Welcome to Your Indoor Herb Garden where you will find tips for Successfully Growing Culinary Herbs Indoors. Our focus is to provide you with quality information about the rights and wrongs of growing herbs indoors. We will also show you some delicious recipes using what you grow.
Herbs can be traced back to the times of the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Chinese. There are also references in the Bible and medieval documents that show herbs were used by most households. Growing herbs is something that is very beneficial to gardeners for several different purposes. Herbs may be used to flavor food, for potpourri, for tea, for medical purposes or to even control pests in the garden. For example, a mixture of chopped spring onions and chilies, water and several drops of safflower or sesame oil can make a safe insecticidal spray. A mixture of mashed garlic and water sprayed on plants is useful for repelling certain insect pests. For other great ways to use plants and herbs to control insect pests including ants, beetles, rabbits and other critters see http://www.home-herb-garden.com/herbalpestcontrol.html .
The main categories of herbs are Aromatic, Ornamental, Medicinal and Culinary. While medicinal herbs have many uses in reducing symptoms of fever, stomach and digestive problems or as topical applications for insect bites or for treating acne, they are a topic all to themselves. By far, culinary herbs are the most familiar to us and used the most in our recipes.
But all culinary herbs can be used for a variety of medicinal uses too. Basil can be taken as a tea for digestive or respiratory problems or as an anti-inflammatory for arthritis pain. A solution brewed from fresh leaves can be used as an eye wash to treat eye infections (only use fresh leaves for an eye wash and filter before use). A plaster can be made from the leaves to treat insect bites. Garlic was used for centuries to treat wounds especially war wounds. In fact, garlic was used for centuries to treat severe wounds suffered in war. It was used through the end of the First World War before the discovery of antibiotics. Garlic contains sulphur compounds which are anti-bacterial.
Herb gardens can be grown in different ways such as an indoor herb garden in the kitchen or a small plot in the garden. A small plot of four feet by six feet is a large enough area to support a small family. Growing herbs indoors only one plant may be all that is needed for family needs. Sage and rosemary are two such examples.
Herb gardens can be specialized towards one of the major groups of herbs or a mixture of a few for different purposes. Some of the culinary herbs are grown for their aromatic foliage and some for their flowers. Culinary herbs are used both fresh and dried. Herbs used fresh as garnish for plates or in salads and other times to perk up a recipe. They can also be grown in a garden with other species of plants or in containers indoors.
Image of Dwarf Rosemary in Bloom
If starting from seed whether indoors or outside, follow the rule: the finer the seed, the shallower it should be sown. Use a light soil that drains well. For indoor soils a 50 /50 mix of a good cactus potting soil and regular potting soil or a 3 potting soil to 2 cactus mix will be a good draining soil. Make sure your cactus mix contains little to no sand but does contain pea gravel and volcanic rock to allow the soil to breathe. Although most herbs can be grown from seeds, some herbs do not transplant well. Herbs like dill, fennel, anise, and coriander should be planted directly into the garden or in your indoor pots. Fertilizers are not necessary at the beginning of the planting season but may be required later. Many potting soils contain a balanced time release type of fertilizer so read labels.
Pots from 2 inches to 4 inches and 6, 8, 10 inches or larger can be used to grow herbs indoors. In the larger pots, a mixture of tall and smaller growing herbs may be mixed. Why I recommend purchasing nursery plants as the quickest way to get your indoor herb garden started is the long germination period for some herbs such as Garlic or a low sprouting rate such as rosemary. Purchasing plants is more expensive than seeds but you can have an instant garden. Once you have purchased your herbs, learn how to care for them. The basic rule for the Mediterranean herbs is Don’t Overwater them. Overwatering kills more indoor herbs and house plants than any other single cause. The Mediterranean herbs also like lots of sun. Try to put them in a full sunny window for 5 to 6 hours of sunlight per day. Then supplement with a grow light for another 5 to 6 hours.
Many culinary herbs are also aromatic. Basil smells like a mixture of clove and mint. It is a member of the mint family. French thyme and sage also smell good. Combining some of the culinary herbs such as marjoram, rosemary, basil, or fennel seed with lavender and some cedar shavings into a potpourri can be used anywhere to improve the scent of a room, linen drawer or clothes closet.
Although growing herbs in a home garden can be challenging and worthwhile, the sense of accomplishment and the peace that comes from working with soil and plants is worthwhile. This article has given you an introduction to growing herbs indoors and now it is time to complete the journey with more information. And you can find all of the information you need right here! Good Luck in your Gardening Adventure!
John Green, Publisher
Your Indoor Herb Garden