Many gardeners love the convenience of having fresh herbs at home, but not everyone has the space or favorable weather conditions to do so. Fortunately, it’s easy to grow herbs right in your kitchen. With small garden containers spanning across my windowsill, I’m able to snip fresh herbs to use in dishes in a jiffy. Most herbs require as much natural sunlight as possible to thrive, so place your containers in a spot where they will receive a minimum of four hours of sun daily.
To grow basil indoors, you will need to plant it in nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. Ensure proper drainage, as the roots of the basil plant are prone to rotting if left soggy. To maintain proper pH levels, basil also requires the use of fertilizer. Check the pH levels of your plant approximately once a month. Optimal levels range between 6.0 and 7.5. Use your fresh basil in teas, oils, soups, sauces, pastas, marinades, dressings, and more.
Growing dill indoors is simple, and the results come quickly. Plant your dill between October and early spring in a pot with nutrient-rich soil and drainage holes. Dill grows best with a pH level of between 6.0 and 7.5. Fertilize your plant at least every six weeks, and water it regularly. As dill has the ability to grow quite tall, you may need to stake the plant once it reaches 10 inches. Use your fresh dill to season fish, make a vegetable dip, or make dill pickles. You can also chew whole dill seeds to relieve indigestion.
Oregano is a fast grower and thrives well in bright sunlight. You’ll want to water your plant regularly, but allow the soil to slightly dry out before the next watering. Oregano should be planted in fast-draining soil and supplemented with fertilizer. Opt for a pH level of 6.0 to 8.0. Use your fresh oregano in a chicken marinade before roasting, as an herb on top of dinner rolls, as a seasoning on burgers, or to make a robust pesto sauce.
Bay laurel trees prefer rich, well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. This plant requires at least a 12-inch pot and can grow up to six feet tall, so this isn’t a good choice for your windowsill; find it a bit of floor space in a sunny spot instead. Bay does well with a pH level of between 4.5 and 8.3. While bay is generally a slow grower, the end results are well worth the wait. Use bay leaves in slow-cooker meals, such as stews, soups, and pasta sauces. Bay leaves can also be steamed to enhance their flavor and added to chicken, seafood, fish, and vegetables.
If you wish to grow cilantro indoors, you’ll want to start new with seeds, as cilantro does not transport well. Opt for a planting mixture of both soil and sand to allow the water to drain more effectively. You’ll also want to maintain a pH level of 6.5 to 7.5. Use fresh cilantro in stir-fries or smoothies, chopped on top of salads, or as a garnish. The essential oil of cilantro can also be used to reduce skin inflammation.
To grow mint indoors, you’ll need a container with potting soil and equal amounts of sand and peat. Ensure that the container used provides proper drainage. While fertilizer is not essential, an all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer can be used on occasion for a nutrient boost. The optimal pH level of mint should range between 7.0 and 8.0. Add fresh mint to teas, yogurts, or smoothies. Mint has also been known to aid in digestion and relieve heartburn and IBS symptoms.