The winter months are upon us, and a long and fruitful growing season is coming to an end. You could pack your green thumb and overalls away until next spring, but what if there was another way to keep your prized herbs thriving all year round?
This simple guide is a great place to start for beginners
Getting started with your indoor garden
Find an area that receives lots of natural light, such as near a window or on the window sill, to serve as the garden in your home. If a space like this is not available, find a location that is out of the way and large enough for the
Plants require at least six hours of light each day. Artificial light such as that from a fluorescent lamp is typically sufficient for herbs, but some may require sunlight from a window or grow light. Short winter days might not provide sufficient natural sunlight, and in these cases, a grow light will be necessary. Place artificial light sources about 5 to 10 inches above your herbs.
Any small pots or planters will do nicely, but growing containers can also be made from just about anything. Reused yogurt and other plastic containers are perfect for growing herbs—think outside the pot! As a general rule of thumb, ensure that all containers are about 4 inches deep to allow for ample root and drainage space.
Use a typical store-bought potting mix or use homemade potting soil with compost to grow your herbs. The nutrients in this nurturing medium are ideal for sprouting seeds and keeping plants healthy.
Allow your herbs plenty of drainage into another container or by adding stones below the soil in the pot. Feel the soil with your finger to ensure that it is moist. Here are some signs to look for when checking to see if your herbs have been over- or under-watered.
Too much water:
- Discolouration of the plant
- Halted growth
- Wilting from stems toward the leaves
Not enough water:
- Wilting from the tip of the leaves towards the stem
- Soil is dry to the touch
- Leaves have brown edges
In general, herbs will happily grow in average indoor temperatures. Temperatures ranging from 60 degrees Fahrenheit to 75 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal; however, a difference of 10 degrees warmer or cooler will usually work just fine. If plants are small, sagging or otherwise weak, the temperature may be too warm, but if your plant has yellowing leaves that tend to fall off, the temperature may be too cold.
Read more about gardening in the winter by visiting Beat The Winter Blues With Tropical Plants»
image 1: Alan Levine