The Ultimate Indoor Herb Garden: How to Reap Huge Harvests Year-Round
Have you ever tried growing your own herbs indoors, only to be disappointed by meager harvests and slow growth?
A potted plant placed on a sunny windowsill might produce enough yields to use as garnish. But if you want to make pesto, tabouleh, or something else that requires a relatively large amount of herbs…
Forget about it.
The good news is that there’s a better way you can grow your own fresh basil, parsley, and other herbs indoors. And this solution works so well, you may have trouble harvesting frequently enough to keep up with your garden’s growth.
Plus, this method doesn’t use soil. So you don’t have to deal with the mess that usually comes with growing plants inside. And it also waters itself, which means you never need to worry about overwatering — one of the most common mistakes indoor gardeners make.
In other words, it’s the ultimate indoor herb garden.
If you haven’t guessed yet, I’m talking about Tower Garden. In this post, you’ll learn how you can use this unique vertical system to grow up to 20 herbs indoors.
Want to grow more than herbs? Tower Garden supports more than 150 nutritious and delicious crops, including tomatoes, salad greens, cucumbers, peppers, and more. In fact, the only plants that don’t grow particularly well in a Tower Garden are root crops, grapevines, bushes, and trees.
How to Grow Herbs Indoors
Imagine walking only a few steps away from your kitchen to harvest fresh, living produce for your meals — no matter the season.
Growing an indoor garden is pretty great. (That’s why I’ve been doing it for two years now.) But there are a few details you’ve got to get right to be successful.
Give ’em light.
Light is the most important factor when it comes to growing any plant indoors. And though a southwestern-facing window is a good start, your herbs will likely struggle without grow lights.
Why? Because many culinary herbs, such as basil, rosemary, oregano, thyme, and sage, have Mediterranean origins. That means they like a lot of light. (I’m talking more than six hours — especially in the winter when the intensity of the sun is weaker.)
So, again, you’ll likely need to supplement natural light with grow lights.
Tower Tip: If your herbs are pale and long-stemmed, they’re probably not getting enough light.
Start your own.
Most herbs naturally resist pests — indoor herbs, doubly so. (Because, you know, they’re indoors.)
But infestations are still possible.
To minimize risk, start your own plants from seed and inspect your garden regularly for signs of unwelcome guests.
Tower Tip: Want more information about indoor gardening? Check out these five steps of growing a healthy indoor Tower Garden »
Though pests are rather rare indoors, a problem you may encounter is plant disease since cool, stagnant air promotes fungal growth.
The fix? Harvest often to facilitate air circulation. (A fan can help with this, too.) And if you do notice a problem, cut and destroy the infected plant material immediately to prevent it from spreading.
When harvesting, never remove more than a third of a plant at a time. Conservative harvests encourage new growth — which means greater yields over time from a single plant.
Tower Tip: If your plants’ leaves get scorched, it means they’re growing too closely to the lights. The solution is simple (and tasty): Harvest more frequently!
15 Excellent Herbs to Grow Indoors
Most herbs grow well indoors. But the following 15 in particular really thrive and require little attention.
And in addition to tasting great, many of these herbs will infuse your air with spirit-lifting aromas and your body with health-boosting nutrients.
Note: Tower Garden allows you to grow up to 20 plants at once. So you can grow every plant on this list — and then some. (Salad greens, anyone?)
Commonly used to make pesto, basil’s sweet and spicy flavor complements a range of dishes, from Italian pastas to Thai curries. This herb also reduces inflammation and supports the digestive system.
When brewed as a tea, chamomile has a calming effect and can even diminish feelings of depression and anxiety. It also settles upset stomachs!
Related to onions and garlic, chives add a delicate onion-like flavor to everything from omelets to potato salad. And since it’s most delicious when used fresh, it’s a great herb to grow yourself.
Cilantro tends to have a polarizing effect. But for the fans, this herb is a delicious addition to spicy foods. (Think salsas and stir-fries.) And it may help inhibit blood vessel damage and support digestive health.
With a buttery flavor, dill elevates fish and egg dishes. Is it good for you? Well, let’s just say its antioxidant count rivals superfoods, such as kale and pomegranates. The herb also supports digestive health.
Lavender has calming properties and is good for your skin. It’s often used to make teas and essential oils, but you can add the herb to salads and other dishes, too.
Offering digestive tract support and anti-inflammatory benefits, you can use lemongrass to make a restorative tea or a satisfying soup.
A close cousin of oregano, marjoram is typically used to add light, zesty flavors to meat or potato dishes. It also offers digestive and antiseptic benefits.
Peppermint, spearmint, lemon balm, catnip — virtually all plants in the mint family flourish indoors. Whether you use it to brew tea or top off that cocktail, mint adds an unmistakable flair. And regularly consuming mint may guard against Alzheimer’s and other age-related diseases (as well as bad breath).
Oh, oregano. Reportedly good for keeping your cholesterol in check, this herb is a staple in pasta sauces and as a pizza topping.
More than garnish, parsley can add interest to a variety of dishes from salads to pastas to soups. It’s also a strong antioxidant.
With a minty, pine-like aroma, rosemary adds depth to chicken, bread, and potatoes. Steep it in hot water for a healing tea that eases inflammation and promotes brain function.
Though it’s most famous in Thanksgiving dishes, sage can be used for so much more. Try adding it to potatoes or quinoa to enjoy its throat, skin, and hair health benefits.
The healthy alternative to sugar, stevia is a surprisingly sweet herb that pairs well with beverages, fruit, and many other foods.
Add this potent herb to vegetable and grain dishes, and you’ll never want to go without it again! Containing antibacterial properties, thyme is useful for treating winter colds.
Enjoy Your Homegrown Herbs
If you follow these guidelines for the ultimate indoor herb garden, you’ll likely be inundated with fresh produce very soon. Enjoy it!
I hope this guide has been useful. If you have any questions about growing herbs (or food crops) indoors, drop a comment below, and I’ll try to help.
Source for all herbal health benefit facts mentioned in this article:
Hartung, Tammi. Homegrown Herbs: A Complete Guide to Growing, Using, and Enjoying More than 100 Herbs. North Adams, MA: Storey, 2011. Print.
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