Many gardeners dread the winter months: no digging in the garden, significantly less fresh local produce, and very few fresh herbs. But the good news is that even if you don’t have an indoor greenhouse, you don’t have to give up herbs. They’ll keep your home green and fresh while giving you a great source of flavor for your meals.
The best place to grow your herbs is in a room that gets a lot of sun, ideally a kitchen for convenience. The herbs will need at least four hours of sun on an average day. South- or southwest-facing windows are best but windows with eastern and western exposure also work well.
High-quality potting soil is key to good herb growth. The soil should be loamy and not compacted. You can mix in a little bit of perlite to improve soil drainage.
Your soil “[shouldn’t] lump together in a ball if it’s wet,” says New American Garden author Carole Ottesen. “If you squeeze it and it doesn’t stick together and it sort of crumbles, that’s good.”
Speaking of drainage, herbs need good drainage. Pots must have a drain because if the roots sit in still water, they will rot quickly. Clay pots provide good drainage, but also will dry soil out quickly in dry climates. Plastic or glazed pottery would be better in these instances.
Herbs like the same temperatures as humans. Don’t let them be consistently below 65 degrees F. Temperatures do drop and night, and the air directly next to windows will have more extreme temperature fluctuations. Don’t let leaves get sunburned or get too cold at night.
Rotate your pots every week to make sure all your herbs’ leaves get equal exposure to sunlight. Don’t cut more than a third of the leaves off your herbs; they need the rest of those leaves to keep growing.
Be warned that basil is more difficult than other herbs, but by following this simple advice, you should be able to get an indoor herb garden to thrive easily.