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Indoor Planters for your Indoor Herb Garden

An important thing to consider when constructing your indoor herb garden, is figuring out what sort of indoor planters to use! This is where you can have a lot of fun actually, because your indoor planters don’t necessarily need to be typical planters. You can use anything that will hold dirt/water without making a mess – though you do need to consider drainage in many situations.

Indoor PlantersFrom a beginner’s point of view, simply getting regular pots is probably the better option. A regular terra cotta or ceramic type pot with a drainage plate to hold it is typical.

It is preferable to have different types of plants in separate pots – especially since we are indoors. You might read that basil grows better next to tomatoes, but this is really for outdoor growing – where doing so can keep down the bugs. However sine we are indoors, we don’t need to worry about pests as much.

Some people will start with smaller pots, then move plants to larger indoor planters. I prefer to acquire a planter that will match the size of the plant as I wish it to become – this is to avoid replanting which can be especially rough on delicate herb plants. You might be able to replant a tree or a flower if the plant gets too big for the pot, but doing so can kill your herb – so I find it better to get a larger planter at first. Judging the correct size can be a challenge at the beginning – I can provide some good suggestions, like a 12×12 for a couple garlic plants, or a basil plant is a good starting point. From there you can grow in that pot and see just how big it gets. IF it doesn’t get big enough, then grow your next plant in a larger space – or if it gets too big, then grow your next plant in a smaller space. Experience will be your best friend here – and the advice when starting out is to just pick a pot and go with it – don’t worry about size too much.

Drainage is of course critical, so when starting out I highly recommend only acquiring planters which drain – your typical pot is the example of that. You don’t want the roots sitting in water – but you also don’t want to underwater out of fear of drowning the plant. All about balance which you can judge after having a little experience.

If you are going for very large planters (as an example, I have a 24×24 large pot) – then I recommend going with fiberglass planters that look like a ceramic or terra cotta style planter. Their appearance is very realistic, but with a fraction of the weight. Filling up a large terra cotta planter with dirt can be VERY heavy – and quite potentially undesirable for moving around indoors.

Poly resin, fiberglass, concrete, ceramic, metal, terra cotta – these are all options for materials of planter. Shapes and sizes of all kinds can be found as well. Consider the space you have available – even if you have very tight space, it is likely that you can find a solution – don’t let it keep you back.

Indoor PlantersOne could create indoor planters out of old coffee cups for example. Imagine planting some small herb plants in old coffee mugs, then hanging those from the ceiling. Instant indoor herb garden! And you don’t even loose valuable counter space! I’ve even seen a planter made out of an old CAMERA – the insides were hollowed out then filled with dirt – presto-chango, you have a unique herb pot. Think about enclosed items that you might have sitting around which you don’t need anymore – as long as they can hold dirt and water without making a mess, then you have yourself an indoor planter.

One thing to keep in mind when getting creative with planters like coffee mugs, old pots, and unique items like cameras, is that they won’t have any drainage built in (unless you drill a hole). This isn’t necessarily a problem. However I don’t recommend taking this route unless you are experienced with growing herbs. It is possible to keep plants properly hydrated within a planter that does not have draining – but it requires a certain level of understanding and awareness about the state of the plant and the dirt it is in. Remember, roots sitting in water will rot – and that equals the death of the plant.

So as we can see, there are a multitude of options for indoor planters when creating an indoor herb garden. You don’t have to be limited by round pots on a windowsill – though it is a good place to start when you are inexperienced.

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Growing Garlic – a Perfect Addition to your Indoor Herb Garden

Growing GarlicGarlic is an excellent spice to add to our indoor herb garden repertoire. To begin with, growing garlic has very little cost outside of our standard indoor herb growing setup – which may include a bit of growing lights if you don’t have direct sun for much of the day. To grow garlic, it is as simple as taking a garlic blub (the garlic seed as it were), removing the individual cloves and planting those. A word of caution however – grocery store garlic tends to be sprayed with chemicals to restrict the ability of the garlic to sprout, which is not what we want! It is recommended that you purchase bulbs from a specialist. If you can’t find one, then I would recommend starting with organic garlic.

There is one main thing to keep in mind when planting garlic. This is a sub soil growing plant – while it does have leaves above soil, the bulb grows beneath it. That means the most important thing to keep in mind here is drainage. You don’t want your garlic sitting in water, or it will simply rot. That is one of the reasons indoor growing is so well suited – it is easy to set up a pot with excellent draining for the garlic to grow in.

In terms of the pot that you will use for growing garlic, there are a couple simple guidelines to keep in mind. You want your little garlic cloves to be spaced about 3-4 inches apart when you plant them. The diameter of your pot will determine how many you can plant – however you do want your pot to be 10-12 inches deep. A good place to start may be a 12” diameter pot that is 12” deep. You would then plant your cloves – pointy side up – about 1.5” below the surface, and 3-4 inches apart from each other.

Most recommend planting garlic in October/November – this is really for those growing outside. You want to plant garlic before it gets too cold, but for about a month after planting, you want to keep the pots in a cool place – about 50 degrees F. Make sure you keep the cloves well watered during this time. At this point its simply a matter of watering regularly – again you don’t want the cloves sitting in water and thus rotting, but you don’t want the soil getting too dry either.

Follow these steps then approx 10 months later you should have full bulbs ready to harvest. A quick note on harvesting: It can be a little challenging to figure out when to harvest them. If you harvest the garlic bulbs too early, then they will be small. There are two ways you can figure this out – if you dig up a bulb and check the layers, if there are 3 layers on the outside then it is ready, if there are more then it is not. On digging up bulbs – don’t pull them out by the plant, instead use a shovel and fully dig them up. Another way to tell that they are ready is to wait for the leaves to start browning. If you planted in October/November, this will be around August/September the following year.

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Growing Basil in your Indoor Herb Garden

One of the reasons I started an indoor herb garden was because I absolutely love fresh basil. So I wanted to figure out everything there is to know about growing basil! The reason for hte indoor aspect is because I live in an apartment, and have no growing space. You might think that this would be a deterrent, but I also really like efficiency – and there is nothing

Basil Plant

Basil!

more efficient than finding a way to grow fresh food in a very small space.

You might think that growing basil is challenging – but it is surprisingly simple. My biggest mistakes come from the following three areas – not giving it enough water or giving it too much water, not giving it enough sun, and trimming too much when its time to harvest. That last part is really just a weakness of mine…especially when it comes to pesto, I tend to take too much basil – I just can’t resist!

Alright, growing basil in a pot is probably the simplest way to do things. You want to keep a few things in mind though – get a larger pot than you think is necessary, as it responds very negatively to being repotted. I suggest a 12×12 pot for 1 basil plant – these things grow big, and fast! You want your basil plant to be of significant size so you can harvest regularly enough basil for your cooking. Your choice of pot will be influenced of course by the space you have available – just keep in mind that standard size for one plant.

The second most important thing you want to keep in mind is drainage. This is pretty much a standard across all herb gardening. Herbs are delicate plants – they respond to stressful situations in a bad way. If you trim too much off a basil plant, you may need to start over entirely. The same goes for if you need to re-pot basil – it does not respond well to the stress and you will likely need to start again. Fortunately keeping a potted plant drained properly is quite simple. All you need is to fill the pot with good soil, and make sure it is fitted for draining. Beyond this, just check the soil each day for dampness – if it is dry, give it a little bit of water. In the beginning I recommend simply checking frequently throughout the first few days, giving only a couple cup-fulls of water at a time – eventually you will have a good understanding of how much water it uses every day and how much you should give.

The third, as previously mentioned, is sunlight. This is simple, but can also be quite difficult. My current apartment – for example – receives direct sunlight for about 8 hours during summer, and probably half that during winter. For the summer months that is plenty – during the winter however I need to supplement (and during cloudy days) with artificial lighting. Artificial grow lights are quite simple – I’ll be writing up an article on these in the future.

BasilThe final most important aspect is how to harvest the basil. This is actually quite an overlooked point – and one where I have made mistakes frequently. When you harvest the basil you don’t want to pick too much overall, but you also don’t want to pick too much of one type of leaf. The two types that you want to concern yourself with can really just be looked at as the big leaves and the small leaves. The small leaves are the ones at the top of the plant. You want to pick these because that encourages growth. You don’t want to pick all the small leaves though, because that can stunt growth. The larger leaves toward the bottom act like solar panels for the plant, so you don’t want to pick all of those – however it is healthy for some of those to be picked as well. A good guideline is to look at your plant, and pick half the larger ones and half the smaller leaves and nothing more. This is the prime reason why you may need more pots/plants than you might originally think – it all depends on how much you use the basil in any case.

Growing basil is a rewarding and delicious experience. It is also quite easy. Just remember to keep in mind the three basic areas. Make sure your growing pot is large enough for the plants you wish to have – moving the basil after it has taken root is one of the quickest ways to kill it. There are of course other options such as hydroponic and hanging solutions, but the easiest place to start is with a pot. Make sure you provide the basil with enough water, but not too much – and that the water drains properly so the roots don’t rot. Be sure to provide the proper amount of sun, and take care when harvesting in the end. Ultimately, you will be providing a wonderful addition to your indoor herb garden.

 

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The Perfect Indoor Herb Garden

Is there anything better than fresh basil? I have a hard time answering that question, which is why I love my indoor herb garden. I am creating this blog so that I can help you create the very best indoor herb garden. I want to help you understand everything from the big picture about your garden to all the little details.

I personally have an indoor herb garden for my cooking. Among other things I absolutely love fresh basil and fresh garlic. The best part about the indoor herbs is that you can do this anywhere in the world, any time of the year. You too can grow an indoor herb garden to match your culinary desires! Or perhaps you want to cultivate your own tea garden? Or maybe you have medicinal interests? There are many different choices for an indoor herb garden.

Among the topics that I will discuss – I will talk about developing a specific potting plan. For example: You want to think about the long term growth that you expect, and chose an appropriately sized container for your plants. If your pot is too small then your plant roots won’t have enough space to grow. You also want to consider the types of lighting, and the food for the plants. If you live in an area – or in a building – which does not get a whole lot of sunlight, then you may need to get artificial lighting. This is a perfectly fine solution and allows us to be quite flexible.

Herbs grow very well indoors – and with the proper considerations they are just as easy to care for as any other house plant. Plus, aside from the benefits of having fresh herbs at your disposal, you will be able to craft your indoor herb garden into a beautiful part of your living space.

 

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