Grow cooking herbs for indoor herb gardens that will add that just-picked taste to your meals. Outside, even when snow is drifting up against the kitchen window, you can grow cooking herbs indoors all year long. You don’t need anything special as long as you give them plenty of water and sunshine.
Many herbs take well to indoor conditions, but a few cooking herbs are particularly forgiving of indoor conditions. Choosing herbs is a matter of personal preference, too. My dad used to say, “If you won’t eat it, then don’t grow it!” These are especially easy cooking herbs for indoor herb gardens:
Parsley: Parsley isn’t just a garnish! It adds a bright, zesty flavor to many dishes and pairs great with creamy dishes such as homemade au gratin potatoes. Parsley can also flavor meatloaf, mashed potatoes and more.
You can start parsley from seeds or dig up a clump from your garden at the end of the season. Parsley likes full sun, but will grow slowly in an east- or west-facing window.
Basil: Adding fresh basil to pizza, spaghetti sauce and Italian dishes makes them sparkle. With so many varieties of basil, choose Genovese or sweet basil for Italian fare and Thai basil for Asian cuisine.
Start basil from seeds and place the pots in a south-facing window; it likes lots of sun and warmth.
Rosemary: Rosemary pairs well with lamb and meat dishes. It needs dry conditions. Some gardeners dig up outdoor rosemary and take it inside to winter over since most varieties of this tender herb cannot take the winter chill.
Start with a cutting of rosemary and keep it in a moist soil-less mix (such as equal parts of peat moss and vermiculite/perlite) until it roots. It grows best in a south-facing window. Expect your kitchen to smell fresh throughout the cooler seasons thanks to the pungent scent of this herb — it acts like a natural air freshener!
Chives: Chives taste a bit like onions, but some varieties add hints of garlic flavor. Fresh chives can be used whenever a slight onion flavor is desired in a recipe.
At the end of growing season, dig up a clump of chives from your garden and replant it in a pot. Leave the pot outside until the leaves die back. In early winter, move the pot to your coolest indoor spot (like your basement) for a few days. Then place it in your brightest window.
Whether an indoor herb garden brightens the kitchen with cooking herbs or enlivens another room with the fragrance of rosemary, adding herbs inside the home chases away the winter blues and help gardeners dream of summers to come.