The Best Herbs to Grow Indoors

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The Best Herbs to Grow Indoors

Growing an indoor herb garden is a delightful and rewarding way to pass the time but it can be a little aggravating when results fall short of expectations. Some might blame their lack of a “green thumb” when, in fact, there is no such thing. All anyone needs to grow thriving herbs inside their home is a little knowledge and some good, old-fashioned elbow grease. For the beginning indoor herb gardener, it would be helpful to know that certain types of herbs will actually grow better indoors than outside in a “traditional garden”. Among these “indoor-suited herbs” are some popular and particularly useful herbs a new herb enthusiast might want to begin with.

It’s a common scene: a newbie indoor gardener will eagerly plant some seeds, water them and wait for the plants to magically appear. Many times the plant will never appear, or they’ll grow but removed from their fullest potential. What the gardener may not know is that growing herbs from seed is at once a delicate yet robust process. All too often, someone will blame their “green thumb” or lack thereof but “green thumbs” don’t exist. Successful gardeners aren’t born with an innate ability to grow plants and when it seems that way, it can usually be explained by examining the gardener’s enthusiasm, knowledge and experience. The good news is that you won’t need to take a university course in gardening or read through volumes of books searching for an arcane bit of knowledge. All it takes is a little knowledge and some consistent effort.

Although many herb can grow indoors or outdoors, it would be wise for the beginner to start off simply with a few pots on the windowsill. The requirements for this are soil, water and a sunny spot in the home or apartment. A window that has a southern exposure will typically work best, though when plants are in pots it’s easy to move them about to accommodate their need for ten to twelve hours of sunlight. The best size container for planting herbs is a six-inch pot with a lining of crushed stone or bark chips along the bottom. This provides much needed drainage and aeration for the plant’s root system. Choose a light, nutrient rich, well-drained soil. Don’t overwater your herbs! Indoor herbs enjoy humid conditions and need more water than their outdoor counterparts but don’t overwater them! Remember to consult the instructions on your seed packet- these will be specific to the type of plant you’re growing.

Some of the easiest herbs to grow indoors are also among the most popular and useful…

Thyme — Height: 4 to 12″, Light Requirement: Sun, Propagation: Seed, Used For: Teas, Potpourris, Poultry Flavoring, Stews, Fish, Tomatoes, Soups, Rice

Sweet Basil — Height: 20 to 24″, Light Requirement: Sun, Propagation: Seed, Uses: Soups, Pasta Sauce, Stews, Meat and Poultry Dishes, Teas, Flavors Vinegar

Sweet Marjoram — Height: 8″, Light Requirement: Sun, Propagation: Seed, Division or Cuttings, Uses: Flavors Meats, Sauces, Pizza, Eggs

Rosemary — Height: 3 to 6′, Light Requirement: Sun, Propagation: Seed, Uses: Flavors Butters, Bread, Stuffing, Vinegar, Stew, Veggies and Meat

Chervil — Height: 1 ½ to 2′, Light Requirement: Partial Shade, Propagation: Seed, Uses: Salads, Soups, Sauces, Teas, Butters

Sage — Height: 18 to 30′, Light Requirement: Sun, Propagation: Seed, Uses: Flavors Vinegar, Bread, Jam, Butters, Stuffing, Stew, Veggies and Meat

Chives — Height: 12″, Light Requirement: Sun or Partial Shade, Propagation: Seed, Uses: Flavors Eggs, Soups, Cheese, Dips, Spreads

Parsley — Height: 6 to 18″, Light Requirement: Sun, Propagation: Seed, Uses: Garnish, Flavors Stews, Salads, Sauces, Soups and Dressings

Oregano — Height: 24″, Light Requirement: Sun, Propagation: Seed, Uses: Flavors Tomato Dishes, Pork Stuffings, Meat and Poultry Dishes, Veggies and Sauces

Each of these herbs has unique growing needs and characteristics. Research the type of plant you want, determine if you can meet its growing requirements and follow through with consistent care. You’ll have a “green thumb” in no time!

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