Fresh-grown herbs provide flavor and nutrients in a way that dried herbs simply can't, and basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary, sage, and thyme are some of the best examples. Whether you are looking to embark on this rewarding activity in the colder months, or you don't have an outdoor space available in the summer, get ready for a delightfully aromatic adventure. With dedication and understanding, you can have your herbs growing in abundance through the year right on your windowsill.
Rosemary plants can grow up to 5 feet (152 cm) tall! Don't worry, though - growing them in a smaller pot, you won't have to deal with this, unless you want it to be life-sized.
In the Northern Hemisphere, choose a south-facing window: they get the most sun exposure, which is essential for your herbs to grow strong and stout. Conversely, if you're in the Southern Hemisphere, they must be facing north. If you don't have a well-oriented window, you can also place a fluorescent light nearby, but you will be much more successful with natural, direct sunlight.
2. What to Buy?
Purchase your herb seed packets from a nursery, or buy a small herb plant. Most people prefer to start with a small plant, especially neophyte gardeners. Each plant should have its own container, as they each need special attention. Only if they require the same care can they be mixed, so you will have to do your research if you opt for this route. Choose containers large enough and with proper drainage for the herbs to flourish.
Choose nutrient-dense potting soil for best results. Fill the container with your potting mix and make a dip to place the small plant. Make sure to carefully transfer the plant as the roots are delicate. Pat around the plant to firm the soil. Leave an inch or so at the top of the pot for watering.
Make sure your herbs are in a favorably oriented window, receiving at least six hours of direct sunlight every day. During winter, do not let the leaves touch cold windows - they like to remain as warm as possible.
Do not overwater your plants. The herbs do not like dwelling in flooded soil. Also, empty the saucers once water accumulates. You know it is time to water when the soil one-inch deep has become dry. Remember to check each plant individually and not water with the conditions of just one pot in mind. Be involved; gardening is hands on - even indoors.
Once every two to four weeks, you should add small amounts of natural fertilizer to the plants so that the soil's nutrient levels are sustained. This will yield flavorful and healthy herbs.
Windowsill herbs are great for all of your winter cooking, keeping it fresh and aromatic all year long. It feels wonderful to be able to produce your favorite flavors in abundance in your own home, and it widens your culinary options. Keep it up, you will only get better as you practice.
- Oregon State University, Start an herb garden on your kitchen windowsill this fall, 2014
- University of Kentucky, Make a Windowsill Garden, 2014