Clinging to hope in the seasons of suffering and watching God use ALL of it for good.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Saving Money: Fresh Herbs Indoors

As mentioned in my post about Homemade Tomato Sauce last year, a great way to have fresh herbs on hand all year long is to plant an indoor herb garden.  I've had one going for a few years and it makes a big difference.

It's easy to start one.  All you need to do is select an area in your home, such as a sunny window, and determine how many plants you can accommodate there.  I have a bay window in my dining room that faces the south side of the house which means plenty of sunlight for my herbs.  I can probably fit 7-10 medium sized pots in that area but I only have two medium sized pots for herbs I use frequently, and four smaller pots for herbs that I use occasionally.  The best thing about indoor herbs is that they are always in season and ready to be used.



I have grown basil, thyme, rosemary, mint and cilantro inside with some success and some failure.  Basil and rosemary are very easy.  If this is your first time growing herbs inside, you may want to start with those.  They are hardy and if you forget to water them they are very forgiving.  On the other hand, cilantro is not my friend.  I'm still learning about what it needs and doesn't like.  It's a finicky herb.  Just when I thought I had it going strong, it died.  Twice.  After two years I'm still not confident about how to grow it successfully but will be trying it again this spring.  Maybe the third time is a charm!

There are many other herbs that grow well indoors.  I may add to my garden this spring.  It's a good idea to start with an established plant so you can use the herbs right away but you could also start with seeds if you are willing to wait.     


Once you've selected the herbs you'll grow and that your space meets their sunlight needs, head over to your local home improvement store for the following supplies:

glazed ceramic pots
clear plastic plant coasters (helps avoid water spill over)
Top soil
small rocks
coffee filters (grocery store)
herb markers

Coffee filters?  Yes.  Coffee filters!  Line the inside of your glazed pots with the filters, fill with about a 1/2 inch of the small rocks and top with the soil.  The filter prevents the rocks and soil from coming through the drainage hole at the bottom.  Insert your plants, top with more soil and voila!  You have a mini herb garden.

There are a lot of options with herb markers.  You can use stakes (like these Crate & Barrel Herb Markers), you can make markers using popsicle sticks or you can buy chalkboard paint and line the rim of a clay pot.  I recommend that you NOT paint the body of the pot with paint unless it is specifically marked as suitable for clay pots.  (If you don't use the special paint, it will chip and peel every time you water your herbs.  Not cool.)

And there you have it.  A very easy way to start an indoor herb garden and have access to fresh herbs every time you cook.  Did I mention this is also a great way to save money?  Forget the costly fresh herbs at the grocery store! 

photo credits: 
herb chart: http://ediblecitythemovie.com
Terracotta Window Garden:  http://www.farmandfleet.com

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