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Have you ever thought about growing herbs in containers? There’s no better day to begin than today!
If there’s one kitchen ingredient that is really best fresh, it’s herbs.
But that doesn’t mean that you need to go out to the supermarket every other day, or that staying at home like a responsible citizen (during wfh due to environmental conditions time as I write this) means no more yummy Mediterranean dinners.
You can have a complete herb garden on your kitchen windowsill, no hard labor required! I teamed up with some herb-growing experts to find out everything you need to know about growing herbs in containers for the first time.
Which herbs should you grow? Learn about popular herbs that thrive inside.
Where to Grow Your Herb Garden
All you need is a sunny windowsill—and, if it gets any sun at all, the windowsill in your kitchen is ideal. You’ll see your plants whenever you walk in to grab a snack or cook something yummy. But your windowsill doesn’t have to be extra-large, and if you don’t have one, you can still make it work.
Shelby DeVore, founder of Farminence, animal expert and avid gardener, put it this way:
“Herb plants don’t take up much space, which makes them a perfect candidate for container and indoor growing.
A small 4-inch container can grow a large parsley, basil, or chive plant.
You can grow herbs in multiple containers, or you can plant several herbs into a window box to create a small culinary herb garden.
A sunny window is ideal, but not required for indoor herb growing. If you don’t have a sunny window, you can grow herbs right on your kitchen counter.
The light in your kitchen may be enough to grow parsley, basil, chives, cilantro, or lemongrass.”
Never lack flavor with basic tips to grow herbs at home for cooking.
How Much Sun do Indoor Herbs Need?
When nailing down the perfect place for your container garden you’ll want to pay attention to the amount of sun that sill or counter gets.
This is more of an issue in the winter months.
In the words of Susan Brandt of Blooming Secrets:
“Lighting requirements are always a challenge moving into the winter.
Some herbs require more light than others. It is recommended that your herbs receive at least 6 hours of sunlight per day and if you can’t get that in a sunny windowsill you may have to provide some supplemental lighting in the form of fluorescent grow lights.
Fluorescent grow lights are inexpensive and do give you the potential to keep growing herbs in containers even if you live in a basement apartment.”
How Often do Indoor Herbs Need to be Watered?
Water regularly, but don’t overdo it!
Here’s another piece of wisdom from Susan Brandt.
“Water the soil in your containers, not the leaves! Watering the leaves can promote fungus. The biggest mistake that gardeners and cooks make is to overwater their herbs. If the leaves start turning yellow you are probably watering too much.”
Erika Nolan, a licensed landscape horticulturist and founder of Instar, adds this useful hint:
“Drainage is essential for these herbs to not dwindle from root rot.
Most other herbs can be grown in a container without holes, but do use gravel at the base of the planter to maximize drainage. In general, go for pots with holes.”
A Windowsill Garden for the Non-Gardener
You don’t need any special skills to start growing herbs in containers, and you might even be able to begin with what’s already in your fridge!
As Samantha from Evidence-based Mommy shares:
“If you need green onions, go ahead and buy them at the grocery store. Snip off as much of the green top as you need, and then plant the bulbs.
They grow quickly, so you’ll be able to grow enough green onions to garnish a dish whenever you want. My onions lasted a few years like this.
Once they died, I simply bought another bunch for a few dollars and started the process again.”
I’ve been remodeling my kitchen—see here for my post on my latest project, DIY blinds—and am excited about having a little herb garden right at my fingertips.
I love being able to whip together make-ahead Mexican salads and my best Caprese salad with fresh herbs. We will be eating well this summer! I’ll be sharing more about my windowsill garden— and more expert tips– in the weeks to come.
Until then, check out my latest YouTube video on growing herbs indoors.
Also – Last year on Facebook, we had a lively thread going on about everything we were growing from indoor herbs to tomatoes to lettuce – – all the good garden things! We’re starting up the chat again now that summer is right around the corner.
Join us in the Home Chef Facebook Group if you like to grow things and chat food, too.