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By Brian Barth
Old Man Winter limits most of us from gardening year-round. Growing vegetables indoors is impractical without an expensive greenhouse—except for herbs, which grow big enough for a satisfying harvest with minimal space or attention. Pick up a selection in fall before nurseries clear out their stock for winter. And follow these tips to make sure they thrive.
1. Location and Light
A large south-facing window is ideal for an indoor herb garden, as most varieties require at least four to six hours of direct sunlight each day to thrive (mints can get by on less). Lacking this, you must supplement the available natural light with artificial light or the plants will quickly become stunted.
Unfortunately, the average light bulb won't cut it. You need grow lights designed specifically for the purpose. The good news is that these are affordable, readily available and easy to install. Plus, Modern Farmer has published a guide with everything you need to know.
2. Best Herbs to Try
This is a matter of available space. If you're short on it, choose from smaller herbs like basil, thyme, oregano, mint, chives, savory and dill. Rosemary, lavender and sage are options if you have a bit more room.
3. The Right Container
Bigger is always better—you won't produce much in the 3-inch pots that herbs are often sold in. If you have the space, transplant the herbs into one-gallon plastic pots, which will give them enough room to grow until spring. To prevent messes—and avoid an eyesore in your living space—purchase an attractive planter deep enough to conceal the plastic pots. Line the planter with sheet plastic so that water cannot spill out the bottom.
4. Maintaining Vitality
With indoor herbs, it's not always enough to simply water when the soil is dry. For best results, mimic rainfall by spraying down the leaves in the kitchen sink once a week. Alternatively, spritz the foliage with a misting bottle every few days. Feed every few weeks with a natural liquid fertilizer; products intended for houseplants are generally sufficient. If insects like aphids or whiteflies appear, spray them with diluted soapy water—find our instructions for this all-natural insecticide here.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Whitney E. Akers
- "The Game Changers" is a new documentary on Netflix that posits a vegan diet can improve athletic performance in professional athletes.
- Limited studies available show that the type of diet — plant-based or omnivorous — doesn't give you an athletic advantage.
- We talked to experts about what diet is the best for athletic performance.
Packed with record-setting athletes displaying cut physiques and explosive power, "The Game Changers," a new documentary on Netflix, has a clear message: Vegan is best.
By John R. Platt
When it comes to solving problems related to wildlife trade, there are an awful lot of "sticky widgets."
By Bijal Trivedi
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on Nov. 13 that describes a list of microorganisms that have become resistant to antibiotics and pose a serious threat to public health. Each year these so-called superbugs cause more than 2.8 million infections in the U.S. and kill more than 35,000 people.
By Joe Vukovich
Under the guise of responding to consumer complaints that today's energy- and water-efficient dishwashers take too long, the Department of Energy has proposed creating a new class of dishwashers that wouldn't be subject to any water or energy efficiency standards at all. The move would not only undermine three decades of progress for consumers and the environment, it is based on serious distortions of fact regarding today's dishwashers.