How to Grow An Indoor Herb Garden

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Many people love to use fresh herbs to liven up their meals. Did you know you can easily grow an indoor herb garden? And if you grow herbs indoors you will have access to fresh herbs all year long without spending a fortune at the grocery store.

A basil plant on a sunny windowsill or a few Mediterranean herbs on the kitchen counter can brighten up almost any meal.

But there are a few things you need to know before you plan your garden. Let’s look at what you need to do to ensure success when growing herbs indoors.

an indoor herb garden in a hydroponic system
This herb garden has grown a great deal in less than 2 months. I’ve been harvesting regularly from these plants for my winter meals.

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Decide Where to Grow Your Indoor Herbs

First, you need to decide where to grow your indoor herb garden. A south-facing window that gets a good bit of sun (6+ hours of sunlight a day) is best. Having enough light is one of the most important factors in determining the success of your indoor herbs.

If you don’t have an area that receives much sunlight, your best bet will be to look at using a hydroponic system or purchase an LED grow light. We will look at some of these systems later.

You can start your herbs from seeds or plants if you are growing your herb garden in soil. However, if you are growing hydroponically, you will want to start it from seed in the soil sponges or plant pods that are included with most hydroponic grow systems.

Planting Herbs in Containers

When choosing a planting container, be sure the containers have drainage holes in the bottom of the pot. Most herbs don’t like to sit in water, so you want to use a container that will allow any extra water to drain out the bottom.

You will also need a saucer or drip trays to collect the excess water that drains from the holes.

Plant seeds or herb plants in a good quality potting mix. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy. Good drainage is essential for herbs to grow well.

If you don’t want to put together your own setup, you can often find a complete herb garden starter kit that includes seeds.

Hydroponic Systems

There are many cute hydroponic systems on the market now if you choose to go this route. The most popular one is the AeroGarden but there are many other setups now too.

A hydroponic garden is a great way to grow herbs during the winter months when you may not receive much direct sunlight during that time of year.

Most hydroponic gardens come with everything you need to get started except maybe the seeds. Most systems include a light panel, a water tank, and a filtering system. The one I tested even came with a fan to ensure good air circulation.

I tested the iDOO hydroponic grow system for this post and loved it. I did have a few seeds that failed to germinate, but I think that was the fault of the seeds, not the grow system.

an indoor herb garden in a hydroponic system
This herb garden had seeds that germinated at vastly different rates. However, the dill, basil, and oregano have been delicious in my wintertime meals.

I also had an early version of the AeroGarden that lasted many years.

For just a few herbs, I recommend purchasing one of the systems instead of trying to put a kit together yourself.

How to Maintain Your Herb Garden

Maintaining your herb garden is fairly simple. Water the herbs when the top couple of inches of potting soil has dried out.

If you aren’t sure when the soil is dry, you can purchase a moisture meter to measure the moisture in your soil. Fertilize occasionally with a diluted fertilizer at 1/4 strength or you can purchase fertilizer spikes that you stick directly in the soil.

If you are using a hydroponic grow system it will usually show you when you need to fill up the water tank and add fertilizer.

And don’t forget to harvest your herbs regularly. Harvesting will help keep the plants healthy and continually growing.

You may occasionally have to pot up your herbs in containers into a larger pot. Or you can plant them outdoors in larger containers or directly in your garden when the weather warms up.

How to Harvest Herbs From Your Indoor Herb Garden

The best way to harvest herbs from your garden is to snip off a sprig or two to use when cooking. Don’t take more than one-third of the plant at any time or you may stress the herb too much.

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What Many People Won’t Tell You About Growing Herbs Indoors

Here’s what many people don’t tell you about growing herbs inside. Eventually, those herbs are going to outgrow their container. They will need to be potted up to larger (and larger) containers.

Even with a hydroponic system, your herbs are eventually going to get too large for the growing container.

It is very difficult to keep a herb garden growing indoors indefinitely. However, with a little planning, you can keep fresh herbs year ’round.

Growing Fresh Herbs All Year – The Plan

If you want to grow fresh herbs all year, it is entirely possible. You just need a plan. And I’ve got the plan for you.

Start your herb garden indoors, preferably in the fall. Grow the herbs through the winter inside using whatever method you choose.

Once spring arrives and you are past your last expected frost, plant the herbs outdoors in containers or directly in the garden.

Keep them watered over the summer and harvest from them frequently.

Before your first frost in the fall, take cuttings from the herbs you want to grow inside and root them to make new plants.

Once they start to root, plant them in your herb containers and keep the cycle going. Now you can grow herbs all year long!

You won’t believe the money you can save with a few pots of herbs in a sunny spot in your kitchen. And the best part is that once you have your own indoor herb garden, you’ll be inspired to use those different herbs in so many ways. And the flavor of homegrown herbs can’t be beat!

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