Growing an herb garden indoors is a great way to get fresh herbs all year long. When you plant these herbs indoors, you're restricted to the growing season in your climate. Here's how to grow an indoor herb garden to provide fresh herbs for your kitchen:
Assemble a garden area. To grow an indoor herb garden, you need small clay pots or an herb planting dish, potting soil, a few pebbles a spray bottle, and herb starts or seeds. You'll also need a window or full spectrum fluorescent lighting that can simulate sunlight. Even if you've placed the indoor herb garden next to a window, you may still need to supplement this light during the winter.
Plant the herbs. If you have herbs growing outdoors in your garden, take divisions from them at the end of their growing season. Otherwise, start your garden by planting seeds. First place a small layer of pebbles in the bottom of the pot; this will help with drainage. Transfer herb transplants right into the pot, or place the seeds halfway through the soil. Good herbs for an indoor garden include basil, dill, chamomile, cilantro, and oregano. Start them off well by placing the potted seeds on top of your refrigerator for warmth until they sprout. Then move to a sunny window or underneath the full spectrum lighting.
Water and fertilize the herbs. Do not keep the plants too wet; make sure that there is adequate drainage so the roots are not always sitting in too-wet soil. Water them about once per week, when the soil feels dry an inch down. Care for them properly; herbs need at least 5 to 6 hours of sunlight each day, and should be kept at around 70 degrees Fahrenheit, although they can go much lower during the night. If your plants are not receiving enough light, the leaves may pale and begin to fall off. At least once per week, feed them with a liquid fertilizer.
Watch for pests. Indoor herbs may be susceptible to spider mites and other pests. To discourage them, mist your plants daily with a spray bottle of water. This will also help to keep them hydrated. If you do see pests, prepare a large bowl of lukewarm soapy water. Hold the plant in the pot with one hand, and tip it over so that the leaves and stems are in the soapy water. Swish it around in the water a few times. The soap in the water will kill the bugs.
Use the herbs. Depending on the herbs you choose to grow, incorporate the herbs into your cooking or use them for aromatherapy. Frequently snip fresh leaves for use, and the plant will maintain a bushy shape instead of becoming leggy.
An indoor herb garden is a great way to grow plants if you live in a city or want to grow herbs year-round. Herbs are generally very hardy, making them an ideal choice for beginning gardeners.