An Indoor Herb Garden --
Brighten up your window sill!



Indoor Herb Garden Basil

Add cheer to your

kitchen and sparkle to

your cooking with your

own indoor herb garden!

And the fresh greens

are bursting with

vitamins and minerals –

a real health food!



For thousands of years, people have been growing windowsill herbs. Some of the earliest were monks, charged with the duty of maintaining apothecary supplies for the monastery’s health.


Because they take so little space, herbs make an excellent choice for the mini-garden. Perennial herbs, once well-established, are among the most long-suffering and tolerant of plants, and adapt well to the indoor herb garden. Several of the annuals will also flourish. Many of the most popular herbs are from the Mediterranean area -- they want be warm and in the sun, just like we do.


If you have even heating in your home day and night, or zone heating, you’re all set. You can select an ideal temperature for the herb-growing room, whatever the other rooms have. But most of us have heating systems with only one thermostat for everything, and this makes for very uneven conditions. To make it worse, we turn down the heat at night to save money.


So you need to keep a weather eye out for the warmth and light your herbs need, especially during the dark months. (A plant light can help you over the rough spots.) People often arrange their herb pots on a shelf over the kitchen sink, where there is usually extra light and warmth from washing dishes.


When your indoor herb garden isn’t happy, the plants will tell you by the way they look, turning yellowish or spindly. Then you’ll know that either they are cold, don’t have enough light, are over- or under-watered, or maybe just need a little kelp spray or compost tea to beef them up.


TIPS:


<> For your apartment garden (or in your house), use a good quality potting soil, not outside soil. Natural soil carries various bacteria and pests that organic gardening methods can deal with successfully outside, but which can cause problems inside, where you need a higher degree of control.


Even better than potting soil is a blend of peat moss, vermiculite, and compost, in equal parts. (Bear in mind, really good organic compost is hard to buy -- the best way is to make it from your own kitchen scraps.)


<> One of the things to remember, in growing an indoor herb garden, is that a single pot is a small growing space. So conditions need to be ideal, for that herb to prosper. Also, you’re going to consume what’s in those bags, so read the label to make sure that the ingredients aren’t harmful. (Most potting soil components are supposed to be fairly innocuous.)


<> You can use almost any container, but make sure it has a drainage hole in the bottom. Water sparingly, when the soil feels dry. If water accumulates in the saucer underneath after watering, pour it off.


<> Don’t use fish emulsion -- the smell will run you out, and the kitties will fall on the plants like prey!


Indoor Herb Garden Cat


<> Okay, so you didn’t put fish on the plants… but still having trouble with naughty kitties that try to empty the pot daily? Put small rocks on top of the soil. (The cats will beg you to remove it, but harden your heart.)


<> During cold periods, I have used a heating pad on “low” under a tray of several pots, especially with the warm-climate herbs.


EASY-TO-GROW CHOICES FOR THE INDOOR HERB GARDEN:


Italian OreganoRosemary (especially Logee Blue)
Basil (Miniature and Globe)English and Lemon Thyme
Bay LaurelChives
MintDill (although rather large)
Coriander (also large)Dwarf Curled Parsley
Sage



ONWARD AND UPWARD!


We've talked about several kinds of organic gardening, large and small. But one ingredient is vital, whatever type you choose -- good, rich organic compost! There are many ways of making it yourself --

Find out more about composting!






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Dr. Sheila Miles is a Naturopathic Physician whom we know in Kentucky. She is Board Certified by the National Board of Examiners in Integrated/ Alternative Medicine and Natural Health Science, with a Doctorate in Natural Health Science. She is also certified in Nutrition, Homeopathy, and Herbal Preparations.

We had the privilege of editing her new book, Healthy Choices in an Unhealthy World. It's an excellent basic grounding in nutrition and a healthy lifestyle, and we are pleased to endorse it here. --
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