During the COVID pandemic, bare shelves and picked-over products became the visual reminder that nothing was normal or typical, and some shoppers simply purchased whatever meats, canned goods, and other essentials were available.
For some, though, a home garden, backyard chickens, or flourishing fruit trees might have provided easy access to foods that were lacking on store shelves. Even during typical times, though, embracing self-sufficiency can save you money at the store…especially when demand soars over supply. Herbs are one of the easiest gardens to grow, and you don’t even need a backyard! Here’s how to grow herbs indoors!
What Herbs Grow Best Indoors?
Before you start picking out cute pots are planters for your seeds, you need to know what herbs grow best indoors. Some plants require lots of sunlight, others don’t need much light at all. Some rooms of your home may be more—or less—ideal for plant life. When you’re looking to begin an indoor herb garden, Gardeners.com recommends choosing these herb varieties:
- Bay laurel
What Do I Need to Grow Herbs Indoors?
Sun, water, and soil are the key ingredients for happy plants. However, how much water and sun each plant requires is dependent on the variety. Oregano, parsley, rosemary, and mint love strong light (or, in some cases, moderate light). Other herbs—like basil–need sunny placement, too.
For plants that need strong sunny rays, locate your indoor garden in a room where sunlight is optimal. If there isn’t a place where the sun will shine directly on plants that need the light, then you might opt for a grow light.
Watering needs may be unique to each herb; research all plants so you know how much water to provide and how frequently you need to provide it. Watering too much or not enough could cause your plants to wilt or die. The benefit of an indoor garden, though, is that you may save money on watering, as you won’t be dependent on using sprinklers (which can get costly!).
How Do You Grow Herbs Indoor All-Year Round?
Our homes remain a fairly consistent temperature throughout the year, although this depends on the area. During the winter, the thermostat may drop to 68 degrees, but in the summer our indoor temps may be adjusted closer to 80.
Plants thrive in different temperatures. According to Gardeners.com, “Rosemary tolerates hot, sunny, dry locations in the summer months, but prefers cooler temperatures (40 to 65 degrees F) in the winter, as long as the light is strong.” If you’re concerned about how your plants will thrive indoors, talk to a gardening expert at your local nursery.
How Do I Start an Indoor Herb Garden?
You might only use certain herbs in your recipes or meals. The best way to decide on how to start an indoor herb garden is to evaluate what herbs you actually use. The smell of mint might be refreshing, but it might not be the best herb for your garden if you never plan to use it.
If you’re completely unsure what herbs are useful for certain dishes, here’s a bit of a cheat sheet for each indoor-compatible herb:
This is a favorite herb for dishes like margherita pizza (basil, tomato, and mozzarella), pesto, and, lots of pasta recipes (use it in spaghetti and lasagna), and toss it in some soups, too!
The bay leaf is dropped into many recipes for added taste and dimension. Soups and stews commonly call for bay, and Taste of Home breaks down why this little leaf is an important ingredient for these warm comfort foods.
Sour cream and chives! So good on baked potatoes and for creating the perfect dip for chips. Use chives to top soups, too!
Perfect for adding a refreshing zest to tea, topping desserts, drinks (the Mint Julep) and more!
Most of us add oregano to pasta sauces to add flavor, but MasterClass states that this herb also is used in olive oil dishes, too.
This herb is more than just that cute garnish to make a dish look pretty and finished. The Cooking Channel notes that this herb has a “slightly peppery” flavor and offers a list of recipes that call for pops of parsley.
Add rosemary to pot roasts, chicken, potatoes and more. The herb has a unique and distinct flavor that can elevate even basic dishes. Just don’t add too much…a little does go a long way!
Growing an indoor garden allows you to embrace self-sufficiency and rely less on the availability of store offered products (which may still be in low supply). Herbs may be an easy option for those who are new to gardening. Many herb varieties can be grown indoors, but it’s important to research water, soil and sunlight needs to ensure that they thrive…and survive. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a gardening expert at your local nursery if you have questions about starting your garden or need help finding the right supplies.