by Debra Wyatt
(last updated December 19, 2016)
The best way to get the freshest herbs is to grow them yourself. The easiest way to start growing an herb garden is indoors on the kitchen windowsill. Growing an herb garden indoors is not a complicated or as hard to do as it sounds. Growing an herb garden doesn't take anymore time than growing any other houseplant.
There are some things that one should keep in mind when growing an indoor herb garden. Lighting, temperature, soil, water, fertilizing, and airflow are just a few things that should be considered when growing an indoor herb garden (or any houseplant, for that matter).
When planting herbs or other houseplants one needs to give thought to the lighting that is available. If planting an herb garden on the windowsill remember that a plant requires at least six hours of natural light. If there isn't enough natural light then plan on using artificial lights. It takes about fourteen to sixteen hours of artificial light to equal that of six hours of natural light. If the plants begin to get long stems and the leaves seem to fade or simply fall off then the herbs are not getting enough light. Increase the light by changing the location of the plant so that there is more natural light, or increase the hours of the artificial lights.
Try to keep indoor temperatures between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If the house gets too cold, under 60 degrees Fahrenheit, it can shock the plant, making it hard for the plant to thrive. If the plant gets too hot it will change the watering and maintenance and then extra care will be needed.
Proper airflow keeps bacteria and pests down. The air needs to keep moving around the herb garden. It sometimes seems that gardening inside increases the pest problems of gardening. Part of this is due to the lack of air movement in the house. To prevent this from happening it helps to watch the garden carefully. When you first see the pests on the plants remove as much as you can by hand picking them off. Then using a soapy spray, spray on the plants both on top of the leaves and underneath to control the pest problem.
The soil for an indoor herb garden needs to be light with good drainage. There are two options when it comes to using soil for your herbs. One is to buy the soil specifically for the herbs or, two, make your own mixture of soil. A good mixture for making your own soil would be mixing in three equal parts of soil, sand, and peat moss.
An indoor garden needs to be fertilized just as much as an outdoor garden. When it comes time to fertilize the herbs remember that they require a different schedule than what is normally used for gardening outdoors. With an indoor garden that is growing all year long you need to watch and maintain the garden according to the type of plant that it is.
Watering your herb garden requires careful attention, but doesn't require any more time than working on an outdoor garden. Different herbs do require different amounts of water. Some herbs need extra moisture while other herbs require a drier environment.
Herbs can be used for cooking, their aroma, and for the beautiful flowers they produce. When herbs are used for cooking the herbs can perk up flavor to bland vegetables, meats and stews. With your indoor herb garden, soon you will have some wonderful herbal additions with little fuss. Another great benefit is that soon you will have a healthy hobby that is cost efficient.
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