Jan 1, 2010

Indoor Gardens

By Ellen Wilson

Indoor Gardens Obviously we're itching for springtime. But as long as the sun is shining, an indoor garden offers fresh green at the tail end of winter.  There is a range of different indoor gardens, so for specifics, these Helpful Hints are aimed at herb gardening in pots for small spaces, such as college dorm rooms or apartments.

Containers: You can use clay, terra cotta, plastic or cement pots. (Personalize your garden with our Kitchen Craft, the Decoupage Pot!) The only firm requirements are that they have drainage holes in the bottom and that they are big enough for your plant. Set up some sort of drainage system. An easy system is putting small stones in a dish and placing your pot on top of these stones. Use fresh soil for each of your pots and leave plenty of room for those roots to grow.

Herbs: Choose herbs that you will actually use in your kitchen. We suggest basil, oregano, coriander, mint, parsley, rosemary, chives, sage, or thyme. You can start with seeds but for stronger plants, you may want to start with a small plant purchased at a nursery. Always check the information on the plants you are purchasing for how much sun, water and room they need.

Sunshine: Find a sunny spot, preferably a southern facing window that gets at least four hours of direct sunlight a day. Make sure there are no direct drafts.

Care: Provide humidity by misting your plants with a little spray bottle. Check the care instructions for each plant, but many will only need to be watered once a week. Don't neglect them but be sure to check the soil moisture before watering. They need moist, but not soupy, soil. For the avid chef, pruning won't be a big hassle since you will be constantly pulling leaves for use in recipes. However, if you get busy and your plant gets bushy, be sure to remove dead leaves and keep your plant fairly compact.

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