Owning a regular outdoor garden is for people who are lucky enough to have sufficient land for planting flowers and vegetables. But, what about those residing in crowded city areas, but yearn to have fresh herbs in and around the house. For a gardening enthusiast, there is no concern, even if you do not have enough land for gardening. Irrespective of the season, you can maintain a healthy indoor herb garden, wherein you can grow medicinal as well as flavorful culinary herbs.
Starting an Indoor Herb Garden
Herbs are the easiest to grow indoors, as compared to flowers and vegetables. Unlike other plants, they are easy to maintain with moderate water, light and temperature. Beginning an indoor herb garden is not so difficult as it sounds; what you need is basic herb gardening skills, in terms of selecting correct size containers, plant seeds or plantlets and maintenance of herbs.
Planning the layout is a challenging step, as you need to consider several factors, such as the plant height, spread, sunlight exposure and drainage problems. Choose an area of the room that receives partial sunlight for maximum hours. For drainage problems, you can place drainage trays below the pots.
Buying Pots and Containers
The type of the pots depend upon the herbs that you plan to grow in the herb garden. For example, the size and shape of the garden spot should be such that it supports the herbs, even when they become mature. Likewise, for growing herbs in pots, the depth is determined according to the root system of the herbs. But, large and deep pots are best suited for all types of herbs.
Preparing Potting Mixture
For making the potting mixture, it is best to use organic compost and regular garden soil that are free of harmful fertilizers and pesticides. Or else, you can purchase ready-made potting soil from your local florist. Fill the containers with potting mixture till the neck, at least 3 inches below the rim. This will help you in easy watering and maintaining of the herbs.
Selecting Appropriate Herbs
This is the most tricky part of growing an indoor herb garden. Some of the herbs that grow best in indoor growing conditions are thyme, sage, basil, mint, rosemary, onion and garlic. As these herbs have different growing habits, you can arrange them accordingly, like thyme is a creeper, sage is tall and basil is bushy.
Buying Herb Seeds
While selecting the seeds or plantlets, always ensure that you opt for the disease and pest resistant varieties. This is because you are planting the herbs indoors, where the plants are exposed to inadequate growing conditions. In such a growing environment, the herbs are weak and vulnerable to pest and disease infestations.
Planting herbs in containers for an indoor garden is the same as that for regular vegetable gardens. Sow seeds sparingly and cover lightly with potting mixture. Water regularly or keep the soil moist, till the herbs germinate. If you are growing plantlets, make a hole, which size and depth matches the root ball. For novice gardeners, one should take advice regarding herb planting tips.
Maintaining Indoor Herbs
Nearly all herbs perform well in indirect sunlight and moderate watering. Nevertheless, you can place the potted herbs in patios and windowsills for better development of leaves. Do not forget to check for weed growth (if any), which seeds may be already present in the potting soil. Water lightly, whenever the top soil layer is dry.
Timely Harvesting of Herbs
After rigorous efforts on planting and maintaining indoor herbs, a time will come soon when the herbs mature and require harvesting. For culinary herbs like garlic and onion, an easy way is to harvest leaves that turn yellowish in the tips. You can gently pluck the mature leaves from the lower portion, without uprooting the herb.
In case, you find the idea tough or challenging, you can always buy an indoor herb garden kit. As per your choice regarding the herb varieties, either culinary or medicinal, you can find myriad types of kits in the nursery and plant store.