Are you interested in creating an indoor herb garden but need some ideas and help? You are not alone as many people are joining the trend of using local ingredient by making mini herb gardens.
There are many benefits to having your own container herb garden.
First, your herbs will be very fresh. Store purchased herbs are typically not very fresh for two reasons: the time from farm to store can be several days & we often shop weekly so their herbs and vegetables sit in our refrigerator for several more days.
Another benefit of a herb garden is saving money. A small bunch of basil at my local Trader Joe’s costs $2.49. While TJ’s is typically a good value grocer, the bunch is usually bigger than I need so just 2 bunches would more than pay for a small basil plant from Home Depot which can last months.
A final benefit is convenience. Herbs are often a great finishing touch to a dinner plate but how often do we realize we need herbs and have to return to the store. A small indoor herb garden is always just a few feet away from the chef.
Now that we know the benefits of an herb garden, we plan and select our herbs for our container. My #1 tip is simple. Make it personal. Only select herbs that you want to use for cooking and enjoy the unique fragrance. Beyond that here are a few personal favorite of mine and why.
Basil – A great herb for Italian food. Basil plants can be harvested a leaf at a time which allows a single plant to support a family kitchen for several months.
Rosemary – A woody, fragrant perennial that has evergreen like stems. You can harvest just a few needles or an entire sprig for a roast. Rosemary is extremely durable, hardy, and long lasting. While I have an indoor rosemary plant for the Chicago winters, I also have a 3 year old rosemary plant in my garden which survives the winter and provides great summer rosemary.
Thyme – Is another fragrant herb that can not only be used in a variety of culinary dishes but can also be used to make tea. Studies have shown benefits of substituting one cup of thyme tea for coffee each day.
Mint – I’m including this for the mixologist. Mint is a great herb for cocktails. The mint leaves are muddled and mixed into the drink. The Mojito and Mint Julep are the most popular examples.
So now that we have our herbs picked out we need to get a container herb garden which you have 2 options: Make or Buy.
I’ve made cheap home made herb gardens and while they are effect, I find them to be a bit ugly and an eye sore in the kitchen. I do continue to experiment with them and have recently started to make hydroponic systems which are a fun and effective way to grow a lot of herbs in a small space. But I keep those things out of the kitchen:)!
Assuming you want a simple and attractive herb garden, I would recommend the AeroGarden. They come in several colors and sizes. I purchased the black 3 pod system over a year ago and have had great success. I currently have basil, thyme, and oregano growing.
Based on my personal experience I would say there are 4 pros:
- Easy to use. A light even flashes when you need to water the herbs.
- The kit has ‘pods’ that makes planting a snap.
- Attractive. I always receive complements of the unit in my kitchen.
- It has a grow light so you can also place it ‘out of the way’ in a closet if you don’t want anyone to see your secret herb garden.
The only con I have found is that I do find myself spending a lot of time tending my garden. This is because I have really gotten into it and try to make mine perfect. However most people can set and almost complete forget it. Click here to see it on Amazon.