Indoor gardens bring fresh herbs to your fingertips for everyday recipes, even when the snow is piling high outside. Here are some tips on the best growing conditions and ideas for herb garden collections.
Containers/Media: Consider a larger container so you can grow a few different herbs. Just make sure all the varieties in the container have the same water requirements. The container should also have drainage holes in the bottom and a saucer underneath to catch the excess water. Fill the container with a high-quality, sterile, soilless growing media that is free of large particles and weed seeds. This type of media gives the herbs good drainage and aeration while also holding adequate moisture and nutrients. Thoroughly pre-moisten the media with warm water before you sow your seeds.
Light/Environment: Because herbs need at least six hours of sunlight per day, they love a sunny south- or west-facing window or even artificial lighting. If you're using fluorescent lights, which we recommend, use both warm-white and cool-white, 125-watt bulbs hung 2 to 6 inches above the tops of the plants. Then set a timer so the plants receive 14–16 hours of light a day (they need more with artificial lighting than from natural light). As plants grow, adjust the height of the lights and rotate the plants so they grow evenly. To really get your herbs growing, keep the room temperature between 65º–75ºF.
Sowing: Use the seed packet directions to sow the seeds into the pre-moistened media then cover the containers with clear plastic wrap to retain consistent moisture. Check on them daily for signs of growth and to see if the media is drying out. When seedlings have germinated, remove the plastic.
Watering: Keep the media evenly moist. Once plants are established, allow the media to dry slightly between waterings.
Nutrition: Many of the commercial growing media contain a slow release fertilizer, so you don't need to add anything to get started. After the first month, we recommend adding a water-soluble fertilizer every other week. NOTE: Be sure to follow the manufacturer's directions for fertilizer rates and then use the lower rate.