Early spring is a great time to plant herbs indoors. They can be grown on windowsills year round, but a spring start aligns perfectly with God’s natural growing schedule, and plants respond well to the natural cycle. You can keep the plants indoors, or else just get them started inside. Then, you can either transplant them to a kitchen garden or place the containers outside in the sunshine when you want and bring them back in when conditions are not so great.
Kitchen Window Herb Garden: Factors for Success
There are several considerations to keep in mind. One is light: most plants need an abundance of it, and won’t grow well in the shade! Here are some gardening tips for starting or keeping your herbs indoors:
- Choose a window that provides six to eight hours a day of natural sunlight, or twelve to sixteen hours of artificial full-spectrum light to yield the best results.
- The temperature of the soil and air around the plants should be as consistent as possible, with few dramatic swings in degree, which is why starting your plants indoors is awesome.
- Water is extremely important! You want to keep those baby seeds and seedlings well watered so the soil does not dry out, but you have to strike a balance without letting the roots ever stand in water. Good advice is to water well, let it dry thoroughly, and quickly water it again. You will have to pay close attention: letting young plants dry out can be stunting or deadly, while too much water rots the tender roots and the herb dies.
- Airflow: herbs, like all plants, like good air flow around them to keep unhealthy bacteria from proliferating and getting out of control. Not too humid or windy are the best conditions, so don’t park your seedlings directly under a vent, but don’t put them in a closet either.
- Nutrients: potting soil should be formulated to allow for good growing conditions and drainage. You should use sterile soil for best results, so don’t dig up backyard dirt and start your plants in it unless you sterilize it first in your oven (oh, by the way, this really stinks up your kitchen). There are a lot of good soils on the market so it’s really easier to just buy a good bag of potting soil to start your herbs in. Don’t worry about fertilizing until you get your plant up and out of the seedling stage. At this point, you can just add a water-based fertilizer with each watering, or use a slow-release granule fertilizer.
- Pesky pests: indoor herbs don’t usually have the pest problems that outdoor grown plants have, but keep an eye out for pesky critters. There are simple, non-toxic solutions to any infestations you might develop so whatever you do, don’t use pesticides on your herbs! You can pick off any big bugs, and use alcohol for the little mealy bugs. For other pests, Google is your friend to find clean pest elimination tricks. The book Organic Plant Protection is a good resource for home gardeners who want to avoid pesticides.
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Most Important for Growing Herbs
If I have to pick the single most important one of these to overall success or failure, I’d say it is watering failures with too little or too much. All of these factors are important, but improper watering destroys more plant seedlings than any other factor.
Keep these simple, but essential, ideas in mind to assure you are covering all the bases necessary to grow a kitchen herb garden.
Have any kitchen window herb growing tips or suggestions?