With life getting busier and the popularity and convenience of food delivery service apps increasing, you might be surprised to find out that Americans are actually cooking at home more these days than in recent years. If you enjoy spending time in the kitchen, you probably already know that a great way to kick up the flavor in your home cooked meals is with fresh herbs and spices. But why purchase these in your local produce department when you can snip them fresh from your window sill? If you have just one window in or near your kitchen that receives direct sunlight, then you have the perfect location for an indoor herb garden. Several hours of light each day along with a daily dose of water is all you need for most small window box herb plants.
Purchase plants that haven’t already been growing outside, so they aren’t shocked by the change to an indoor environment. Since winter is a natural resting phase for plants, consider starting your herb garden in the spring or summer in order to see quick growth. Once your plants are established, you will have plentiful fresh seasonings throughout the year. Keep your plants in separate containers, since some herbs are more invasive than others and can overtake their slower growing neighbors unless separated. Clipping your herb plants regularly is very important – frequent trims stimulate growth!
Easy Indoor Options
Parsley is one of the most commonly used herbs and is very easy to grow, requiring little light and almost no maintenance beyond an occasional trim. Rosemary is also very hardy, though it requires a bit more sunlight than parsley, 6-8 hours being ideal. Thyme is a very drought-resistant evergreen, so it will actually benefit from being forgotten about at some watering sessions. One of the most versatile cooking herbs are chives – they add a garlicky sweetness while making any dish taste instantly fresher. Keep them moist and leave at least two inches behind whenever you trim them for cooking.
While you can grow many of your favorite herbs right on your window sill, some varieties are better kept outside. Dill and fennel will both overtake small containers quickly, and grow much too large for your window box. Basil is easy to cultivate, but only in the correct soil. Your basil plants will be much more successful if grown outside in compost-rich dirt. Mint is also a better outside herb, as it tends to grow large and wild and can over crowd your other plants.
Many herbs, chives in particular, are toxic to cats. If you are starting a container herb garden, make sure it is in an area off limits to any feline friends.