Fall Project: Grow an Indoor Herb Garden

Not ready to give your green thumb a rest just because summer is almost over? Move your gardening inside and create a potted herb garden. Herbs are a great way to add flavor to your food without fat, calories or sodium. And growing them yourself will save you money at the grocery store! The best part is they are simple enough that anybody can get them to flourish. Here are some tips to get you started:

Seek out sun. Even if it gets freezing outside, herbs can flourish indoors. The key is placing them in a spot with direct sunlight. That said, a windowsill might be a little too chilly when it gets really cold out.

Encourage drainage. When plants are outside, they naturally drain into the ground. But when you have them in a pot, you have to take some steps to keep them from drowning. Most importantly, make sure your pot has a hole in the bottom (and place it in a tray to collect any extra water). It can also help if you put a few inches of small stones in the bottom.

Pick the right herbs. This time of year, it’s easiest to start with plants from a grocery store or nursery rather than trying to grow your herbs from seeds. Some good, hearty varieties include favorites like basil, chives, cilantro, rosemary, thyme and sage. If you grow mint indoors, make sure to put it in its own container, since it will expand to fill its pot and crowd out other herbs.

Wait to water. Stick your finger down into the soil and wait until it feels dry before watering your plants. Watering them too frequently can lead to unhappy plants!

Take a little off the top. When you are ready to use some herbs, don’t strip a plant bare. A good rule of thumb is to leave at least two-thirds of the herb behind so that the leaves come back fast.

Photo credit: Ryan Adams

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