Basil, thyme, sage
. These are indispensable herbs, and they grew in abundance on our front stoop all summer. It's too cold outdoors now, but we don't like paying $2.50 per packet at the supermarket.
Fortunately it's not difficult to grow these herbs indoors - even in a tiny kitchen.
One big pot, some potting soil, and a few herb plants are all you need. You should also have a sunny spot; the herbs will need plenty of direct sunshine.
Step-by-step pictures below... Some of you already have your container garden moved inside, and new plant projects going for the winter. This project is not for you, already gifted with a green thumb! This project is for those of us who just need a little push to get anything green in our house at all in the winter! Any advice on growing herbs indoors? Please share below!
1. Pot and tray - Buy a large, deep plant pot. This one is at least 7 gallons. Make sure there is at least one small hole in the bottom for drainage. If you have easy access to some stones or gravel, put a few inches of stones at the bottom of the pot to promote drainage.
Also make sure you buy a plastic or ceramic tray for under the pot to keep drained water from dripping on the floor.
2. Hardy herbs - Choose a variety of herbs for this pot. We chose cooking herbs - sage, sweet basil, and caraway thyme. We liked the different sizes and heights; sage grows tall, while basil is more bushy. The thyme is a creeper that grows flat to the ground. It has a tendency to take over its environment, so we will trim it back regularly.
Choosing herbs: We had a hard time finding herbs until we went to a nursery. They had just a few hardy specimens left, including the sage and thyme. Sometimes Trader Joe's has basil, too.
We used three small basil plants, one tall and leggy sage, and a small thyme creeper. This may have been too much; if they start crowding each other and pruning doesn't help we'll pull out a basil. The caraway thyme has a wonderful fragrance, by the way, and it may bloom with tiny pink flowers later in the year.
3. Soil and water - Fill the pot up with soil, stopping about 3 inches from the top. Moisten the soil lightly but thoroughly with water and mix it until evenly wet. It shouldn't be dripping wet - just loosely muddy.
Dig a small hole, deep down. Remove one of the plants from its nursery container. Gently loosen the soil around its roots. You don't want to tear the roots apart - just loosen them up a bit. Put in the hole and pack about an inch of dirt over top of the root ball. Repeat for the other plants, giving them several inches of room between each other. Water again when finished.
Water when the leaves look droopy.
4. Water and sun - Put the pot on its drainage tray. Place anywhere it can get full sun. You'll need as much weak winter sun as you can get. Don't overwater; pour in a cup of water wherever and whenever leaves look droopy.
For cooking, cut leaves and stems off the tops first - not the sides.
Time, not including shopping: 20 minutes
Cost: $35-$50, depending on the cost of the pot and amount of plants
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