When it’s too cold for outdoor gardening (or if you’re just more of the indoorsy type), starting an indoor herb garden is a relatively simple way to grow plants and flavorful ingredients no matter the season. And you don’t need much space or supplies to make it happen!

Whether for culinary, medicinal, or therapeutic purposes, indoor herb gardens are a great way to bring fresh, aromatic herbs into your home year-round. Here’s how to start one in ten easy steps:

1. Choose Your Herbs

When deciding what types of herbs to grow, think about what you commonly use most for cooking or other occasions. Versatile herbs that thrive indoors include basil, chives, parsley, cilantro, rosemary, and mint. (For more inspiration, learn about some of our favorites in Produce with Personality Vol. 2: What’s in Your Spice Cabinet?)

2. Find the Proper Containers

The containers where your herbs grow should be deep enough to allow their roots to spread out. They also require adequate drainage to ensure the soil doesn’t become waterlogged. You can purchase unique herb planters or use recycled containers such as cans or jars with holes drilled into the bottom.

3. Pick the Right Soil

Use well-draining, high-quality potting soil formulated for herbs to promote healthy plant growth. Avoid using garden soil, as it can be heavy and retain too much water. You may also choose to add perlite or small rocks to your container to improve aeration.

4. Let There Be Light

Most herbs need around six hours of light each day, depending on the variety. This can be accomplished by placing your planters on a sunny windowsill. Use LEDs or plant-specific grow lights if you don’t have a sunny spot in your home.

5. Water Appropriately

There is a delicate balance between over-watering and under-watering herb gardens – both of which are common problems when growing plants indoors. Check your soil daily, adding water when it’s just starting to dry. Keep it moist but not clumpy and wet.

6. Control the Air

Herbs need fresh air to thrive and do best in temperatures around 65-70 degrees Fahrenheit. Station your plants in a climate-controlled spot in your home where they can be close to each other but not overcrowded. An open window or small fan will also encourage better air circulation.

7. Maintain Proper Humidity

Unlike some plants, herbs receive the most moisture from the surrounding air. If your leaves begin to look or feel dry, lightly mist them with water once a week. Or you can place them near a humidifier or on top of a dish filled with water and pebbles.

8. Use Fertilizer as Needed

Herbs need nutrients to grow, which can be provided through proper fertilization. After thoroughly watering your plants every 2-4 weeks, add a small amount of water-soluble fertilizer to the soil. Make sure it’s specifically formulated for herbs and indoor plants (or for standard gardens) and diluted to 25% strength.

9. Prune Regularly

Regular pruning keeps your herbs healthy, promotes new growth, and encourages branching. Using a clean pair of shears or pinching fingers, remove mature and/or dying leaves at the base of the stems every few weeks.

10. Harvest and Enjoy

Once your herbs appear big and strong, it’s time to harvest! Be sure to do this before your plants begin to flower. Otherwise, they may lose flavor and stop producing new leaves. You can trim off flowers as soon as you notice them to keep your herbs growing longer. It is best to harvest your plant one-third at a time and remove the leaves from the stems before using.

There you have it: your endless supply of fresh herbs inside your home! For more tips on growing and maintaining an indoor herb garden and ideas for making the most of your leafy harvest, check out How to Celebrate National Herbs and Spices Day.

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