It’s cold outdoors and the gardens have been put to bed for the winter. But your fingers are itching to get into the soil, aren’t they? What can you do? Plan an indoor herb garden. Let some growing herbs spice up your windowsill, the food on your table, and scratch that itch while the snow flies outside!
How to grow an indoor herb garden
First of all, let’s be clear … you can keep an indoor herb garden all year long … or just over the winter and revert to your outdoor beds over the mild weather and growing season. It’s up to you.
But for today, let’s talk about what you need to have an indoor herb garden this year. Start with the basics:
- A sunny spot.That is one that gets at least 6 hours of sunlight each day. It does not have to be a windowsill, that’s just the usual spot people use.
- Pots with good drainage. Just like you don’t want plants to dry out too much, you don’t want them to sit in water all the time – indoors or out. So make sure the pots you choose have good drainage. If water on the table top or windowsill is a problem, use saucers or liners to catch excess water.
Indoor plants, just like outdoor plants, thrive in certain locations for certain reasons. So, it might be wise to understand which plants work best in what locations. Bear in mind that your herb garden doesn’t have to all be located in one spot. You can spread the plants out throughout your home knowing that you are doing the best for them and they will give their best for you, too.
Pick the herbs that you want and will use in your kitchen and then take the appropriate action. Match the locations with the herbs so you get the best results.
- Basil– Everyone loves to have basil in their herb garden, but it can be a tricky task over winter indoors. Basil reacts poorly to cool temperatures. It won’t do well on a windowsill where temperatures tend to drop overnight. Keep it in a spot that gets lots of light, but can maintain a temperature around 70 degrees. If the leaves start to droop, it’s a sign that your basil plant is struggling.
- Bay– Place in an east-or west-facing window, with good circulation around it (don’t crowd in with lots of other plants).
- Chervil (French parsley)– Start from seed. This is one that can tolerate low light, but needs to stay in temperatures between 65 – 70 degrees.
- Chives– This one isn’t easy. Remove a clump from your outdoor garden, and replant in a pot. Put it somewhere cool (like the basement or garage) for a few days, then put it in the sunniest indoor spot you can find.
- Oregano – Plant a tip cut form your outdoor garden in a pot and place it in a south-facing window.
- Parsley– Start from seeds or a clump from your garden. It likes lots of sun and will grow slowly in an east- or west-facing window.
- Rosemary– Start a cutting in soilless mix until it roots. Plant in a pot and place in a south-facing window. Side note: this is a plant that smells wonderful, so expect the fragrance to fill the room wherever it grows.
- Sage– A tip cut from an outdoor plant will manage the dry, indoor air, but it needs lots of sun from a south-facing window to thrive.
- Thyme – This plant is small and compact enough that you can simply lift an entire plant from your outdoor garden and bring it inside. It really likes full sun, but will do fine in an east- or west-facing window.
A lot of people like to grow tarragon, but it’s a tricky one to master for new gardeners, so even though you crave it, buy it this winter at your favorite market.
Fill the winter months with garden thoughts
You can scratch that garden itch all winter in other ways, too. You can make plans for what you want to do or change in your outdoor landscape next season. That’s where the pros at RD Tisdale Landscaping can help. Want to build a pergola, add a fire pit, or create a sweeping garden along the back of your property? Our landscape design skills and experience can help you to place it in the best place and add in the shrubs, flowers, and other plants to make the new addition stand out.
Take a few minutes to peruse the gallery of some of our projects on our website. We love to get down in the dirt and make beautiful outdoor spaces and it shows! While we see winter as a time of rest, we also see it as a time to plan and imagine what we can grow next year. We would be happy to help you do the same. Give us a call at 317-506-1098. Let’s plan something gorgeous!