use pots with saucers that have good drainage. Others install a tension rod within the window from and hang pots for their herbs from the rod. So if you are using sealed pots, be sure to place rocks at the base of each pot and add some vermiculite to the soil to help with drainage.

If you really want to take your indoor herb garden to the next level, then using hydroponic cultivation is an excellent option that enables you to grow more herbs at a faster rate, while reducing the need for potentially messy soil. Hydroponic cultivation systems are generally utilized by large commercial growers to maximize the yields of their plants, but you can purchase smaller setups for home growers as well!

NOTE: If you do use hydroponic cultivation, then the process of watering and fertilizing is notably different, which is detailed in the article linked above.

Water and Fertilize Routinely

You don’t want to go over-the-top with watering your plants, but you will need to stick to a rigid schedule for watering your herbs—and it will likely be a difficult habit to acquire at first. Determine how much water each of your herbs will need, create a calendar, and stick to it. Keep in mind that your herbs will grow more slowly when sunlight levels are typically lower, and therefore they will require less water.

As for fertilizing, once your herbs are actively growing, you’ll want to fertilize the soil about once every four weeks with a liquid fertilizer, or once every other month with fertilizer granules.

Understand Proper Harvesting Techniques

Don’t be over-anxious in terms of harvesting your herbs—you’ll want to wait for your plants to mature fully before you harvest them for the first time. In addition, be sure not to harvest more than one-third of your plant at a time, and to let that third grow back before harvesting again. Beyond these simple guidelines, you’ll need to determine the precise pruning needs for each of your herbs.

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