Many kitchen gardeners love the convenience of fresh herbs at home, and what could be more convenient that an indoor herb garden? Even if you live in an apartment or condo without any outdoor space, you can grow herbs in an oldstone pot. The ideal setting for an indoor herb garden is the kitchen, where you can snip fresh herbs and use them in dishes without skipping a beat. If you don’t have a spot in your kitchen, though, you can still grow herbs in any sunny room. Here’s how.
Find the best spot for an oldstone pot garden.
To grow well indoors, herbs need as much natural light as possible. Place them in a sunny spot near a window where they’ll get at least 4 hours of sun daily. Windows that face south or southwest are your best shot at sun, though east- or west-facing windows also will do. North-facing windows are not bright enough.
If you’re not sure whether a spot gets enough light, try this test. On a sunny to partly sunny day, turn off all lights and periodically check on the natural sunlight. How much sun does the spot get throughout the day?
Give indoor herbs good drainage.
The best way to ruin a tabletop or windowsill is to let a potted plant drain on it. Likewise, the best way to ruin most herbs is to let them sit in water so the roots will rot. Be sure to use a saucer, liner, or drain pan under the pot to catch water and protect your surface. A clay saucer lets moisture pass through, so opt for plastic, rubber, or metal instead.
Clay pots help with drainage, but they can dry out quickly. If you live in a dry climate or are growing herbs indoors during winter, when furnace heat causes homes to get especially dry, try a glazed or plastic container that won’t try out as quickly as clay.
Use a premium potting mix for containers to pot your indoor herbs. And by all means, be sure your pots have drainage holes!
Indoor herbs are happy with typical indoor temperatures.
Many cooks grow herbs indoors during the winter when it’s too cold outside or too wet to dig in the dirt, but you can grow herbs inside any time of year. Indoor herbs prefer the same temperatures that most people do—around 65 to 70 degrees F—so if you’re comfortable, they probably are. At night, temperatures near a window may drop to 55 or 60, but most herbs like that, too. Keep foliage from touching glass to protect from getting nipped by cold.
Basil is more tricky. Many kitchen gardeners yearn for basil in their indoor garden. If you have plenty of sun and warmth indoors, basil should thrive, but don’t keep it on a cool windowsill. Basil leaves will droop and fade after a short time in cool air. It prefers indoor temperatures in the 70s day and night.
Remember that the air next to a window will be cooler in winter (or hotter in summer) than your average indoor temperature, so adjust your plants accordingly. Dry air, whether from air conditioning or heating, is hard on most herbs, so if you can give them a weekly shower in the sink, they will be happier.
Indoor herb plants will probably stretch and be spindlier than plants in the outdoors, but they will still give you plenty of fresh clippings. Fertilize with Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food about once a month if you are harvesting leaves regularly.
When you need a tomato or a pinch of fresh basil, nothing is more convenient than stepping out the kitchen door to your container garden of vegetables and herbs. Containers will go anywhere as long as there is a source of water and plenty of sunshine. You can grow almost all vegetables in containers—just remember that big veggies need big pots.
Cabbage is accompanied by thyme, sage, and chives in a low, bowl-shaped oldstone pot.
Cherry tomato plants may produce small fruit but the plants are often very tall indeterminates, which require large containers.
- All herbs. Any herb does well in a pot.
- All greens. Collards, lettuce, mustard, Swiss chard and others are perfect for pots. You can mix them with flowers for an ornamental touch. Lettuces yield a surprising amount. Pick only the outer leaves to keep the harvest going.
- Eggplant and peppers of all types make pretty summer pots.
- All tomatoes work in pots if the container is large enough and you have a good, tall cage or other support. Husky Cherry Red, Patio, Bush Early Girl, Bush Goliath, and Better Bush are especially easy to manage in containers.
- Cucumbers in a big pot can climb a trellis to save space. Even “bush” cucumbers climb.
- Zucchini and other squash work in large pots such as half barrels.
Pros And Cons
The Pros of Containers
- Easy to put anywhere
- Save space
- Neat and decorative
- Can be convenient to the kitchen
- Provide perfect soil
- Use less water overall
- Avoid soil-borne problems such as nematodes
- Can move some herbs indoors for winter
- Easy to replant
- Great for anyone who has limited reach
The Cons of Containers
- Need water more often than in-ground or raised beds
- Small pots limit plant growth and size
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