How to Grow: Indoor Herb Garden

Learn about the best way to grow an indoor herb garden in your home this winter.

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There’s nothing like the taste and smell of fresh herbs in winter. Thyme, basil, oregano and rosemary all remind us of warmer days ahead, but why wait? You can grow your own herb garden indoors, right now. You just have to the right herbs in the right conditions.

It’s best to select herbs that grow well indoors this time of year. While cilantro and dill are tasty, save those for the summer garden. Mediterranean herbs, such as rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage and parsley, all do well on a windowsill herb garden, as do chives and mint. Many of these herbs can be started from seed, while others, such as rosemary, are best purchased as plants or rooted from cuttings. Some varieties are better suited to indoor growing than others. ‘Grolau’ chives, ‘Blue Boy’ rosemary and ‘Dwarf Garden’ Sage all produce compact plants good for pot culture. English mint stays more compact and Greek oregano has the best flavor.

Once you have the herbs, you’ll need the right spot to grow them. You can grow herbs in sunny, south-facing window, but they’ll need at least 4 to 6 hours of direct sun a day and warm temperatures. I prefer a grow light system. Using a shop light fixture and full spectrum lights, you can even grow basil indoors. Turn the lights on 14 hours a day and place a heating pad under the pots to keep their roots warm and hasten growth. Keep the lights only a few inches from the top of the plants. Keep the herbs well watered and fertilized every few weeks with an organic, liquid plant food. Before you know it, you’ll be baking up fresh herb muffins from your indoor garden.

And now for this week’s tip, if you find your house plants have cottony growth in the leaves or stems, your plant may have mealybugs. To remove them, take a cotton swab, dip it in rubbing alcohol and dab the bugs.

From the Vermont Garden Journal on Vermont Public Radio

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