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Indoor Gardening

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If you love gardening, then you might feel sad when fall comes and winter season is approaching, but you do want to keep up with the gardening, but the question is how. How is it possible to do gardening, if it is cold outside and the seeds will not sprout, the answer is an indoor gardening. Even if you have little experience with plants or very little indoor space to work with, an indoor garden is the perfect way to bring a bit of Mother Nature into your home, no green thumb required! In addition, growing your own herbs is much more convenient, and affordable, than buying them at the local grocery store.

An Herb Garden

An Herb Garden

An Herb Garden

You can keep the growing season going all year by starting an indoor herb garden. Even with little experience with plants and little space to work with, an herb garden is a great choice. An herb garden is oregano, chives, mint, rosemary and thyme are commonly grown indoors, so pick a few of your favorites to begin. If you like to cook, you will love having fresh herbs right readily available, just snip and sprinkle fresh chives on your steaming baked potato or add some pungent oregano to your special homemade spaghetti sauce.

Start an Herb Garden

In the Sun

In the Sun

To start your herb garden; you must have a sunny window available that receives at least five hours of sunlight per day. Most herbs hail from Mediterranean locales and need the light to thrive. Keep your home between 60º and 70º to create the ideal growing conditions. While you can start your herbs from seeds, it is easier to buy starter plants from a local nursery or farmers market. There are several types of containers you can use for the plants, but terracotta planters are very popular. Make sure your pots have drainage holes in the bottom so your herbs do not rot. Keep a saucer or another similarly shaped item underneath to catch the excess water as it runs through. Whatever container you select should be deep enough to promote proper root development, ideally from 6-12 inches deep. You can plant multiple herbs in one container or select individual 6-inch pots for each plant.

Selecting Soil

A Good Soil

A Good Soil

You should take care when selecting the type of soil for your herbs, as plants are very vulnerable to soil-borne diseases. It is a good idea to go with a store-bought potting mix. Your local gardening center can help you select the right one for your needs. Be sure the mix is lightweight and will drain well. Pour a two or three-inch layer of potting soil into the bottom of your container and place your plant gently in the container. Finish filling it with potting mix, pressing it firmly around the plants. Leave about an inch of space at the top to make room for watering. Do not kill your herbs with kindness by watering too often: Excess water is harmful to the roots and causes rotting. Fertilize your herbs once a month with a product labeled safe to use on edibles. Once you start to see new growth, you can begin to use your herbs for cooking.

Planting in a Peat Pot

Peat Pots

Peat Pots

If you would like to save some money and start your herbs from seed rather than buying seedlings, you will need to babysit your plants a bit more. Many planters are too large to start seeds in, so plant them in a peat pot first. Fill the peat pot with planting mix and then place it in a small bowl of water until the peat pot completely absorbs the water from the bowl. Bury your seeds to a shallow depth (about 3 or 4 times the seed’s diameter), planting a few types of the same seed in one pot. Cover the peat pot with a small plastic bag to simulate a mini greenhouse. Once the seeds have sprouted, you can transplant the entire peat pot into the larger planter. Place your pots in a sunny spot or underneath a grow light if your home does not receive enough natural sunlight. Space out your herbs so that they do not crowd each other and avoid putting your plants near a heating vent to avoid extreme temperature fluctuations.

Here are a few herbs that are particularly well suited for indoor growth:

Basil

Basil

Basil

Basil (Ocimum basilicum) is simple to grow from seed but it needs bright light and warm temperatures.

Chives

Chives

Chives

This member of the onion family is best used fresh. Chives (Allium schoenoprasum) like bright light and cool temperatures.

Dill

Dill

Dill

Choose a dwarf variety instead of the standard types that typically grow about 4 feet tall. You will need to make successive plantings to ensure a continuous crop since dill (Anethum graveolens) does not grow back after harvesting.

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is easy to grow from seed and its fresh fragrance can be enjoyed in salads and drinks.

Oregano

Orageno

Oregano

Oregano (Origanum vulgare hirtum) has a sharp, pungent flavor and can be grown from seed.

Rosemary

Rosemary

Rosemary

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) does not always germinate well from seed; grow it from cuttings or as a complete plant from the nursery. The soil needs to be well drained, but do not let it dry out completely.

Thyme

Thyme

Thyme

Many varieties of thyme (Thymus vulgaris) are available. Cover the seed only lightly with soil or not at all if you are starting your thyme from scratch. Keep the plants moist until they are flourishing.

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