How convenient would it be to have the herbs like cilantro, oregano, parsley, thyme etc grown in your vicinity?Read on to know about growing herbs indoors!
Having a herb garden right inside your house will make it easier for you to reach out for whatever herb you need to prepare the delicacies you intend to cook, right away. Herbs are easy to grow because they can survive even with little maintenance and can flourish in various conditions. Many herbs can also be grown all the year round. And it’s definitely more feasible than buying expensive supermarket produce. Here’s how you turn your herb garden dream into a reality:
Pick a location and plant them in the soil best suited for them:
- A few steps away from your kitchen makes for an ideal location for herb gardening, but any spot receiving about 3 to 4 hours of sunlight per day will be good enough too.
- Herbs can be grown in beds, borders, containers or on windowsills.
- Just like any other plant, soil quality is an important factor in producing a healthy herb plant.
- Herbs require very good drainage, especially during the winter months, when transpiration rates are lowest.
- Adding compost to your soil, about an inch or so on top, helps prevent drainage problems and adds fertilizer to the garden. But, be careful while adding compost. A soil too rich can make your herbs weak and more prone to diseases.
- Maintaining soil pH is also vital because it affects nutrient availability to the plants. The best soil pH for growing herbs is neutral to alkaline although most herbs will tolerate a slightly acid soil. Adding some lime to the soil will increase the pH while sulphur can be used to lower the pH.
Generally, herbs don’t need much fertilizer because the excess of fertilizer will dilute herb’s flavor and aroma.
In a spot receiving optimum sunlight:
Culinary herbs need 3 to 4 hours of sun each day to produce the essential oils that give them their pleasant taste and scent. Herbs that don’t receive their daily allowance of sunshine will not flourish well. Choose a sunny spot, wherever you wish to plant them.
Also, growing herbs in containers will make the relocation of the plants to follow sunnier locations of the house more convenient.
Dry Herbs which are better suited for dry, sunny, Mediterranean conditions are:
Moist herbs which are better suited for moist, cooler, and afternoon shaded locations are:
Water them just as per their requirements:
Give the transplants sufficient water. Most herbs, once established, require routine watering depending on the size and type of plant, the size and type of container, and the time of year. The best way to tell when a plant needs water is to stick your finger one inch into the soil. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water. During winters, plants are in the dormant stage and grow less actively, therefore needing less water. But keep a regular check on the moisture level in soil with the onset of spring, when herbs start growing actively.
Fertilize them regularly:
Generally, herbs don’t need much fertilizer because the excess of fertilizer will dilute herb’s flavor and aroma. However, container-grown herbs may need an extra bit of care. They continuously use up nutrients as they grow as the fertilizer leaches out from the potting mix every time you water. To ensure healthy-growing herbs, supplementary feeding of liquid fertilizer or organic fish emulsion is necessary. Feed herbs once a week when plants are actively growing, but not when dormant.
Quick tip: While harvesting, don’t snip more than one-third of the plant at a time. If you do so, it will take much time for the plant to recover and produce new foliage.
Keep them safe from pests and diseases:
Herbs do not get invaded by pests as often as vegetables because the scent of their oil repels pests. But check herbs regularly because you may meet a handful of pests in your garden occasionally. Here are a few strategies to protect your herbs:
- Make sure your herbs are in good health and are well-watered.
- Remove affected leaves; pull out severely infested plants and throw them away before the problem spreads.
- If your herbs are in containers, you can control pests by dipping the whole above-ground part of the plant into insecticidal soap solution. Dipping the plant once or twice a week for three to four weeks will clear up most problems.
There’s nothing like the taste of herbs harvested from your own garden, nothing more satisfying than growing your own herbs. So why not give herb growing a go this year!