This tiny new garden will have you asking: ‘dried herbs, who?’
If you’ve been thinking about embarking on the Plantito/Plantita journey, there’s no better place to start than your own indoor herb garden.
Not only are most herbs relatively easy and rewarding to grow, but they give you a very practical payoff too. Who doesn’t love fresh basil in their pesto or oregano on their pizza? Once you try it fresh, you just can’t go back to the dried stuff.
However, just like with any project, there are a few things to know and consider before buying in. Here’s a 101 on growing your own indoor herb garden.
Know which herbs you want
There are several options of herbs you can grow, so the question is: which ones do you want?
The choices can get fairly overwhelming, but an easy way to know which plants will suit your kitchen is to take a look at the food you’re already cooking.
If you like Italian food, oregano and basil are your best bets. If you’re into vegetables, thyme pairs well with most green meals (and goes well with Filipino dishes, too.) Cilantro is a polarizing herb, but if you love that fresh kick in your sauces and dips, go for it!
Do some research on the taste profiles of each herb and which dishes they go well with. If you’re shooting for the most popular (and basic) herbs to grow, we suggest rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, and cilantro.
Seeds or starters?
When you first get your herbs, you’ll have the option to get them as seeds or starter plants from your local gardening store.
While it’s absolutely more fulfilling to plant a seed and watch it grow all the way to full plant, seed care does require more skill and has more room for error too.
Going with a starter plant — that is, a young plant that’s already ready to bloom — will be much easier for new gardeners. Plus, it’ll most likely come with proper sail and a pot that’s the right size, which will save you from the guesswork later on.
If you want to start with your own seeds, however, you should definitely consider…
Picking the right pot and soil
You don’t want your new babies to be in an uncomfortable home, right?
For most young herbs, a 4 inch to 4 1/2 inch pot should do the trick. Ensure that these pots have drainage holes to avoid having your pot sit in water for too long. And while we’re talking about drainage, see to it that you have a catch plate underneath your pot so water doesn’t pour out all over the place.
You’ll eventually want to move up to a bigger pot once you see the roots of your herbs come out of the holes in the bottom.
As for soil, don’t use soil from the ground or from an outdoor garden as these will not work well with any indoor potted plants. Instead, opt for potting mixes that feel lighter and have aerators like perlite in them to help the soil drain better.
Lastly, don’t forget to fertilize your herbs around twice a month.
Finding the right spot for your garden
Most herbs will need a lot of sun to thrive. A balcony, veranda, or south-facing window should give your new babies the 4 to 8 hours of sun they need.
If you have a sunny spot at home but don’t have enough space for pots of plants, there are many creative solutions available. You can try a wall-mounted set-up, a hanging garden, or even suctioning small cups to the window. All it takes is a little creativity!
One thing you’ll also need to consider is the temperature of the room. The good news is that most herbs are comfortable in indoor temperatures from 18°C to 21°C, but can also withstand a couple of degrees past. A good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that if you’re comfortable, your plants probably are too.
Perhaps the one herb that’s the most particular when it comes to temperature is basil. Basil loves the warmth and would prefer to be in temperatures of 24°C.
Water them right
Watering is perhaps one of the most important elements that often vary from plant parent to plant parent, and it can mean a lot of things for your herbs.
While watering on a schedule is good, try to get a feel of the right schedule for your own plants as opposed to simply following a guide from the internet. Why? Because there are simply too many variables that affect your herbs watering needs.
Is it particularly warm and dry? Then that means you’ll most likely need to water more frequently. Is it humid and cold? Your herb will be retaining moisture, so maybe ease up on the watering can.
The good news is you have the ability to know just when your plants need some liquid love. Simply feel the soil with your fingers to see if they’ve dried out. Usually, if the top inch of the soil has no more moisture, it’s a good sign to water the plants.
You can also rely on your eyes — if leaves are wilting, it’s time to water. If they’re yellowing, you may be watering too much. Another good trick is if you can’t quite tell by touch if the soil has moisture, you can check to see if bits of soil are sticking to your finger. If they are, that means there’s still some moisture left in the soil and it may be better to wait.
Lastly, how you water your herbs is just as important as when. Ensure you water slowly and thoroughly so the roots really get to absorb it. Take your time and see to it that the water seeps to the bottom and out the drainage hole before you stop.
And there you have it! We’re so excited for you and your new plant babies, and even more so for the dishes you’ll get to whip up with them. Check out the recipes from the Booky team and see where you can max out the flavors with your new herb garden.
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Cover photo from Pexels