Tips & Techniques
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Create an Indoor Herb Garden for Good Health

Gardening

By Linda Ly

The end of summer doesn’t have to mean the end of your favorite herbs in the garden. To keep them thriving through cooler days ahead, you can bring them indoors and grow them on a sunny windowsill–even if they’re not currently part of a container garden.

Gardening indoors is not only good for your cooking—as you’re more inclined to use fresh ingredients if they’re in easy reach, it’s also good for your health. Unlike the myriad of leafy greens in the market that have been bred for uniformity, pest resistance and disease resistance, herbs have remained virtually untouched by food scientists. Essentially they are wild plants, and share many of the same nutritional benefits as dandelions, purslane, nettles and other superfoods. Ounce for ounce, herbs contain more phytonutrients than even well-known “supergreens” like spinach and kale.

Herbs you may already have growing your backyard are also known for their health benefits and healing properties. From thyme and mint (which both aid in digestion) to sweet marjoram and oregano (which improve hair and skin), these plants go beyond improving the taste of your meals.

With herbs being so easy to cultivate indoors in container gardens, it makes sense to grow your own little herb patch to take advantage of these dietary benefits (not to mention the therapeutic benefits of tending to greenery as the days get shorter and drearier).

The key to creating an instant indoor container garden is potting up “plantlets” from divisions of healthy, vigorous plants you currently have. Instead of leaving them dormant—or losing them altogether when winter weather rolls around—tending to fresh herbs in small pots helps keep the doldrums away and provides plenty of clippings all season long for your favorite healthy recipes.

If you’re ready to start gardening for good health, it’s quick and easy to get started.

What You’ll Need

Instructions

2-watering herbs

  1. Choose a strong, healthy plant with deep, established roots. The best time to divide your herb is right after it flowers in late summer to early fall. The day before you divide it, thoroughly water the plant in the garden with your watering nozzle. Moist soil and moist roots help lessen the stress on new plants.

3-dig up plant

  1. Gently dig up a small section or clump of the plant, taking care to keep the mass of roots intact. Loosen any tangled roots with your fingers and gently but firmly lift the new plant from the soil. If needed, use a pair of pruners to make a clean cut from the parent plant. Try to shake off as much garden soil as you can, so that potential pests don’t hitchhike with your new plant.

4-pot plant

  1. Fill your pot about one-third full with potting soil, then set the plant in the center and backfill with more potting soil. When planting herbs, add just enough soil to cover the top of the roots.

5-water plant

  1. Gently tamp down on the surface to level the soil, then water it thoroughly. For best results, saturate the soil from the bottom up during initial watering.

6-recovery

  1. Place the potted herb in a shady spot to allow the plant to recover and the roots to adapt to their new environment. Water daily, keeping the soil moist but not waterlogged. After a week, move the pot to a sunny windowsill (southern exposure is best) and water when the first inch of soil feels dry.

Now that you’ve learned how to create an indoor herb garden, you can garden for both joy and good health—even in the cooler months.

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