Saturday, June 29, 2013

DIY - How To Grow Herbs Indoors

After last weeks kitchen reveal on The Block, I have been more than a little interested in developing my own indoor herb garden to use when making things like this delicious 12hr Lamb Ragu.

It's a bit of a hassle being in the midst of cooking and realising you need just a little more thyme or rosemary to really complete a dish, so this would be a fantastic addition to a cooks kitchen. Let's not forget though, they also look damn pretty and add life and colour into the heart of the home.

Alisa and Lysandra's inbuilt herb garden from The Block

Trixie and Johnno's indoor kitchen garden from The Block

Because my kitchen has just the one window, I needed to look for a compact version to give my sumptuous smelling plants a better chance of survival in the light. So I settled on six inch diameter terracotta pots which can easily sit on my windowsill, although I spruced them up through this little DIY here.

My DIY Terracotts Pots

In my research I discovered that there are certain varieties of herbs which grow much better than others in an indoor environment. These (thankfully) were just the kind of herbs I always use:

1. Rosemary - For all of you that forget to water plants, then rosemary is your new best friend. It requires little water and is a hardy plant but try and get either Tuscan Blue or Blue Spire as they are smaller and easier to grow indoors. (Although as they grow, chances are they will have to be moved to a larger pot.)

2. Chives - The humble yet delicious chive is a great plant to grow indoors in areas where there is little light. They can survive away from a window and if you continue to chop off the top third, they will keep you in good supply.

3. Thyme - is a much loved plant at my house and I will usually try and add it to everything, or at least as a garnish, because it's just so pretty. However, it will also grow well indoors if you can find a spot for it near some light.

4. Parsley - Parsley is a herb which I'm sure most of us use a lot of, so it is thankful that this little beauty will grow well indoors as it is a pretty hardy plant.

Herbs need a bit of room as they tend to produce fungus so the best way to prevent this is to grow them in terracotta pots at least 6 inches in diameter and provide adequate ventilation at the bottom. I did this by placing decorative pebbles in the bottom of the pot to allow airflow. Also, as some tend to spread more than others, keeping them in different pots is the best way to give all of them a chance at survival.

To keep them at their best, clip them back a little every now and again and occasionally fertilise them by adding one teaspoon of fish emulsion to a small watering can. You should always water them at the base of the plant, not over the leaves and don't overwater, every two or three days should be adequate.

Do you have any tips for growing plants/herbs indoors? I'd love to hear of ways you incorporated live herbs in your kitchen!

Sarah x


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