Using herbs in your cooking really takes things up a notch. Fresh herbs, in particular, add loads of unique flavor and even health benefits.
Buying fresh herbs at the store, however, can quickly become costly. You also don't always know what you're getting, either: it's very likely that the store bought herbs could be treated with questionable chemicals that you would rather avoid.
Enter the kitchen herb garden. By growing your own herbs, you can have a lot more control over what goes into the food you eat. The flavor is also about as good as it gets, since the herbs can be picked as you're cooking.
How to Grow Herbs In Your Kitchen
One thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that most culinary herbs need a lot of light. For this reason, you’ll probably want to place your herb garden near a window. That’s not all there is to it though, since every home is different and not all windows even get a great amount of sunlight. If you have a shady yard, you know that not a lot of light comes in through the windows. Even if you don’t have a kitchen window, or if it’s in an inconvenient area, you can still ensure that your plants get plenty of light.
How? Electric light sources. That’s right, grow lights! There are actually several types of plant lights available that allow you to grow plants anywhere, as long as there’s an electric outlet available to plug in a UV light.
What to Look for in a Grow Light
There are a few different types of plant lights to choose from, and the one you use is going to depend on what type of plants you’re growing.
Not only do you need to plan for how far away the lights need to be from the plant, you’ll also need to consider how the lights are positioned in your space. For example, some lights hang from the ceiling. Other lights might be clipped on to a nearby surface. You can even get UV bulbs that fit any lamp so you can create a plant light solution that fits your exact needs.
Starts or Seeds
Deciding whether to start out with seeds or young plants depends on how quickly you want to enjoy fresh herbs from your kitchen garden. If you start out with seeds, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you cultivated your own culinary herbs from scratch. If you decide to use starts, you have the advantage of quicker harvesting and avoiding all the questions that come along with growing plants from seeds.
Another option is to do both: you can purchase starts and plant seeds at the same time to start enjoying a kitchen herb garden while simultaneously growing your own herbs from seeds. This is a great way to get the best of both worlds.
How to Plant An Indoor Herb Garden From Seeds
Choose a container that fits the space you want to keep your indoor herb garden in and plant the seeds directly. Each seed packet you use will probably have some instructions on how to plant: keep in mind that your indoor herbs might be able to get away with closer quarters than outdoor plants. You’ll be thinning your plants out constantly as you use the herbs in your cooking so they won’t be using as much energy as plants that are left to grow all season in the garden.
To plant an indoor garden from seed:
Fill your chosen container with regular potting soil.
Plant seeds according to package instructions, crowding seeds by 1/2
Use a spray bottle to dampen the soil down to 1”
Keep soil moist and warm (using sunlight or electronic UV) until germination.
Water new plants regularly to encourage growth.
You can tell if your new herb garden needs watering by the way the soil looks: if it looks dry, your plants are probably thirsty. Using a spray bottle to water your herb garden is a great way to avoid overwatering and ensure that your plants’ leaves don’t dry out.
Which Herbs Should I Grow?
When it comes to choosing herbs for your indoor herb garden, it’s a good idea to choose herbs that you know your family will enjoy often, of course. If you enjoy Italian food, you will want to grow oregano, basil, and rosemary. If you often cook Mexican or Indian food, consider growing cilantro. Other great options are garlic, mint, and green onion which are all quite versatile.