Growing herbs indoors can be a fun (and delicious!) pasttime during winter when conditions outside make it impossible to work in the garden. By following these simple tips, your herbs are sure to prosper and make even simple meals into gourmet delights.
For best results, always use good quality potting soil with organic fertilizer mixed in. Estabrook's offers a wide selection, including the popular Miracle-Gro brand of soils.
A three to four inch pot is ideal, unless you know the plant is a rampant grower (like Lemon Grass). To avoid overgrowth, place only one kind of plant in each pot. Additional incentives for potting separately include giving each plant the air space it requires and if one plant has a problem, it is much easier to remove. If you feel you must combine plants, don't leave oreganos, mints, lemon balm or bee balm with other plants for very long (they will overgrow everything).
Just like outside, plants need at least six hours of sun per day. If your sunny window doesn't fill that requirement, then you may want to purchase some fluorescent growing lights. These special lights should hang no more than three inches above the plants and stay on for 14 hours a day. If you are trying to grow seedlings, put the lights an inch or less away from the new plants. Keeping the foliage of the plant away from freezing window panes is also very important.
Water thoroughly when the plant is dry. Err on the side of dryness without letting the plant wilt. An inexpensive water meter is invaluable if you have doubts about when to water. Make sure the water is not too frigid or too hot. The best way to avoid this is to fill your watering can and let it sit for a while to become room temperature.
When your plants start to grow vigorously, adding a little organic liquid fertilizer to the water will give them an added boost! If you're unsure about what kind to purchase, one of our Estabrook's staff members will be happy to help you choose.