What Is It
Growing herbs indoors can be very rewarding.
It can help discipline yourself into taking care of something and also getting something out of it in return.
You grow the herbs and the herbs provide you with a wonderful tasting leaf- better than anything you get out of the supermarket.
Finding out where they do best and what conditions are ‘perfect’ for them.
Where’s the best spot in your house to grow them.
It is also very good for beginners as they are cheap to buy – and if they look like they are not going to survive then you can make the most of them by eating them…
You also get to grow what you want ( almost) when you want to ( as long as the house is warm and dry).
So growing indoor herbs is a wonderful introduction to a larger hobby or a means to an end for cooking with very fresh produce.
How Difficult Is It
Well plants are a bit like us really.
What they need to thrive is similar to us.
They need light, food, water, air and support.
Just describing them from that – you probably couldn’t tell them apart from us…
Once you have them potted up and in the light you have supplied 4 out of 5 needs – theÂ only one left is the water and this is something you get into the habit of doing.
So is it easy – yes once you have them setup.
The stressful bit is getting them in the right place, finding out whether they need well drained soil ( most do due to the fact that the roots will rot is soaked in water for a long time) and what temperature they like.
After this little bit of settling then it is down to adding water – and maybe the occasional treat in the form of plant food.
What Would You Grow To Start
Something you want to use.
Do you cook spaghetti bolognese or like pesto.
Well…basil would be a good one to start – if your house doesn’t get too cold you can grow it year round and it is easy and quick to start from seed.
You could try oregano and thyme along with rosemary ( I would buy a small plant rather than grow from seed).
Do you eat soups – like a bit of garnish – maybe parsley or chives.
It really does depend on what you would use.
The more use you would get , the better care you will take of it.
You can even grow chili’s year round, if that is your thing.
How Would You Grow It
It is better if you grow each herb in a separate pot.
This way if there are problems it is easy to remove and replace the one herb rather than disturbing a lot of others roots systems.
Good drainage in the bottom of the pot and a growing medium that stays moist but not soaked.
So that rules out most garden soils – along with the bugs you will bring in…
The purchased composts have been treated to prevent bugs from attacking your plants, but still be good at drainage and feeding your plants.
Although if you want to go away from soil altogether that is not a problem.
Hydroponics is a method of growing plants in a nutrient solution – no mess – no soil.
It is my preferred method of growing – and appears to have the herbs last as long as you want.
I have had basil plants lasting 5 or 6 years and chili plants over 12….
Just replace the nutrient solution every two weeks or so and top up daily if necessary…how easy is that?
Good lighting is a key factor to growing healthy tasty herbs.
So if you have a south facing windowsill then you can place them in there.
You need to keep an eye on the temperature in the window, so you don’t cook your herbs, and they will dry out a bit quicker than out of the sunlight.
If you don’t have a south facing window you can always try growing herbs where you want them – if they start growing leggy or start having yellowy leaves then this is down to a lack of light.
So adding an artificial light will help to be able to grow them wherever you want to.
Going back to the hydroponics, a unit called the aerogarden covers all of the needs of herbs.
It has support, light, a bit of heat, nutrient and air – so everything that your plants need.
This is my goto indoor hydroponics unit.
There are plenty of other stylish units – some for style only but the aerogarden is a workhorse in whatever guise you get it in.
Be it the small compact three unit or going right up to the farm unit which has 120 planting spaces and can grow tall plants.
If you use compost when growing your herbs indoors then you need to watch out for contamination, spillage and stressing the plants by drying out.
How Much Does It Cost
For a low cost introduction then i would grow in compost.
Never grow in soil indoors as there multiple pathogens which are not good for you.
I know there is a movement towards the fact that we are divorced from soil and we actually need to eat more of it to help our gut bacteria, but there is a limit – especially with young children around where they may interact with the soil and then eat without removing the excess.
But i digress…
The next level up is to create an artificial environment for your indoor herb plants.
Adding a grow light and possibly a watering system will assist your plants grow more efficiently.
And moving up from this is the hydroponic systems designed for indoors.
For this system you start to learn about what the plants need to eat.
How to get the most flavor out of your herbs by changing the composition of their food and light and day length.
How quick you can grow your crop.
And what you can grow indoors
And then it is into speciality environmental chambers for specialized plants.
So growing exotics – like bananas in your living room.
What Do You Get Out Of Growing Herbs Indoors
You get a supply of fresh tasty herbs that you can use in cooking, freeze for later – give away – create gifts.
And you know what goes into your herbs – no insecticides – other than what you spray on them.
No sterilizing the ground before you put the crop in.
You get the added bonus of the oxygen given off by the herbs.
And they get to absorb the carbon dioxide you breathe outÂ – so talking to your plants really does help them grow…
But the flavor and freshness will make up for any hassle growing them has been.
Learning how to store them after harvesting – keeping basil in a glass of water for a couple of weeks or putting chili’s into the freezer for months…
So what sort of indoor herb garden are you going to grow.
Are you going for the traditional compost based system or will you be trying the newer cleaner hydroponics system?
Let me know in the comments what you are going to grow and how it goes.
Thanks for reading
I have been growing plants hydroponically since 2009. For years before that i was reading books and looking at systems and saying ...no way...
But once i had taken the plunge with the tomatoes outside, then there was no stopping me.
I tried out most of the systems and started to refine them, getting the plants to grow more efficiently.
Now I am more interested in indoor hydroponics and the challenges it presents. Being able to control the environment, feeding the correct nutrients and giving the correct length and type of lighting....