By Ellen Wilson
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.