Growing plants and herbs in your own garden is one of the easiest and most effective ways to have fresh and consistent access to your favorite greens. And while many people are under the impression that outdoor garden access is required to grow and harvest effectively, they may be surprised at the number of edible plants and herbs that can be grown from start to finish completely indoors. This means that as long as you can gather a few simple supplies, you can grow some fresh herbs to add to your home cooking, regardless of how much indoor or outdoor space you’re actually working with.
The key to successful indoor gardening is to scope out the sunniest area of your home in which to keep the herbs. Plants grown indoors thrive the most when exposed to at least six hours of sunlight each day, so think about setting up your indoor garden near a window facing south or southwest. Windows facing east or west are usually adequate as well, but north facing windows just don’t get enough light. And of course, avoid setting up your herb garden near tinted windows as well; even though tinted windows save up to 40% on utility costs, they don’t let in nearly enough light to nourish an herb garden.
Without further ado, here are just a few quick and easy herbs to help you get started with your herb gardening endeavors.
Fresh thyme is used to add flavor to countless meals, especially those of the Irish variety, like corned beef. With more than 3,000 miles of coastline, Ireland is a fantastic vacation destination, but you can bring the authentic taste of Ireland into your own cooking by growing your own fresh thyme at home. Plus, thyme has been used for centuries as an effective natural remedy for a number of common ailments.
“Thyme has long been used as an herbal remedy for respiratory problems such as bronchitis, and it also has antiseptic properties. Even better, thyme is virtually calorie-free and provides a delicious boost of flavor to soups, salads, and just about any other recipe you can think of, even champagne!” writes Rebecca Toback on Health Magazine.
When growing thyme, make sure it has plenty of sunlight.
Like thyme, basil has both holistic health and culinary benefits. It’s a good source of fiber, can help to calm your nerves, and ever has a detoxifying qualities that help to cleanse the liver. When growing basil, make sure to keep it warm enough; a cool windowsill just won’t do. Basil thrives when left to grow in temperatures in the 70s range. Fortunately, basil is relatively low maintenance, as it only needs watering every other day. When harvesting your basil, make sure to store it properly. The herb is very sensitive to low temperatures and may turn dark brown or black within a short time of exposure to temps 32 degrees or lower.
Finally, as a versatile and delicious member of the onion family, chives make a tasty and flavorful addition to nearly any dish. Chives can also help to boost the immune system, and best of all, they’re one of the easiest herbs to grow indoors. They don’t require as much sunlight as other herbs; they just require enough water and room to grow. When fully grown, chives are about 18 inches tall.
“Easy to grow, onion chives pack a lot of flavor for their compact size. The plants form neat grass-like clumps of tubular leaves that contribute an onion flavor to salads, creamy soups, potatoes, egg dishes, and others. A wonderful addition to an herb garden,” writes Bonnie Plants.
According to a 2016 survey, Americans consume more fresh foods — including fruits, vegetables, meats, and cheeses — than they did three years prior. With these tips, you’ll have your indoor herb garden off to a running start!