How to Start a Kitchen Herb Garden
By Miki Miller
Instead of reaching for the ketchup to flavor your food, why not reach for the oregano or basil? Fresh herbs are at your fingertips when you grow a kitchen herb garden. Growing an indoor edible herb garden also lets you bring a little of the outdoors inside.
Do it with your kids, and you can encourage healthier eating along with giving them a lesson in science, cooking, nutrition, and agriculture.
Starting Your Kitchen Herb Garden: Choose Herbs You’ll Enjoy
Are you a tea lover? Choose chamomile, lavender, mint, or lemon balm to make herbal teas. Do your kids love pizza? Get them to help you plant basil, oregano, rosemary, and thyme. (Using fresh herbs on your pizza often eliminates the accompanying heartburn.)
Even the pickiest eaters will enjoy these healthy herbs. Pretty soon, you’ll be able to get them to branch out and try the fresh herbs on other foods.
Other herbs that are easy to grow?
The leaves of this herb can be used as a garnish on Tex-Mex food, in salads, and in soups. Now is your chance to find out if your kids are fans.
Versatile and nutritious, you can add parsley to many fresh and cooked dishes. You can also sneak it in smoothies for a little burst of green.
Mint is calming, soothing, and helpful with relieving indigestion and gas. It is easy to grow in the kitchen and flourishes in moist soil and indirect sunlight. Pick the leaves fresh to make into tea or to chop into salads and marinades.
A perfect complement to veggie or meat dishes, tarragon is also pretty as a houseplant with its distinctive leaves.
Give Herbs the Right Conditions for Success
You don’t need a lot of space for a kitchen herb garden. Herb gardens are popular in apartments as well as bigger kitchens. You can use your window sill, or plant a vertical garden near a large window. But even in your kitchen, you need to give the plants the nutrition they need.
Plant in Good Soil
Plants draw most of their nutrients from the soil, so start with a nice, organic planting mix that isn’t too heavy. You shouldn’t need much, especially if you are just transplanting small herb plants into larger pots.
Choose Containers with Drainage
You’re allowed to be fussy about the aesthetics of your indoor garden, so don’t hesitate to find pots that fit with your decor or color scheme. But containers with drainage holes are a must. Just look for a matching or clear drainage tray to place the pots on to prevent water from flowing onto window sills.
Choose the Sunniest Spot Possible
Most herb plants love sunshine, so the sunnier a spot you can place your garden in, the better. If you can’t find a place in the kitchen, then set up your herb garden close by. If you can’t find an appropriately sunny location, then you may want to invest in a supplemental light to encourage strong growth.
The more you harvest your herbs, the bushier and stronger they will become. Try to cut herbs just below where two leaves come together on the stem. This is a growth node, and wherever you cut, two stems will grow to replace the one you harvested.
Jump on the Foodscaping Bandwagon
Your indoor herb garden may be a huge hit with the family. Once springtime comes, you can branch out by transplanting your herbs to a sunny landscape bed. You may also want to branch out with your indoor garden, and add lettuce, kale, and spinach plants to the mix.
Planting an indoor herb garden with your little ones is a fun way to make the winter months go by quickly, and it gives them something to do when they’re out of school. The garden will also enhance your cooking, and teach some lessons along the way.
Miki Miller writes about gardening, landscaping, and motherhood. She loves pugs and pizza, oh, and her husband, too.