Fresh, aromatic herbs can add a punch of flavor to your favorite dishes and growing your own is easier than you might think. If you have abundant outdoor space, try growing a variety of your favorites in the ground or in large pots. Many herbs, however, can also be grown indoors and bring new life to your living space – even if the only space you have is a narrow windowsill.
- Choose your pots and plants. For a windowsill herb garden, use several small pots, ideally six inches deep with drain holes and saucers, or one long narrow pot with a tray to collect water and protect your sill. A south-facing window or any window that gets at least six hours of sunlight can serve as an herbaceous home for basil, chives, mint, parsley, rosemary and thyme, for example.
- Select a soilless potting mix. Fill your pots with 2-3 inches of well-draining soilless potting mix, such as sphagnum peat moss, then remove your herb starts from their containers and transfer them to your pots. Finish filling with mix, leaving about 1 inch of space at that top for watering.
- Water after planting, but water sparingly. Herbs don’t like to sit in water, so be sure to drain the saucers if water accumulates and allow them to dry somewhat in between waterings. About every other month, feed your plants with a fertilizer that’s appropriate for edibles, following the package directions.
- Allow your plants some time to adapt. Once they grow to be about 6 inches, you can typically snip 2 – 3 inches of the herb tips to encourage growth and to enjoy for cooking. But avoid trimming more than a third of the foliage to keep your plants thriving. For bushy herbs, like parsley and cilantro, you can cut entire stems from the outside of the plants and new growth will spring forth.
You’ll find a variety of herb and garden starts at your Market Floral Department this time of year. For more tips, talk with the florist at your Market – we’re happy to help!