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Growing Indoor Herbs

Bring Your Garden Indoors This Winter

Whether you’re a budding Martha Stewart or simply love an easy D.I.Y. project, growing an indoor herb garden might be just the activity you’ve been looking for this season in and around Westport, CT.  Small herb gardens are fun to create, and, if properly tended, can result in tasty ingredients for your at-home meals.  So if you’re ready to take your gardening prowess to the next level, read on!

Before we begin, it is important to note that herbs need a tremendous amount of light in order to grow.  This means you must have a windowsill or similar spot in your home that receives up to eight hours of direct, natural sunlight each and every day.  The trick here is to find a location that is bright but not overly hot, as you do not want to burn the herb plants.  If you do not have an ideal spot in your home for growing an herb garden, consider investing in supplementary artificial lighting.  Your local garden center should be able to point you in the direction of an affordable hydroponic kit.  

If your herb plant is not receiving adequate sunlight, you’ll be able to tell.  Common signs include fading color on the overall plant and falling leaves.   

Once you have ideal lighting conditions, follow these easy steps to prepare your culinary herbs for successful growing:

1. Select your desired plant holders.  While you can find inexpensive plastic containers at just about any gardening store, many people prefer to go with colorful, high-end pots for their indoor gardens.  

2. Purchase high-quality potting soil.  The soil you choose will play a vital role in the health of your plants.  Most ideal soil mixes will contain sphagnum peat moss, which keeps roots moist.  Speak to your local gardening expert about the soil that is best for the specific herb you would like to grow.  

3. Browse your local garden center for desired seeds.  The most popular herbs are parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, and mint.  Remember: each plant will have a specific culinary use, look, and smell, so choose wisely!  If you do not wish to grow your herbs from seed, you can always purchase the fully grown herb plant for tending from your local greenhouse.  

4. Plant your seeds.  Follow the directions on the seed packets to ensure proper planting.  While many seeds require deep soil, others can be placed on or near the top of the soil.  

5. Don’t forget to water! Water herb plants regularly to ensure soil remains healthy and moist.  If you’re worried about overwatering, wait until the surface of the soil becomes slightly dry and then water thoroughly until liquid seeps out of the base of the plant.  Drain excess water to avoid soaking, as this can result in unwanted root funguses.  

6. Be on the lookout for pests.  Insects may find their way to your miniature herb garden.  To get rid of them safely, simply spray your plants with a mixture of soap and water.  This will kill the insects without damaging the plant itself.  

Why not bring an herb garden inside this year?  This cost-effective project can be incredibly rewarding (and delicious!).  With just a little bit of TLC, you’ll be sprinkling your meals with fresh, home-grown herbs in no time.      
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