Dont put those garden gloves away just yet! Bring the garden inside by creating an indoor culinary herb garden. If you start now, you can have a variety of herbs to savor throughout the winter months.
Growing herbs successfully indoors is possible if you follow a few simple steps.
Herbs are sun worshippers. Find a sunny location for them to grow, preferably a south-facing window that receives at least 6-8 hours of sun a day. During the fall and winter months, this may be difficult since the sun tends to hide behind clouds or fog that rolls in and the light in our day is decreased. Keep in mind, the growth of most indoor herbs will slow or stop in the winter months if light is not plentiful.
Purchasing an LED grow light may be a wise option. Herbs flourish indoors under LED lights.
Local garden centers have a variety of bulbs to choose. Attach grow lights under cabinets in your kitchen or on a windowsill.
Well-drained soil is the next most important factor in growing healthy herbs. Transpiration, the rate that plants release water from their leaves into the atmosphere, is at its lowest during winter months. Water and air have difficulty moving easily when the roots of a plant are contained in a pot or planter. Improve drainage by adding Perlite to a sterilized compost-based soil mixture.
Herbs grow well in soils with a pH of 6 to 7. Make sure the pot(s) you choose to grow herbs in has a hole in the bottom for water to flow freely out.
Feed herbs once a week with liquid fertilizer or organic fish emulsion when plants are actively growing.
If you plan to germinate the herbs by seed, be sure to cover the pot after planting the seed to create a greenhouse effect. You can do this by covering with clear plastic wrap. Once the seeds have germinated, remove the covering.
If you bring outdoor herbs inside, such as rosemary, be sure to acclimate the plants gradually (in your garage or a cool room in your house) and then place under grow lights.
Herbs that grow well indoors to consider are basil, chives, rosemary, lemon balm, oregano, parsley, sage and thyme. You can grow salad greens indoors, too.
Establishing an indoor garden is simple and can provide year-round fresh herbs for cooking and garnishing all your favorite holiday meals.
For additional information about caring for houseplants, follow the link: http://www.idahostatesman.com/2012/07/12/2186440/give-your-houseplants-some-tlc.html
If you have questions or ideas for this column email Amy McIntyre at IdahoGardenGirl@gmail.com.