December 12, 2022
There is nothing better than a fresh supply of herbs from your home garden to use in the recipes. You don't have to be a seasoned gardener to grow herbs at home. You also don't need a large space to grow herbs. They can be grown easily in small containers on window sills. Starting herbs from seeds is similar to sowing other types of garden vegetables. Most herb seed germination can occur indoors using a seed-starting flat with quality potting or seed-starting soil.
If it is the first time you are trying your hands on growing herbs, start with some easy-to-grow herbs like parsley, basil, coriander, and mint. Growing herbs in containers have an advantage because you can always bring your herbs inside in harsh winters.
Now, when should you grow your herb garden? Start growing herbs in early spring to late summer since this is a good time to grow most of them. Extreme winters with frost can hamper the herb's growth.
For indoor herb cultivation, you can grow them all year round. Choose containers that have enough drainage holes at the bottom. As a beginner, it is important to have many drainage holes because overwatering plants can make the soil soggy and cause root rot. Pick containers that match the size of the herbs you are planning to grow. If the pot is too large, the plant will spend all its energy on growing roots. If the container is too small, the plant will become root-bound in no time.
Herbs need sunlight to thrive and choosing a great location helps in the proper growth of your plants. Choose a sunny or well-lit space in your home where you can place the containers or pots. A sunny corner receiving 4 to 6 hours of direct sunlight near the kitchen is a perfect spot. Some herbs such as lemongrass, mint, chives, and lemon balm can grow in low light conditions.
To grow herbs, use potting soil and not garden soil. Garden soil is dense and not well-draining and can hamper the plant's growth. Most herbs are forgiving and can grow in poor soils but try to provide enough drainage for best growth. Put some gravel and stones at the bottom of the container to improve drainage.
Herbs grow best in soil that drains well and is rich in nutrition. Adding some organic matter helps immensely on both fronts. Once the danger of frost has passed, herbs can be directly seeded into the garden. Remember to sow herb seeds lightly. Cover the seeds sparsely with soil. As a general rule, bury the seed at a depth that equals twice the thickness of the seed.
Herbs also have different life cycles. Some herbs such as basil and cilantro are annuals whereas others such as parsley and caraway are biennials. Perennial herbs such as oregano, thyme, sage, mint, and chives do not need replanting. Once established, they come back every year. Some sensitive perennial herbs such as stevia and rosemary are best grown in pots so that they can be shifted inside in winter.
The time of harvest is the most exciting moment for herb gardeners because not only can you enjoy the bounty but you can also smell the success! It is easier to harvest the herbs if they are all in one place. So instead of scattering the seeds all over at different spots, try to plant one kind of herb at one spot. Spread 2 to 3 seeds in each tray if you are sowing the seeds in trays and 5 to 7 seeds if sowing them directly in pots. Plant the seeds 5 to 6 inches apart from each other. Sufficient spacing helps the plant to develop fully. Keep the seed tray in a warm and well-lit space for germination.