A little splash of green always brightens dull winter days, especially if that green is edible! With a few seeds, a cup or two of dirt and a sunny window, you will be able to enjoy the fresh taste of summer herbs all winter long.
Most gardeners recommend planting herb seeds in a potting mix rather than potting soil. The mix is lighter and drains better than regular soil or even a fertilized potting soil. And drainage is important. Herbs do not like “wet feet!”
While herbs enjoy an occasional dose of fertilizer, remember that you want to encourage leaf growth, not flower growth. After all, it’s those leaves that yield the rich, fresh taste that enhances cooking flavor.
You can start some herbs from seed if you’re patient. Basil, although slow to start, will grow well in a kitchen window if it receives lots of sun. I have never had much luck with growing parsley from seed. I’m told that it is possible, but apparently my thumb doesn’t possess the correct shade of green!
One of the best ways to grow herbs indoors is to take cuttings from established plants. Oregano, sage and rosemary can be successfully started from cuttings. Again, it’s best to put the cuttings in a potting mix rather than in potting soil. Thyme can be dug from the garden and transplanted into a pot for indoor use. Chives are also a good indoor herb but they take a little extra prep work. At the end of the growing season, dig a clump of chives and put them in a container. Leave the container in the basement or garage for a few days before bringing it inside. After the chives are transported into the house, make sure they have a place in your sunniest window.
Although winter doesn’t offer a lot of gardening options, planting herbs indoors is a satisfying way to capture a bit of summer to last through the chilly days from December to March. With a little planning and some bright winter sunshine, you can enjoy fresh herbs all winter long!
Photo: Fotolia/santiago silver
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