From time to time, it becomes painfully apparent that the gardens we’re blessed with and the elements nature throws at us just don’t add up to ideal herb growing conditions. As such, it’s unsurprising that each year sees tens of thousands of people up and down the country either bringing their herb gardens indoors, or abandoning them altogether.
Of course, the latter of the two does not come highly recommended as to abandon home-grown herbs is to rob yourself of some incredible pleasures. And what’s more, there isn’t a home in the land that isn’t suitable for a wonderful little indoor herb garden – just a pot or two on the kitchen windowsill will do!
At the same time though, it’s crucial to understand that many of the mechanics of growing indoors differ from those of outdoor herb gardens – it’s not quite as simple as following the same rulebook verbatim. Much of it will set you on the right path, but there are key differences that simply must be factored into the equation – including the following:
Sunny Spots Essential
Finding a spot in the home where your herbs will be given a full four to six hours of sunshine each day isn’t easy, but it’s very necessary. And you must also factor in the way in which the seasons of the year affect the amount of sunlight the various areas of the home get, in order to keep things as consistent as possible.
Don’t Forget Rotation
On the subject of sunlight, the very nature of a window means that your herbs will only ever receive the sun’s rays on the side facing outdoors. As such, you need to get into the habit of rotating your pots on a regular basis in order to ensure that all sides of the plant are given equal exposure to the good stuff.
Drainage is Crucial
When your herbs are planted outdoors, there’s a hell of a lot of soil beneath and around them to absorb the excess water they don’t drink. In a pot however, space is at a premium so it’s up to you to provide the necessary drainage, which usually means adding a thick layer of rocks or pebbles to the bottom of the pot below the soil.
Resist Harvesting Their Power Sources
That massive basil leaf has caught your eye and was just born for the salad you’re making, right? Tempting as it might be to harvest the biggest leaves of all on your herbs, try to remember that these are technically and to a certain extent literally the plant’s solar panels. The bigger the solar panels, the more energy absorbed and the stronger the plant – the opposite being true if you eat all the big leaves and leave only the babies.
Be Realistic with Selection
And finally, the indoors deliver everything that’s needed for all manner of popular and easy to grow herbs, but others won’t bring you a great deal of joy at all. So rather than getting too complicated and making the whole endeavour more of a chore than a joy, keep it simple and be realistic with the plants you know you’ll be successful with in the space you have available.