A Taste of Summer… and Then Some.
In the days of early fall, the sun disappears just a little earlier every evening. But that doesn’t mean summer herbs have to wait until next year. You can keep on cooking home-grown, fresh herbs if you follow these simple herb gardening tips.
You know what they say: “location, location, location.” Indoors and out, ensuring that your herbs get ample sunlight is crucial to your success. In fact, light is the biggest factor in caring for indoor herbs. Most herbs are Mediterranean in origin, which makes them natural-born sun-lovers. Six hours or more of light a day is the biggest rule of thumb in caring for indoor herbs.
Choose the sunniest window in your house or apartment and keep an eye on it. South and west windows are usually the best. But every case is different, so first-hand observation is best. Don’t be surprised if you need to use shop lights or grow lights for your indoor herbs to grow and thrive!
Not everybody has a greenhouse or greenhouse window. But these herb gardening tips will give you a kick-start:
For a fast start, grow some of the most quickly germinating herbs. Then pick out some slower varieties that are dear to your heart, and get them started as well. Salsa or pasta fan? Grow cilantro for an infusion of freshness whenever chips and salsa call your name. Grow basil for terrific pesto and marinara sauces. And did you know? When paired with almost any citrus, basil is amazing in fruit sorbets or signature cocktails. Watching the Kentucky Derby or dining on Middle Eastern cuisine? Grow mint for that perfect tagine or mint julep. It’s a party at your place! Cilantro, basil, and mint are just a few of the indoor herbs to grow, but they’re also some of the easiest.
Caring for indoor herbs is pretty low-maintenance, just like herb gardening outdoors. Along with ample sun and selecting indoor herbs to grow, here are some more easy tips for growing indoor herbs:
Most herbs like it lean. That means they have minimal nutrient and water requirements. Allow your herbs to dry (but not parch) between waterings, and feed them very lightly every three months or so. Remember, their Mediterranean background means that caring for indoor herbs requires good drainage. A lightweight potting mix will keep their roots from sitting in water. And a soft-sided container will provide even better drainage while letting oxygen into the root zone.
And the easiest herb gardening tip? Snip, Snip, Snip. Use those beautiful leaves regularly to keep them growing and delay flowering. When your herbs flower and produce seeds, they are on their way out. Grow basil, grow cilantro, grow mint — and keep on cutting and cooking!