Indoor Herb Gardening 101

Growing a herb garden can be tricky at first, but well worth the efforts once achieved. There is something so fulfilling about growing your own herbs for cooking. The flavor is so much better when fresh herbs are used. The difference is undeniable. And growing them indoors is very easy.

It is best to start off with the easier herbs in the beginning then move up to the ones that are little more difficult to grow after you get a feel for it. Learning to read the plants and letting them tell you what they need is the best way to learn the skill.

herb garden with thyme
Some thyme growing in an herb garden

Always start with herbs that have been started for inside. Buying herbs that were started outside and moving them inside can throw them into shock. Lemongrass, mint, parsley, Vietnamese coriander and baytree are a few good ones that are a little easier to grow for a beginner.

Lighting and soil drainage are very important to these plants. You might lose a few in the beginning. Eventually, you will become good at understanding what they are telling you. 6 to 8 hours of southwest facing natural light is ideal for most herbs, but not always possible.

In that case, you can use clamp-on reflector lights with compact fluorescent grow bulbs. They should be placed 4 to 6 inches away from the plants. Keep lighting mobile so that it can be repositioned . Herbs will grow toward the light so lighting will need to be adjusted as plants grow. There are also lights that can be mounted under the cabinets for herbs grown on top of the counter. No plants will do well without good lighting.

Tarra cotta is excellent for your herbs home. A pot should be no smaller than 6 inches in diameter for individual plants and no smaller than 10 inches in diameter and 8 inches deep for multiple plants.

Drainage is also very important. Using just any soil is a mistake. Use high-quality organic soil that is rich in loam. You can add 1 part perlite to 25 parts soil to help with drainage. Soil should not be compacted and should be grainy. Grinding up some eggshell with a little water added to it can be a great way to add some extra lime to your potting soil. Your plants will love you for it.

Watering herbs should be done about once a week with soil draining well and drying out in between waterings. Check with fingers to see if soil is dry. If it is dry, water plants at the base of root and soil thoroughly. Drain good and let dry again.

If plants start to get brown spots this could be a sign of too much light. Raise lights slightly off herbs. If they become long and leggy with few leaves this could mean too little light. Move them to where they can get more.

Herbs don’t need a lot of water. Over watering is a common mistake most people make. Another common mistake is overlooking security. Grow lights and other equipment can be quite expensive and make your garden a target for thieves. You want to set up a good security system to deter intruders. And if they still try to break in, your surveillance cameras will catch them and hopefully lead to their arrest.

Growing herbs is a fun hobby and after some practice and a little reading you can become quite skilled at it. You will be adding extra flavor to your cooking in no time.