November 20th, 2020
The backyard garden may be finished for the season, but you can keep your green thumb in shape with an indoor herb garden this fall and winter.
If you choose the right conditions, windowsill herb gardening requires little time and effort. If you have a sunny exposure for a south or west facing window you've got most of what you need to cultivate an herb garden all winter long. In return, you’ll get the joy of greenery plus some extra flavor to add to your meals.
The basics of creating an indoor herb garden
- Light. Place plants where they will receive full and direct sunlight at least 6 hours per day.
- Water. Most herbs prefer moist, but well-drained soil It can be easy to over-water container herbs, which leads to root rot. To avoid this, use containers with drainage holes and check moisture before watering. Water plants at the base of the plant, not over the top.
- Containers. Most any container is suitable but know their differences. Clay pots allow for good air movement, but soil will dry faster and require more frequent watering. Glazed ceramic pots are more restrictive in terms of air circulation but hold water well. Know your container and water accordingly.
Herbs to consider
- Chives are well-suited to containers can be moved indoors and out with the seasons. Make sure soil is not constantly wet. Harvest leaves from the outside of the plant.
- Dill is often best started from seed because it does not transplant well. Thin seedlings to prevent over-crowding as plants mature.
- Parsley grows well indoors. Harvest small amounts at a time to prolong growth and cut flowers back when they first appear. Leaves are no longer tasty after plant has bloomed.
- Cilantro can be off-putting to some, but if you enjoy the taste it’s a key ingredient in many cuisines including Mexican, Chinese, and Thai.
If you’ve got a large window box for growing, plant dill, cilantro and parsley as they have similar water needs. When spring comes, the plants can continue as container gardens or be planted into the soil.