By Cindy Martin, the Tasteful Garden Photos courtesy of the Tasteful Garden
Indoor Herb Growing
Gardening indoors can be done easily if you have the proper conditions in your home. The key to success is having enough light for the plants to do well. West- and south-facing windows provide the most light. If the herbs are not getting enough light they will just stop growing and may eventually have insects or diseases attack them.
Humidity and Temperature
Another challenge to growing indoors is humidity, or lack of it. Our heating systems are primarily dry heat and the plants can suffer from lack of moisture in their leaves even though they are watered. This can be corrected by misting or washing your plants’ leaves every two weeks.
Most herbs prefer temperatures from 65-80 degrees F and watering when the soil is dry to the touch. Never let a plant sit in a tray of water, as its roots will drown. Also, make sure that the pots you use are large enough for the plant to grow for up to six months. Pots that are 8" in diameter are best.
Move Potted Plants Outdoors
On warm, sunny fall days, move your plants outdoors once it warms up. They will really appreciate the sunshine. Just remember to bring them back indoors during the cool nights.
Prepare In-Ground Perennial Herbs for Winter
In very mild winter areas nothing needs to be done except a light pruning, cutting off about a third of the plant to trim up and encourage a nice form for spring.
In Cold Winter Areas
In cold winter areas, annual herbs will die as soon as the first frost hits them. The perennials can last if they are hardy to your zone. Rosemary, sage, lavender and others need to be pruned (by about a third) and then mulched with anything that will protect them from the cold and wet. Cover their stems and root systems with hay or leaves or pine straw to keep the freezing wind from doing damage.
Take Cuttings of Your Plants
You can also take cuttings of your plants and root them indoors keeping them moist and in a humid environment until they are rooted, and then pot them up. Another option is to dig up your herbs and put them in large pots to bring indoors for the winter. Replant them in potting soil made for containers, not the soil from your garden.