Fresh herbs are a game changer in the kitchen. I’ve personally gone from shaking random bottles of stale, twiggy stuff over soups and stews to planning dishes around fresh herbal ingredients. On my cooking nights, I let the smells trick me into thinking I’m Julia Child in her Provençal kitchen.
You don’t need to be a great gardener, or even have a garden, to enjoy success with growing your own fresh herbs. Here are a few general tips to get your indoor herb farm started.
• Choose fast-growing, leafy herbs like basil, cilantro, chives, dill, mint, or parsley.
• Use simple containers—even paper cups will work!
• Use a fine-grain soil. Special seeding soils are widely available.
• Check the packet information to find out if you need to soak the seeds before planting.
• Sow seeds to a depth one to three times the diameter of the seed; follow the packet guidelines for spacing.
• Put the containers in a warm place and cover them with newspaper until the seeds sprout.
• After sprouting, be sure to expose your herbs to at least five hours of sunlight per day (basil likes quite a bit more!). If necessary, supplement with full-spectrum light bulbs.
• Maintain a medium-low level of moisture.
• Add a little fish fertilizer once a week to give the plants an organic boost.
• Wait one to four weeks, depending on the plant and season, and then start enjoying your herbs!