Herbs are wonderful plants to grow in your kitchen or even in any window that you have space for inside your house. Any free window seal or end table can be a great place to put a pot.
Start by choosing a few pots, 8-10 inch round pots work well for window seals, as well as long tray pot can cover a small window seal. Try to find a pot at least 8 inches deep, so your herbs have room to grow. But many things can be used as a container. Such as milk jugs which have had the top cut off. Baskets lined with plastic, even plastic coffee containers and plastic buckets can be used.
Next pick a basic soil mix. Any standard soil mix will work, but adding some compost mix to the soil before planting helps fertilize them. Mix the soil and compost mix 3 parts soil to 1 part compost mix for good results. Finding a good fertilizing is very important to all plants grown in pots. As their roots grow they will eventually leach all the nutrients from the soil so its very important to replenish with fertilizer once a month or so. There are a verity of fertilizers available, one of the easiest to use is one you add to water and then just water your plants with, other kinds include pellets or powder you can mix into the soil.
As to watering your Herbs, I like to daily mist them with a water bottle on spray, and water the soil once a week till moist. A good way to check your soil is to put your finger into it. You want it to feel cool and moist without being soaking wet and feeling muddy. Your pots will also play a roll in how fast your herbs dry out. Terra cotta pots need to be watered 2-3 times as often as the pot absorbs water from the soil. Sunlight is important, which is why I like to put my herb pots in window seals, although anywhere is good as long as the plants get some direct light every day. If your home is in an area where it doesn’t get much sunlight daily a grow light bulb can be placed near the plant and turned on for a few hours simulating sunlight.
Herbs that grow well in pots include Thyme,Marjoram Savory, Tarragon, Basil, Parsley, Sage, Dill, Lavender, Rosemary, Chives and Oregano. Mint is a personal favorite of mine, this herb can be considered hostile and should not be planted with other herbs as it can ” take over” and often kill any other plant its potted with. Spearmint, peppermint, cat mint and lemon mint are a few. Mint also grows 2-3 feet tall with optimum conditions. But the leaves can be pinched off at any time for a tasty snack. You can plant herbs individually or as a group in a pot, but try not to over crowd your pot. In an 8 inch pot, you can plant 3 plants, in a 10 inch, 4 plants, in a 12 inch 5-6 plants and so on. If you use oblong planters, try to put 2 inches or so in between each plant. A small example of pot size is as follows: Small growing herbs–thyme, oregano, cilantro and marjoram–grow well in 6-inch -diameter pots. Chives, parsley, basil and mint grow a little larger and need an 8-inch pot. Large-growing herbs like rosemary, sage and lavender need plenty of room to grow –a 10- or 12-inch pot.
Harvesting your herbs is very simple. Remove flower buds as soon as they start to encourage your plant to continue putting off leaves and continue to grow strong. Pinch off leaves as you need them for cooking. Store pinched leaves in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to a week. Drying is another option. Hanging them in a dark dry place, or quick dry between two paper towels in the microwave for a few moments will dry them. Store dry herbs in solid colored containers away from sunlight and excess warmth.
With a little love and care, your potted herb garden will become a healthy and flavorful benefit to your home. Simple to care for, and beautiful to have around, herbs are a wonderful addition to any household.