When Spring and Summer roll around, fresh produce abounds. Between farmer’s markets and personal gardens, it is easy to get your hands on the freshest ingredients for your home cooked dishes. Those resources become smaller come Winter, but that does not mean you have to sacrifice fresh flavor!
Energy Smart New Homes is all about saving your money and using less resources. One way you can do both those things while having beautifully aromatic dinners is by creating a windowsill herb garden. Here’s how to get started.
1: Survey the Land
In order for herbs to produce the best flavors and growth, they will need about 6 hours of bright light a day. Take notice of what kind of light you receive from your windows. A South or Southwest facing window is going to be your best candidate for your garden. Be careful to not allow herb leaves to touch windows during colder months. They can be quite sensitive to temperature and prolonged exposure to the cold will damage them.
2: Gather Supplies
Now comes the fun part. You can either start your herbs from seed or buy small established plants. Just be aware that starting from seed will take a few months and some extra care to ensure the seeds succeed.
You can choose whichever herbs you favor, since your garden will be on the windowsill it may be wise to consider herbs that grow more compactly as opposed to tall and upright. Some good choices may include basil, mint, and rosemary.
Once you have picked out which herbs you want to grow, pick up containers for each one, preferably with drainage holes. If the container you choose does not have drainage holes, water will collect at the bottom near your plants roots which will inevitably rot your roots and kill your plant. Finally, you will need to select a potting mix. Do not use just any soil. You are going to want a seed starting potting mix or a basic houseplant mix. Adding a handful of perlite or orchid bark will make your mix airier which will help with proper drainage.
To pot up your little plant babies, fill one third of the pot with your potting mixture. Then place your plant in the middle and follow up by filling in the rest of the pot with your mix. Leave about an inch between the soil and the top of the pot. This way, when you water, dirt will not flow over and make a mess.
Once you have potted up your herbs, give them a good drink. It is a good habit to water the plant until you see water come out of the drainage holes. This way you know the soil has been thoroughly saturated. To check to see when you need to water again, just put your finger into the soil about an inch or two down. If it is dry, it’s time to water! If not, let your plant dry out a little while longer.
Tip: Herbs really enjoy being trimmed back. Snip bits off of your plants regularly to promote new growth.
And there you have it! With your own little windowsill herb garden, you can have bright pastas and bold flavored soups all year round, even in Winter.
By Energy Smart New Homes 12-5-2019