Do you love to cook, bake, and make delicious treats? Then why not grow your own kitchen herb garden? Not only will it save you time and money, but it can be tons of fun. Growing an herb garden allows you to experiment with new flavors while also getting fresh herbs right from your kitchen when you need them. Plus, think of the bragging rights! You have bragging rights that most people don’t have; a successful garden full of homegrown herbs spilling out onto your countertops and dinner plates!
1. Why grow a kitchen herb garden
Growing a kitchen herb garden can be an enjoyable and easily managed way to have access to delicious fresh herbs. Herbs are so versatile, adding flavor to sweet and savory dishes alike, so having a few favorite staples in the kitchen is a must for home cooks. Herbs planted in a kitchen garden don’t require much space or any previous experience in gardening; many varieties grow happily indoors or outdoors and do not demand intensive care from the gardener. Keeping a ready supply of basil, rosemary, and thyme adds much more than the convenience of having ingredients at hand for your recipes – tending your plant babies provides that crucial connection to nature in our increasingly technology-driven world. Herbs needn’t just be enjoyed at mealtime: flavoring herbal teas with homegrown ingredients or just taking a moment to enjoy the scent of freshly crushed basil leaves takes you out of that hurried daily routine and back into nature again.
2. What herbs to grow in your kitchen herb garden
- Basil – Basil is an amazingly versatile herb that can be used for just about anything, from pesto to sauces or even frozen desserts like watermelon sorbet. Basil offers a nice peppery mint flavor and is said to be a powerful antibacterial.
- Chamomile – Chamomile is an herb traditionally used as medicine due to its anti-inflammatory and calming properties. Chamomile is best in teas to help ease an upset stomach or help you sleep.
- Chives – Chives have a mild onion flavor that goes great with soups and vegetable dishes. Add chives to butter or cream cheese to make a savory spread.
- Lavender – Lavender is a beautiful herb that can be used in foods or even for cosmetic uses like homemade face masks. Lavender can help ease anxiety and depression and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- Mint – Growing mint indoors is a better option overall because mint tends to run wild and take up the whole garden. Keeping mint by itself, in a small container, will control the growth. Use mint to enhance the flavor of water or even throw it into a delicious smoothie.
- Oregano – Oregano is a bright green leafy herb that is traditionally used in Greek or Italian dishes. Oregano has a strong but appealing flavor, so a little goes a long way.
- Parsley – This bright green leafy herb has a peppery flavor that is traditionally used as a garnish but can also make a great flavor enhancer to many protein dishes. Parsley is also an anti-inflammatory and high in vitamin C, calcium, iron, and fiber.
- Rosemary – Rosemary is a highly aromatic herb that has wood-like stems and short pine-like needles. This herb can be used by itself as an air freshener or used to enhance the flavor of meats like lamb, pork, and chicken.
- Sage – Sage is an aromatic herb that has a bitter taste that pairs best with dairy. This herb is high in antioxidants and helps improve digestion.
- Thyme – This herb is used in the Mediterranean, Italian and French dishes that we all love. It’s also often paired with other herbs such as rosemary, parsley, and oregano. Thyme has a sweet, pungent flavor and has small leaves with a woody stem.
3. How to plant and care for your kitchen herb garden
Basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives, chamomile, lavender, oregano, sage mint- there are so many delicious herbs to choose from for your kitchen herb garden! But where do you start?
Herbs are generally very easy to grow and care for they are typically very adaptable to different types of weather and soil. They also don’t require a lot of space, which makes them perfect for small gardens or even for growing indoors on a windowsill.
Here are eight tips to keep in mind when growing an herb garden indoors.
- Adequate Sun Exposure – Most herbs need sun for about six to eight hours a day, so make sure you find a location in your house that offers this amount of sunlight. Proper sunlight is also responsible for the flavor of your herbs. The more sunlight they get, the better the flavor.
- Proper Temperature – Keep the temperatures in your house or the room the herbs are in at around 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit. If you need to reduce the growth of herbs, reduce the temperatures to about 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Water – Herbs need a moderate amount of water daily. When watering your herbs, be sure to check the soil before adding any water. Herbs don’t like to sit in wet soil, so it is important to make sure that the soil is dry before watering again. Overwatering is one of the main reasons that plants die, so be careful not to overwater your herbs. Watering can easily be forgotten, so plan and keep to a schedule. Remember, now that the herbs are indoors, they do not get water from rain, so it is up to you to keep up with it.
- Keep Herbs Separate – For long-term success, you should keep your herbs separate. This way they can each get the individual attention they need. It also helps with plant rotation, and if one plant gets infested with pests the others don’t have to suffer.
- Proper Containers – Containers need to have proper drainage so that the herbs are not sitting in too much water. Add a thin layer of rocks to the bottom of your pots before filling with soil to allow the water to settle there instead of in the soil. You may even need to poke or drill a few holes in the bottom of the container if they don’t have any to start with.
- Rotate – Herbs need proper rotation under the sun to help with air circulation and to prevent mold. Turn your plants or rotate them a little every day so that each side gets the right amount of sun. This will also promote even growth.
- Soilless Potting Mix – Indoor herbs need special attention when it comes to soil because it needs to provide more drainage. Dirt from the ground is too compact and usually less nutritious. Make sure you pick a soil that is listed for indoor gardens.
- Feed with Fertilizer – Fertilize your herbs once a week to promote strong growth. The best fertilizers for herbs are seaweed extract or fish based.
Harvesting your herbs is simple- just cut off the leaves as you need them! Be sure not to take too much from any one plant and try to harvest in the morning for the best flavor.
With just a little bit of care, your kitchen herb garden will be flourishing in no time!
4. How to use your fresh herbs from your kitchen herb garden
You now have access to a wide range of fresh herbs for your cooking. Basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives, chamomile, lavender, oregano, sage, and mint are just a few of the many herbs that can bring incredible flavors to soups, salads, entrees, and desserts.
Basil pairs well with garlic in pesto as well as tomato-based sauces while mint can be used to flavor different salads such as green beans and feta cheese. Sage is an amazing ingredient in stuffing recipes or lentil soup while oregano adds an amazing Italian flare to pizzas and pasta dishes. You can also enhance desserts or drinks with a dash of chamomile or lavender. So, get creative in the kitchen with your fresh garden herbs!
Growing your indoor kitchen herb garden can be a rewarding and enjoyable activity. Not only will you receive the benefit of having fresh herbs year-round, but it’s also a fun way to get to know some different plants and flavors. Don’t forget, many herbs like basil, rosemary, and thyme all have medicinal properties which could provide you with the bonus of keeping them around in case of colds or illness. The best part is that compared to many other gardening projects, this one has the potential to be low maintenance – perfect for the busy modern person who wants to plant something during their downtime! So why not give it a try? With all these benefits, what do you have to lose? If you grow a kitchen garden, let me know how it goes!