Growing Herbs During Winter Made Easy
Although winter may be right around the corner, you can still enjoy garden-fresh herbs. You can grow many of your favorites inside your own home. Furthermore, herbs like basil, parsley, cilantro, sage, and oregano are both fun and easy to grow indoors.
Before you start growing great-tasting herbs indoors, however, there are a few things to take into account. Check out this comprehensive guide to indoor herb gardening then tell Old Man Winter he can’t have any more of your fresh grown herbs!
First, you’ll need a good planter. Your choice of an indoor planter is virtually endless. Ceramic or clay pots are ordinary among indoor growers for their attractive appearance and porousness. Unfortunately, these types of planters are easily broken, need to be watered almost constantly and can prove difficult to clean.
Plastic hanging pots make use of windows by angling your herbs toward the sunlight. PVC planters are also ideal for windows. These planters are simple and inexpensive, comprised of merely a PVC pipe riveted with holes for your herb plants. Alternatively, you can recycle water or soda bottles to make self-watering plantersor recycle wine or liquor bottles to make glass self-watering planters.
If you want to go all out, technology has made indoor growing even more convenient. For instance, gourmet herb pod kits come equipped with full-spectrum LED lighting systems and can grow up to seven plants at a time.
Self-watering pots monitor H2O intake for you and use minimal electricity as well as counter space. You’ll believe the future is now with the many “click-and-grow” kits found online. Simply pop in any herb cartridge, and the smart garden does the rest. Every indoor planter comes with pros and cons, so consider your individual preference and indoor growing needs when shopping for a planter.
Next, you need to determine the location of your planter, which usually depends directly on how much light your herbs need. Common cooking herbs such as basil, parsley, cilantro, sage, or oregano need plenty of light to flourish. Make sure you set your planter in an area that receives adequate amounts of light. Depending on the container you’ve chosen, growing herbs on your kitchen window sill can make your plants more easily accessible as well as ornamental.
As with most plants that are grown indoors, any lamp or LED lighting system should suffice. Just place your herb planter directly under your chosen light source, keeping in mind that plants grow toward the light. Awkward lighting positions can cause bent and crooked stems that will suffocate your plants by keeping them from getting the water they need, therefore ruining your herbs before they’ve even developed!
You’ve chosen a planter and designated an area in your home to situate your herbs. What’s next? Of course, the growing process. Culinary herbs are relatively low-maintenance and easy to grow but could benefit from a proper feeding here and there. In addition to soil, water, and light, appropriate fertilizer can also affect the growth of your herbs.
When growing your herbs for food, natural, organic fertilizer is ideal because it eliminates the risk involved with using potentially harmful chemicals. You could even make your fertilizer using worm castings, composted manure, or fish emulsion. If you do decide to buy your fertilizer, however, herbs usually enjoy half-strength or liquid fertilizers the most.
Once your herbs have grown up all big and strong, it’s time to harvest! Some herbs are more tolerant of frequent harvesting than are others. For example, you can pick basil leaves anytime you need them, while simultaneously encouraging the plant to grow more leaves. You should harvest herbs like parsley and sage about 75 days after they mature. You can pick oregano after the stems have grown to at least 4 inches tall and cilantro as often as once a week. It is important to harvest your herbs at the correct time to promote further, healthy growth and sustenance.
To preserve your freshly grown herbs, you can dry them outusing the bag method, the oven method, or the hanging method to make teas or for seasoning your favorite recipes. Alternatively, the fresh herbs can be preserved in oils, or as cubesfor an instant burst of flavor when cooking your favorite dishes. Herbs can also be grown for medicinal uses such as Lambs Ear for natural antibacterial bandages.
Don’t let winter put a damper on your green thumb. Growing herbs indoors is simple and as easy as choosing an indoor planter, designating a grow area, and providing adequate light and fertilizer. Harvesting your herbs indoors is even easier than picking from an outdoor garden, especially with the broad range of planters designed specifically for kitchen use.
Enjoy every meal with herbs grown right in your own house any time of year, come snow or shine!