By Rachel Stewart
Short on green space or not fond of getting outdoors in the elements?
Let your garden grow in a small planter on a kitchen counter or a larger potted plant on a sun porch or front foyer. Fresh herbs are a great way to bring both fresh spice and extra color to home cooked meals – all while cutting down on your grocery trips and costs. Growing herbs indoors also allows for more control – unpredictable weather and seasons need not apply. Here are six herbs to pick up at your local hardware or gardening supply store for easy planting, growing, and (minimal) pruning.
1. Mint. What’s more refreshing than a just-brewed cup of iced tea with a bit of mint in it? This hearty green herb grows well in indirect sunlight and needs constant watering to thrive. Ensure the soil is moist for best growing results. This plant only needs an occasional dose of fertilizer, as too much can diminish its sweet and peppy flavor. Once grown, snip leaves off for a garnish or to make an herbal tea for tummy troubles.
2. Parsley. Great as a garnish or as a full-on salad, parsley loves soaking up sunlight, so consider popping this herb in a windowsill or by a sunny backdoor for best results. Add in fertilizer every two weeks. Parsley isn’t afraid of a crowd, either, so if you need to grow multiple herbs in one pot, it’s perfectly at home amongst its fellow greens. Mint and Lemon balm would be good roommates alongside parsley.
3. Chives. This slender incarnation of onion thrives in winter sunlight but is happy to grow all year round. Keep it in the sun for up to six hours a day and only clip what you need. (Don’t worry, it will quickly grow back.) Sprinkle cut chives on top of a baked potato or stir into fried rice instead of the traditional green onion.
4. Rosemary. Often used in Mediterranean dishes, this needle-like herb prefers sun and mostly dry soil. Ideally, you should water rosemary once every two weeks and mist it with water a couple times of week to keep it vibrant. A fuss-proof herb, a little goes a long way in pork or lamb dishes, pizza sauce, or infused olive oils.
5. Sage. Sage has a strong aroma and earthy flavor, which is why it’s typically used in small amounts. It belongs to the mint family, alongside other herbs like oregano, rosemary, basil and thyme. You will need to keep the plants in a warm area, away from drafts. Provide humidity with a nearby pebble tray or humidifier. Including other herbs in containers nearby will also help. Water as needed, letting the top inch of soil dry out between waterings.
6. Thyme. Slightly bitter and pine-like in taste, thyme needs care similar to rosemary. This herb loves sun but doesn’t need to be overwatered, since it also tends to grow wild in drier climates. Be sure to fertilize regularly and this sturdy herb will be ready to be used in fish or chicken dishes, as well as salad dressings or savory breads.