Herbs are a great way for kids to start in the world of gardening. Indoor herb gardens not only provide fresh herbs at your fingertips, but are also a great way to help your kids learn how to use them in cooking! Follow our tips for what herbs to grow indoors, how to take care of them, and how to use them in cooking.
Which Herbs Grow Best Indoors
All of the herbs we recommend to grow indoors are rich in vitamins, minerals and can thrive growing indoors.
How to Start Growing Your Herbs
To start your indoor herb garden, you can start from seed or buy them as small plants from a local nursery. The good news is that herbs are really easy to grow! All you need is a windowsill or spot with good sunlight, a pot, some soil and a little time to care for your plants each week.
Choose a Container
Choose a container that allows for drainage. If you plant in a container that doesn’t have the ability to drain at the bottom, layer the bottom of your container with small pebbles to catch the extra water. You will want to find a container that is at least 6″ to start. You can plant herbs together in a larger container. If you decide to plant some together, some herbs grow better together than others because of the amount of water they need to grow well.
Watering and Sunlight
All herbs like sunlight. They need at least six hours of sunlight per day. Try to place your herbs as close as possible to your brightest window. Avoid setting them in the center of a room or near a window with a northern exposure, neither of which will offer enough sunlight for your herbs to grow well.
Basil, chives and mint all prefer a moist environment. They need to be watered 3-4 times a week. A good indicator is to notice when the top layer of soil is slightly dry. Be sure to water thoroughly, allowing the water to drain through the bottom of the containers. Mint has a tendency to spread quickly so, if you are planting it with other herbs, I would plant it at the end of a container. If the leaves begin to wilt or turn yellow, scale back the amount you are watering.
Thyme, rosemary and oregano prefer a drier environment. Depending on the size of your container, they will only need to be watered 1-2 times per week. If the leaves start to brown you may need to water more often, but don’t overwater or their roots will rot.
Cooking with Herbs
Fresh herbs add brightness and a delicious flavor to your recipes. This is our guide for how to use your fresh herbs in your cooking:
For the best flavor and to prevent the leaves from turning brown, add basil at the end of cooking. Remove the leaves and discard the stems, because the leaves hold the most flavor. Basil goes really well with tomato dishes, grilled chicken, curry and anything Italian.
Mint surprisingly has a similar flavor profile to basil. A lot of dessert recipes call for fresh mint, but it is also key ingredient in savory dishes too! Some ways to use mint in your cooking: add on top of Greek yogurt and berries, use in a chocolate smoothie, add to a salad with balsamic vinegar, make a fruity drink with mint and lime, use in a salad with quinoa or kale, serve with pasta and fresh veggie.
Rosemary’s pine-like flavor makes a great addition hearty meals like roasted chicken, pork tenderloin and roasted potatoes. It is also delicious baked in bread and muffins, added to sweet potato fries and roasted cauliflower or sauteed with shrimp and lemon.
Thyme goes well with meat, tomatoes, and beans. Thyme is a classic addition to roast chicken but can also be used in soups, breads, and sauteing with fresh veggies.
Fresh chives add a savory, mild onion flavor to sauces and dips. It is delicious to use with biscuits, in potato dishes, omelets, with cooked carrots, in cornbread, and in scrambled eggs.