All you need to bring nature indoors is a windowsill! By growing a variety of herbs you can engage your children and bring great, fresh flavours to your cooking. You can start your windowsill herb garden with seeds or small plants – depending on which you can get hold of and how much work you want to put into growing them.
While seeds are more affordable for growing herbs indoors, they will need more work and will take longer to grow than a young plant. Your kitchen windowsill is an obvious first choice as it’s closer to where you prepare meals, but any window in your home will work if you have the right conditions. Here are some tips to get you started.
If possible, it’s ideal to source herbs from young plants (seedlings) rather than using a cutting or seeds from a packet. These will be easier to look after and quicker to grow. Herbs used in cooking often like full and direct sunlight; so bear this in mind when finding the best location for them in your home. When it comes to planting and potting your herbs, it’s best to follow the instructions given (or found online) as these may vary from herb by herb. Preparation, pot size and the type of soil needed may be different depending on the seed or plant you’ve chosen.
When choosing which herbs to grow, think about the herbs you use most often in your cooking, ones that have great smells, and others with strange shapes that will get your children excited about what you’re growing. Mint, rosemary, oregano, chives and parsley all have very distinctive smells and will thrive on a windowsill.
When planting the herbs out, make sure you give them enough room. The roots need space to grow, and without it those roots won’t be able to support the plant above. Some herbs, such as mint and coriander, shouldn’t be planted with others – so they’re best in their own pots. However, there are many herbs that can thrive together in one pot, particularly if they are ones you combine when cooking – such as basil, parsley and thyme.