Now is the time to start planning to keep fresh herbs handy all winter. By creating an indoor herb garden, you can relish the taste of home-grown herbs throughout the year. Integrate them into your cooking to elevate taste, boost nutritional value, and even aid in digestion and warding off colds. Use them fresh, dried, or infused into butters and oils. Bonus: They can also work wonders for mood, helping to beat the winter blues.
According to Carrie Spoonemore, co-creator of the From Seed to Spoon gardening app, these six herbs are ideal for raising indoors—they take up minimal space, thrive in lower light conditions and regrow rapidly after you’ve harvested them.
Basil enhances sauces, salads, pizzas or infused oils. New dwarf varieties cater to space-saving indoor growing needs.
Thyme improves dishes like roasted meats and soups. With antiseptic and antibacterial properties, it’s excellent for making herbal remedies. Thyme also cascades down pots to create a beautiful trailing effect that also saves space.
Mint grows vigorously, quickly filling out containers and providing an abundant supply of fresh leaves. It can be used in teas, cocktails, desserts and savory dishes. Plus, the scent can freshen up the air indoors.
Parsley is rich in vitamins and minerals, providing potential health benefits when sprinkled onto your favorite dishes.
Lemon Balm is a soothing herb that promotes relaxation and reduces stress. Snip off a few leaves and make tea or aromatherapy balms. It also lends a hint of citrus to salads, drinks and desserts.
Chives offer a mild, onion-like flavor that can enhance salads, soups and omelets. They improve immunity and digestion while also offering anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Chives are great for beginners because they grow quickly and easily.
Cultivating an Indoor Garden
“Even in winter, you can create a thriving indoor herb garden,” Spoonemore says. “Herbs love sunny conditions like a cozy windowsill. Even if you have limited space, herbs adapt beautifully to containers.” Here are simple steps to start an indoor herb garden.
- Find a sunny location. Herbs require at least six hours of sun per day. If you can’t find a spot with that much sunlight, supplement with artificial lights. Avoid drafty areas.
- Choose the right plants, like those listed above, but also ones you will enjoy and use.
- Select the proper containers and be sure they are large enough for your plants’ growth.
- Choose a well-draining, organic potting soil.
- Sow herb seeds in Park Seed’s Bio Dome according to packet instructions. The Bio Dome is an easy way to get started and has everything you need to create the ideal environment for germination.
- Water regularly and keep soil moist but not soggy. Leaving seeds in sitting water can be detrimental, so proper drainage is necessary.
- Once seeds sprout, transplant into your containers.
- Fertilize every two weeks with an organic liquid fertilizer.
- Harvest and enjoy!