Not everyone may have the space, time, or resources to grow a lush outdoor garden, but most people, with the right tools and knowledge, can grow a successful herb garden from inside their home. Not only will this provide you with some creative and delicious flavors to your home cooking, it can also provide a fresher environment and more calming atmosphere to your indoor space. Here are some important factors to consider when growing your own indoor herb garden.
Not only is sunlight required for the growth of your herb garden, it also has a direct effect on the herb's flavors and intensity. Try to find a large, south-facing window to place your herbs in front of that will get about 6-8 hours of full sunlight. Consider getting a table or suction-cup shelf to hold a larger garden that won't fit on the window sill. If you don't have a usable window, you can always use ways of artificial sunlight with a CFL bulb from your local hardware store, or just borrow one from that neighbor with the tin-foiled garage windows.
Another important factor for proper growth. Luckily, unless you're planning on growing coconuts, your herbs shouldn't dictate the overall temperature of your house too much as an ideal range for growth is around 20-23 degrees. Keep in mind that you may need to monitor your plants during hot summer, or cold winter days as temperatures can vary when right next to the window.
Another key step in keeping your herbs alive is water. I guess we're not so different after all. Make sure you're not over-watering your herbs. 2-3 times a week should be sufficient for watering. Don't think you need to water your plants just because the topsoil is dry. Since the top dries out first, there is usually still moisture underneath it and roots grow deeper when they need to search for water.
When bringing plants into your home, consider what type of home they might need. There are two major factors when picking the right pots for your herbs, drainage and size. Make sure the pots have adequate drainage so your roots aren't standing in water. You can always add pebbles at the bottom to help with slow-draining pots. Make sure you have a plate or tray underneath your herb pots to ensure water isn't leaking out where it might cause damage to your home. Make sure you aren't sizing your pots too small or else it might stunt their growth, or too big where it might be to hard to keep the soil moist. When considering size, some herbs like basil have longer roots so might need a bigger pot. Consider an individual pot for each herb so they aren't fighting each other for food, as well this makes it easier to rotate or move them around if necessary. Although keep in mind that plants don't like to be moved around too frequently. Get creative with different types of pots or designs. Anything can be a pot, you just have to believe.
Soil and Food
Make sure you are using the proper soil for indoor plants as this will differ from the type you will use outdoors. You can't just shovel in some dirt from your back yard as it is too compact and may be full of tiny intruders, like those "Giant Asian Murder-Hornets" that have been causing all the recent "buzz". The reason why you want to use a special indoor soil, is that these soils or mixes come with materials that help keep the ground aerated for root growth, as well they usually come packed with nutrients. However, do not forget to continue fertilizing and feeding your herbs to keep them healthy and growing. Consider fertilizing once a week during the high-growth seasons like summer, and then once a month should be sufficient in the slower seasons.
Lastly, and possibly the most relatable of all, show your herbs some love. Studies show that speaking to your plants actually promotes their growth. Even waiving your hand over their top leaves can simulate a natural breeze which help the stems grow stronger. Greet them in the morning with a wave and some kind words, get the whole family involved and you might even find yourselves interacting with the people around you in the same way. Small gestures of love can go a long way, and I think we can all agree on that.