If you’re interested in gardening, love to cook, or want to add more greenery to your home, a fresh herb garden is an ideal place to start.
Herbs are great for a few reasons.
- They grow quickly. You can have a fully formed herb garden within a month of planting.
- They’re easy. Most herbs are resistant to pests and will thrive in normal indoor conditions, as long as you give them plenty of light.
- They improve your cooking. The moment an herb is picked, it begins to lose its potency. Fresh herbs that you pick right before cooking will taste better than anything you buy in a grocery store.
- They save money. Once your garden is ready to harvest, it becomes a renewable source of herbs. Anything you pick will grow back for at least a year, and some herbs grow back forever. Plus, you’ll be able to pick just the right amount; no more throwing away excess herbs that you buy at the store.
Here’s a simple guide to growing your own indoor herb garden. It has four steps:
- Find a good spot
- Choose your herbs
- Gather supplies
- Plant your garden
1. Find A Good Spot In Your Home
The most important thing your herb garden will need is sunlight.
As a rule of thumb, herbs do best with 6-8 hours of direct sunlight per day. The more sunlight your herbs get, the better they’ll grow (and the more flavor they’ll have).
Find a spot in your home or apartment that’s right next to a window. A southern-facing window is best -- that way the sun will shine on your herbs all day as it shifts from east to west -- but any window should be fine. You can stick your potted herbs directly on a windowsill, or you can set up a table or shelf next to the window.
2. Choose Your Herbs
Most common culinary herbs do well indoors and don’t take up much space (although you will want a separate pot for each herb).
Good herbs to choose include:
Additionally, you can choose to start your garden from one of three stages, depending on how soon you want to harvest:
- From seeds (4-6 weeks). This is more challenging and takes the longest, but may also be the most rewarding if you want to learn about gardening.
- From seedlings (2-4 weeks). Most home improvement stores sell baby herb plants that have already started to sprout. They aren’t ready to harvest yet but will be soon.
- From full-grown plants (0 weeks). You can also buy full-grown herb plants and transfer them to your own pots. You’ll have a fresh herb garden immediately, and the plants will start to grow back as soon as you pick them.
3. Gather Supplies
To plant your garden, you’ll need:
- Seeds, seedlings, or full-grown plants
- 5” plant pots (one for each herb) with saucers. Check the bottoms of the pots to make sure they have drainage holes.
- Potting soil
- Liquid plant food (fish-based emulsions are a good choice)
- A watering can
You can find everything you need at your local home improvement store.
4. Plant Your Garden
Planting your garden is easy.
- Fill each pot three-quarters full with potting soil. You’ll plant one herb in each pot.
- If using seeds, sprinkle them on top and cover them with a small amount of additional soil. For seedlings or full-grown plants, nestle them in the soil, then add additional soil on top so that the roots are covered.
- Place in a sunny spot in your home, ideally where the herbs get 6-8 hours of full sunlight a day.
- Water deeply once a week. The soil should be damp but not wet. It’s okay if the soil dries out a bit between waterings; most herbs like that.
- Every other week, before watering, add the liquid plant food to the water according to the instructions on the package.
Within a few weeks, you’ll have a thriving collection of fresh herbs at your fingertips.
An herb garden is the perfect way to learn about gardening and bring some fresh greenery into your home (and food).
And if you find that you love working with plants and you’re ready for a bigger project, try learning the basics of outdoor gardening. With some basic tools and a few simple steps, you can create a stunning landscape (or a bountiful food garden) in your own backyard.