Making dinner. Ughhh! There is nothing that I dislike to do more. After a long day of work and being a chauffeur to my kids, it’s the last thing I want to tackle when I walk through the door at the end of the day. My husband, fortunately, does most of the cooking for our family. However, on the days when it is my turn to prepare a meal, for me, there is no better motivation to cook than picking herbs right in the kitchen that I grew myself, chopping them up and smelling the natural sweet or savory aroma in the air and on my fingertips that is going to take my dinner to the next level of yum.
Herbs have a variety of uses for food, health, or spiritual properties. No matter your location, growing herbs indoors can be done all year-long. No special lighting or lamps are needed, just natural, bright sunshine from a kitchen window sill. I, personally, do not have a green thumb, so starting with established, healthy plants rather than seeds puts me ahead of the game, especially if I set up new plants during a cold winter season. There are a huge range of herb varieties for growing indoors.
To get started, you need to pick out a bright sunny space with temperatures between 55 to 75 degrees. Not directly next to a window, which could be way too cold for some plants in the winter months. Most culinary herbs grow best with at least four to six hours of bright light and depending on the season, natural light could be more limited and less intense in winter and too powerful in summer. You will need to start by trial and error and just keep an eye on how your plants are looking. Any pot or container at least 5 inches or larger can be used for growing herbs. Make sure there are ample drainage holes. The larger the container will provide better room for the growing roots, which will give you a bigger plant to harvest from.
Water needs will vary depending on the size and type of plant, the size and type of container, and the time of year. Plants grow less actively during winter when sunlight is less intense and therefore require less water. The best way to tell when a plant needs water is to stick your finger down into the soil about an inch. If the soil feels dry, it’s time to water. I like to drop an ice cube in the containers to melt. It’s easy and slowly releases the liquid into the soil. Keep your indoor herb garden growing strong by constantly checking plants to replace the ones that are short-lived or have become spindly or woody, and, of course, as you use the herbs for cooking.
The following is a list of the most popular herbs to grow indoors that will highlight your meals. I’ve included an easy, tasty recipe for each herb to try.
Basil: From the mint family and is usually used fresh in Italian dishes or added at the very end of cooking to not lose the flavor. allrecipes.com/…/roasted-roma-tomatoes-and-garlic
Chives: From the onion, leek family and have a very delicate flavor. allrecipes.com/…ith-chives/photos/2658963
Cilantro: Pungant flavor used mostly in Mexican dishes. The seeds are called coriander. allrecipes.com/…antro-sauce/photos/699313
Dill: From the celery family and has a tangy flavor. allrecipes.com/…vinaigrette/photos/970149
Mint: Fast growing, aromatic herb plant that can also be used as lush groundcover. allrecipes.com/…nt-iced-tea/photos/199963
Oregano: Has a warm balsamic and aromatic flavor. allrecipes.com/…/chef-johns-grilled-garlic-and-herb-shrimp
Parsley: Offers a vibrant taste and is used as a garnish to finish a meal presentation. allrecipes.com/…rsley-potatoes/photos/585
Rosemary: Woody, fragrant herb used mainly in soups and stews. allrecipes.com/…/roast-chicken-with-rosemary
Let me know what herbs you have growing in your kitchen! Send some pictures of your kitchen herb garden set up. Questions, comments or just a hello is appreciated.