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BONNIE’S GARDEN – Growing Herbs Indoors

By Bonnie Pega
Bonnie's Garden

If you have a window that gets a lot of sun during the winter, then why not grow your favorite herbs? All you need is a sunny window (no blinds/no sheer curtains).

The first thing to do is take a look at that sunny window. Be sure to check around the window for heating vents. If you have ceiling vents or floor vents where the windows are, then go to the nearest hardware store and get “deflectors” that will direct air out into the room and away from the window—heated air is very drying.

Some of My Favorite Herbs for Indoor Growing

Catnip

For those of us with kitties, it’s easy to grow them a treat. Start catnip from seed. It would prefer three or four hours of sun—provided some of that is mid-day. From personal experience, I suggest growing it a hanging basket so the kitties don’t get into and mangle the whole plant leaving a mess to clean up. Been there, done that.

Chives

Chives will grow easily from seed but will produce quicker if you simply divide a clump in your yard, pot the division, and bring it in. Chives prefer full sun but will tolerate getting only three or four hours, as long as it’s mid-day/early afternoon sun.

Cilantro

Start cilantro from seed. Unlike parsley and some other herbs, cilantro does not grow more leaves when cut so if you love cilantro, you may want to start more than one pot.

Mint

Start mint from seed. It loves the sun, but, like catnip, will be happy with just three to four hours, provided at least some of that is mid-day.

Oregano

Start oregano from seeds or you can root a cutting from an existing plant.

Parsley

Parsley is easy to start from seed. It needs only a sunny window to be happy.

Thyme, Rosemary, Lavender, Sage

Most Mediterranean herbs are best grown from cuttings or from nursery-grown stock. Remember, all Mediterranean herbs like to go fairly (but NOT bone) dry between waterings. You can often find Rosemary in pots in garden centers this time of year.

Because our indoor heated air is very, tender leaved herbs like basil and cilantro will be happiest if you mist gently a couple of times a day.

Remember that winter is these herbs’ natural resting period so don’t expect a lot of abundant growth. Still, on a cold winter day, a pinch or two of fresh herbs can really wake up a dish. And, if you’re anything like me, you might find yourself occasionally brushing your hand over the plant just to appreciate that fresh herby fragrance.

Wake up Winter

Growing herbs is a fun wintertime activity. They’re easy to grow and it’s especially fun to “wake up” a favorite meal with fresh herbs.

Stop by the Great Big Greenhouse and get everything you need for your indoor herb garden. And, for the gardener—or cook—on your list, it makes a fun gift. I pick out a pretty pot, get a small bag of potting soil, and a packet or two (or more) of seeds and give it as a “kit.” If I want to get extra fancy, I’ll tuck in a few recipes featuring herbs.

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