Grow a Kitchen Herb Garden

Herb gardens make an easy, tasty addition to your winter kitchen.
Herbs on Windowsill

Herbs on Windowsill

In the upper Midwest where I live, it feels like a long wait for those first veggie plants to come peeking up through the ground — and even longer until they’re ready for harvest.

In the meantime, I’m getting my fix of growing edible plants by planting a kitchen herb garden. Not only is it an easy project, but it feels so good to look at something living and green this time of year.

Plus, have you priced fresh herbs at the grocery store lately? Talk about a great way to lower the supermarket bill!

What to Grow

Ask yourself:

— Which herbs do I use most? If you use a lot of a certain herb, you may want to grow two or three plants at a time.

— Which herbs can I reasonably care for? Some herbs are super-simple to grow and can be used in a variety of dishes, like chives, peppermint, and parsley. Basil and thyme require more sunlight and can be a little more difficult to grow indoors, especially during the shorter days of winter. Do a little research to make sure you’re picking the right herbs.

Where You’ll Put It

An indoor herb garden can be as simple as a row of potted plants or a more complicated decorative herb garden. Do you have a windowsill or counter that gets about 6 hours of sunlight a day? You’ve got the perfect place for your garden.

Planting Your Herbs

Consider your containers and spacing. For example, it’s not a good idea to plant rosemary (which likes dry soil) in the same container with a  water-loving herb.  And mint has a reputation for taking over containers and choking out other plants entirely.

Once you’ve figured out what to group together, use high-quality soil and follow the directions on your seed packets. When in doubt, give the plants more room than you think they’ll need.

Maintaining Your Herb Garden

Turn the plants frequently, make sure the water is draining to avoid rot, and go light on the fertilizer. “Pinch” back the tops of the plants with  scissors or even your fingernails frequently to keep them from flowering.

As soon as your herbs are mature, go ahead and harvest! Just don’t remove too much of the plant at once – no more than 1/3.

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