An indoor Herb Garden is wonderful for beginners. Once you start using your fresh herbs, you will most likely want to grow more different types of herbs. I picked four that are versatile and have many uses. I’m just trying to get you used to using what you grow, and how much better your food will taste with fresh herbs. So many uses I have in store for your herb garden. So, let’s get started.
Places to put Your Herb Garden:
Make sure you get pots to fit your house. If your planning on a sunny windowsill, or a table by the window, make sure you have room for the pot. Herbs grow great in the smallest of containers, though I suggest slightly larger for the chives, or two chive plant,. however you can fit them. We don’t want them too far from the kitchen, so try to fit them in the windowsill, or a table by the window. The pots need drainage, so make sure they have holes to drain excess water. Most herbs have small root systems, so they don’t like sitting in water.
Call me crazy, but I prefer to use cans for my herb windowsill garden. I use a large tomato can for my chives, and smaller cans for my basil, sage, and parsley. I prefer the cans that have the painted on labels as opposed to the paper labels. But you can paint or cover any can to your taste. Get creative and make it your own. I am always on the lookout when I go to flea markets and yard sales for the dishes to put under my can of herbs to hold excess water. It’s amazing how many ways you can decorate with the dishes you set your cans into. Odd pieces of old sets of dishes, and some were probably just ornamental small trays for candy or mints. Either way, you can make your own unique and beautiful display for your herbs. You can find long trays that people used as garnish trays. There’s always plenty of those at the resale. These dishes, long and rectanglular , have limited uses, so people who are not entertaining a lot or care about what they put their garnishes on enough to have a special tray for them usually discard them for storage space reasons. That’s my thought. It seems logical because there are so many at the resale shops. I personally put my side garnishes on the plate. My friends that have dinner at my house are not impressed by my plates, they are impressed by my food. I use the garnish plate for my herbs.
Let’s start with the four Herbs I picked for you:
Basil, Parsley,Sage, and Chives
Sweet Basil is the versatile Herb. It is what I like for a multitude of uses. You can use Sweet Basil for Italian dishes, sauces, soups, and pesto.
I like Broadleaf Sage. It’s very versatile, wonderful in sausages, poultry, meat, bread, dressings, vegetables, omelets, and stuffing. Experiment with it. Add it to dishes to pump up flavor. You’ll love sage. I shake the leaves when I walk by and the aroma of the sage fills up the kitchen. Now, I am getting hungry.
I like the flat leaf, but you can grow any kind. All types of Parsley works well
Not just for freshening you breath. You see parsley on the plates of several restaurant dishes. It’s purpose is to neutralize your palate. Mostly after high garlic and onion dishes. It has many other uses too. I use parsley in salads, soups and stews. Marvelous in chicken and dumplings. Excellent in beef stew. Very economic dishes and very good winter food. I like them anytime, but winter is great for soups and stews.You can put parsley in anything. So, when your parsley is ready to prune, throw the leaves and stems in what ever your cooking
There’s a million zillion reasons to grow chives. Who wouldn’t want fresh chives on your baked potato? I absolutely cannot eat a baked potato without them. That’s why we grow our own. You will always have fresh chives for any dish. I love them on everything. Fried potatoes, soups, italian dishes. You can make chive and garlic butter for garlic bread. So Yummy. You will see how many things you can throw chives into. I did a post on chives, it has so many uses. Also works as a natural pest control and planting chives in your outdoor garden helps in many ways also. So read my post on Chives.
Preparing your Herb Garden:
Herbs require very little care, other than watering. I don’t fertilize my herbs, I just use a good soil to start with. Miracle grow soil is great, it has everything it needs to grow bountiful and healthy. Or good potting soil of any kind. Remember though, Parsley likes to dry out a little between watering so always water them sparingly. Chives like a little moist, basil and sage like less water. You will know when your leaves start to droop or turn brown that its time to water.
Your herbs will outgrow your pot eventually, so try to set some outside in your garden in the spring. You can put herbs anywhere. They make beautiful borders and ornamental showings of gorgeous herbs. We will get to the many herbs that are wonderful in your flower garden, or a separate garden just for herbs if you have the room. I have my chives next to my rose bush for many reasons. They inhibit and discourage aphids and you can make teas from chive leaves to spray on roses for powdery leaves. Giant on my list for uses, and a great alternative to chemicals. Yay
I suggest you start with plants as opposed to seeds
. If seeds are all that’s available then start them now. You will have herbs to use in about 8 weeks. Sow the seeds in the pot and cover with a half inch of dirt and keep them moist till they start to sprout. Then, weed out the seed sprouts to no more than 3 seedlings. You don’t want to crowd your pot. Plant excess seedlings in cans like I use and give them away. Paying forward good advice has a tremendous impact on someone who never tried herb gardening indoors. It could just be that little push to get your friends to want to start eating and living healthier too. That’s actually how I got started with my indoor herbs. I had all that information as a young girl, but we grow up and move away from tradition. My friend started her own herb garden. I remember the day I went to her house and seen the beautiful herbs growing in her windowsill. She gave me some that she had just thinned out from her seedlings and the rest is history. I started cutting and throwing my herbs in everything I ate. It’s so awesome. That’s what my mom did as I was growing up, but I strayed from home goodness and took to the easier way. Little did I know, growing your own herbs is the easier way! I don’t have to run to the store when I need them. The ones I grow are so much better than the dried ones in a jar. Though, drying your own is an option, your dried herbs are so much better too. You will use your dried herbs way before they get old. Bottled herbs from the store are already a year old.
I have lots of recipes for mixing herbs for special dishes so all you have to do is use one bottle. All that will come when you are ready to master growing herbs in your garden, as you will need more herbs so you can dry enough to make the spice concoctions I have ready to cook with.
So, look for these herbs for my starter project on growing herbs indoors. If you can’t find the ones I suggested, you can try other varieties. That will be fine. The ones here are my personal favorite for their many uses.
Tips and Useful Advice:
If you get overrun with too many herbs, freeze them in ice cube trays. Add a little water and freeze. After frozen, pop out cubes and place two in each snack bag, then put them in a quart bag. Keep them separated so you know what you have. Write in permanent marker on the quart bags what they are. My reason for this is these will come in handy if you don’t have enough fresh for a dish your making or you can save them up and use them when we start canning. Yes, preparing you for the canning project that you will successfully conquer with my help. So start saving those herbs for later use. Chop up herbs and push them into the ice cube sections. Pack as much as you can in one so it’s mostly herbs, less water. Finish off tray with water to keep them together for storage.
Keep your herbs from flowering. Most herbs lose some flavor after they flower. Probably because it takes so much energy to flower. You’ll lose some flavor, so keep the flowers from blooming by pinching regularly. If you want seeds for outside growing when the season is right, allow one portion to flower, collect the seeds and pinch off the flower bud. Your herb will continue to grow and regain its flavor.
Remember 6 hours of sun each day in a sunny window or sitting on a table close to a window.
Ratio of fresh herbs to dried: One tbsp of fresh herbs are equal to One tsp of dried. So, that means you use more fresh than dried.
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Thank you….Have a Bountiful Day
Founder of bountifulharvesting.com