4 Easy Herbs to Grow for an Indoor Garden

Growing an indoor herb garden can be tricky. Stick with these four flavorful, foolproof options for easy success.

| November/December 2011

  • Basil is a beautiful, fragrant herb that grows quickly.
  • Sorrel leaves have a zesty, lemony flavor, and they grow fairly well in partial shade.

You’ve likely been told—in magazine articles, on television and by indoor herb garden kit packaging—about the ease with which you can grow an indoor culinary herb garden. In reality, however, most culinary herbs do not grow well indoors, especially in winter. Light levels are simply too low and, unless you have a greenhouse, you probably will not be very happy with the return on your time investment as you struggle to coax a few leaves out of paltry, non-producing herbs this winter. Luckily, you can greatly improve your odds of success by growing these four hardy culinary herb superstars, delicious plants that make themselves quite at home on a sunny windowsill and add a wonderful burst of fresh green flavor to your winter meals.

Brilliant Basil 

The unbeatable taste of fresh basil compared with its much-blander dried counterpart makes it worthwhile to grow indoors. Plus, a pot of sweet, fragrant basil smells wonderful in the house. Basil is fast-growing and easy to grow when started from seed—just follow the directions on the packet. Give the plants bright light and harvest leaves as needed.

Charming Chives 

You can simply dig up a clump of easy-growing chives from your garden and pot it up. Cut the leaves extremely short when you pot the plant. After the leaves grow back in a few weeks, harvest them as needed by snipping them at the base. If you don’t have a clump in the garden, you can start chives from seed, but be aware that the plants will take awhile to reach harvestable size. Sow the seeds thickly—chive plants are skinny and don’t mind being crowded. Though fresh chives are of course superb mixed into sour cream on a baked potato, they’re also delicious in scrambled eggs, green salads, pasta or anywhere you might use onions. Snip and freeze chives to use to top all kinds of savory foods—use frozen chives exactly as you would fresh.

Spry Spearmint 

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