From Oregano in October, to Mint in March, Indoor Herb Gardening Is Every Cook’s Secret Ingredient
Rosemary, cilantro, dill, lemongrass, chives, basil, parsley. Don’t you agree, these magnificent herbs make any dish better? And picking a fresh sprig is way better than opening a jar? So do we! Here some tips for how to care for potted herbs.
Good Ideas Going to Pot
Different herbs may require slightly different care, so it helps to plant each herb in its own pot, or group herbs with similar needs together. Use a quality potting mix, be sure there’s good drainage and yes to plant food twice a year. You can buy most herbs at the garden center, but definitely check for pests before you plant them at home.
Rules of (Green) Thumb
Good news. Taking care of herbs is uncomplicated, leaving you more time to decide between making veal parmigiana or rosemary chicken.
- Find a Sunny Spot Natural light, and lots of it, grows herbs the best. Four hours of sun is optimum and can usually be found near windows that face south or southwest. East- or west-facing spots are nice, too. But if you don’t want your herbs to go south, avoid the north.
- Is It Cold In Here? Herbs are like people. They feel best when the room is about 65-70 degrees. But no need to coddle them. They’re resilient, and can thrive at night, even on a windowsill. (But keep their leaves from touching the glass.)
- The Dreaded Droop Ovens can get hot. Heated homes in winter – even air-conditioned rooms – can get dry. Herbs in distress will let you know they need attention by the simple act of wilting. Resuscitate by watering and they’ll perk up fast. You may even consider a weekly shower.
- Avoid Soggy Feet If your herbs are planted in pots – especially terra cotta ones – there will be drainage. You should protect the surfaces under pots with saucers that you keep an eye on. Herbs don’t like sitting in water while their roots rot.
Interior Design, Not Inferior Design
Keeping herbs at hand means they’ll be “on display” in the kitchen. So if traditional terra cotta doesn’t reflect your inner decorator, think out of the pot. Cover tin cans with beautiful printed paper from the craft store. Hang an arrangement of clear drinking glasses from the ceiling. Group mason jars in a wicker basket. Be creative, but match your kitchen’s décor, so the herb containers blend in seamlessly. Just like the flavors in a good stew.