How to Grow an Simple Kitchen Herb Garden
For as long as I can remember I've had a black thumb. Meaning: I'm a #plantkiller. I've read that plants usually die because of too much attention, not neglect. For us with Type A personalities (hand raised) this makes sense - maybe we try too hard? Anyway, this has always been sad for me because I love plants. Herbs especially. They're in all the best recipes. And even though I have some pretty good tips for storing and saving herbs, when it came to growing them I was totally lost.
So this spring I decided to ask my sister (a real farmer!) to help me pick out the EASIEST herbs to grow inside. I'm starting small here. Nothing complicated or extreme. Just an easy kitchen herb garden for beginners. Have a black thumb too? Here's how to turn it green. First...
Choose Your Herbs
There are several herbs that are easy to grow inside, but I decided on the ones that I personally use the most: rosemary, thyme, and mint. To keep things simple, I'd recommend limiting yourself to three. And definitely start with healthy plants, not seeds. Here are some options:
Pick Your Container
For best results, use individual pots (1 pot per herb) or three individual containers placed inside a larger planter, as shown. Make sure that the pots (or containers) and planter have drains. Sealed pots will lead to the roots rotting, which is something us less experienced gardeners don't have time for (#amiright?).
Choose the Soil
Choose a potting mix, which is lighter than potting soil. Opt for an organic blend (no weird chemicals please!) if possible. Plants are what they eat. Fertilize herbs with a diluted solution of fish and liquid seaweed fertilizer, like this one, every two weeks.
Light It Up
Most herbs will need about 6 hours of sunlight each day. Place your herbs in a south-facing window for best results. Every week or so, rotate the herbs so that both sides of the plant receive sun. You may need to change the location of your herbs depending on the time of year.
For most herbs, allow the soil to dry slightly before watering again. Mint and chives like the soil slightly moister (...don't hate me for saying that word). Remember: most plants die from too much attention, so don't over water. To tell when a plant needs water, put your finger into one inch of soil. If it feels dry, it's time to water.
The best part. Once the plant is mature, it's time to use your herbs. For rosemary, cut off the top 2 to 3 inches of each sprig, leaving green leaves - be careful not to cut the plant too close. For thyme, do the same: cut off the top 2 to 3 inches of each sprig. For mint, trim individual stems when the mint grows to 3 to 4 inches tall. Cut the young outer stems with scissors, removing them to within 1 inch of the base. Never remove more than a third of the plant at a time.