Who doesn’t love a baked potato with sour cream especially when you add freshly chopped chives grown right in your kitchen? There is nothing better than home-grown herbs to liven up an ordinary meal. Having your own kitchen herb garden can provide delicious aromatic herbs all-year-round. Herbs are easy to maintain, simple to harvest and use. You can find herb plants and/or seeds in a variety of places like your local plant nurseries, lawn and garden stores, even in your neighborhood supermarkets and dollar stores. Small to medium sized herb gardens grow easily in kitchen windowsills and sun porches. Setting up an herb garden involves just a few gardening items. Here are some supply suggestions to get your indoor herb gardening started.
Supplies: Choose an assortment of pots with drainage dishes. I prefer terra cotta. They give your indoor garden a natural appearance and are porous for better growth, oxygenation and drainage. I would also purchase a set of mini gardening tools to tend and maintain your herb garden. Select a potting soil with moisture-retaining pellets and a water soluble plant food.
Easy-to-grow herbs: If this is your first herb garden you may choose to start with the simple, hardy plants like Basil, Chives, Oregano and Parsley.
Experienced herb gardeners may want to try something more challenging like:
Purple Basil: This aromatic beautiful purple leafy herb grows fast and the leaves can be harvested as needed. Basil is one of the basic ingredients for pesto sauce, spaghetti sauces and Italian salads.
Slow Bolting Cilantro: This delicate leaf herb is the basis herb for most Mexican and Italian dishes. Add it to tomato based recipes like salsa, soup and ground meat for tacos. When harvesting cilantro pinch leaves from the top of the stem right below the leaf as the stems tend to be bitter. Cilantro can at times be challenging to grow indoors. If it begins to whither or yellow try relocating it to a cooler area of your kitchen.
Lemon Thyme: Fragrant as well as beautiful this small green and yellow leaf herb grows well indoors. Fresh leaves can be used to liven up seafood dishes and salads. Dried, it makes an excellent rub for chicken.
Chocolate Mint: This is a very strong mint used for teas. Has a smell like a chocolate peppermint patty. I like to add it to strawberries or garnish on chocolate parfait. Dried, it can also be used in combination with black tea or by itself.
Spicy Oregano: Is a highly aromatic herb and one of my favorites in my kitchen herb garden. Use sparingly as it is very spicy revving up the flavor of salsas and chili recipes.
Arranging your herbs: Some herbs grow thicker than others, i.e. cilantro, oregano and mint plants. Their foliage tends to spread out. Keeping them around the edge of your potting group allow better growth and easier harvesting. Taller plants such as chives, rosemary and dill plants can be grouped in the center giving your herb garden height diversity.
General Herb Garden Care: Keep herbs away from sources of moisture like misters or sprinklers as they tend to do better in a dry, well-drained soil. I would also suggest watering herbs by pouring water into the drainage dish rather than directly on the soil. It helps to avoid stem rot.