Outdoors

Tips for an Indoor Herb Garden

When it comes to gardening, the winning combination of a green thumb and an expansive, perfectly-soiled yard is rare (especially in urban settings, obviously). Even if you're lucky enough to have all the stars aligned, once the summer sun fades and the chilly season sets in, there's little to be done in the way of gardening.

The solution for any of these conundrums? An indoor herb garden.
 
View the slideshow above for a step-by-step-guide to an indoor herb garden.
 
"I love to encourage people to garden both indoors and out," says The Plant Doctor Melinda Myers, an author, TV host, radio personality and all-around gardening expert. "Growing herbs on a windowsill is a great way to get started gardening and enjoy the fresh-from-the garden flavor." Melinda also stressed that an indoor herb garden is one of the most rewarding and easy-to-tackle options.

First, decide what you want to grow before heading to your local nursery. The plant selection can be overwhelming, so it's good to go in with a game plan.
 
"Start with the herbs you use most in cooking," Melinda says. "I like to recommend that people start with basil. Or chives! Both the flowers and leaves are flavorful."
 
Oregano is a popular herb for cooking and very easy to grow -- almost as easy as mint.

"All of these will thrive in the lower light conditions of an indoor garden," she adds.
 
Rosemary is a common selection because of its fragrance, but it can be very difficult to grow, Melinda says. "So save that for the second garden -- or know that if it dies, you are not alone!"

When you arrive at the nursery with your shopping list in hand, scope out the plants with the greenest leaves (or the most vivid color that's appropriate for that plant). Make sure they're free of brown edges, dry stems and any insects. "No need to spend money on existing problems," she says.

Some garden centers only carry herbs in the spring, so if yours is lacking, Melinda suggests checking out the produce section of your grocery store. "That is often where I buy my plants for winter workshops," she says. Once you get the herbs home, you're ready to get started.

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