Herbs are an essential ingredient in many tasty dishes. Growing herbs in pots is a great way to ensure that you always have fresh herbs on hand, even if you don’t have an outdoor garden.
Aromatic herbs in the kitchen
In the kitchen, aromatic herbs are a must! They add flavor and aroma to any dish. In addition, rich in antioxidants and nutrients, they are beneficial to health. Herbs such as basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley and cilantro are staples, but there are so many other herbs to discover and experiment with.
Growing herbs in pots is easy and convenient, as it allows you to have fresh herbs on hand throughout the year. In addition, growing your herbs in pots is a great way to decorate your kitchen and make it more livable.
Choosing herbs for indoor growing
Not all herbs are suitable for growing in pots. Some herbs, such as rosemary and thyme, have woody growth and are not ideal for indoor growing. The most suitable herbs for growing in pots are basil, cilantro, parsley, chives, mint, oregano, thyme, chervil, marjoram and sage.
Each herb has unique needs for light, moisture and air circulation. It is therefore important to choose herbs according to these factors. For example, most herbs need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day, while some herbs, such as mint, can thrive in the shade. It is also important to maintain high humidity around the herbs to prevent them from drying out, and to provide good air circulation to prevent fungal diseases.
What type of pot to choose for herbs?
Herbs need a deep pot to allow root development. Clay pots are a good option because they are porous and allow water to evaporate, preventing root rot. Plastic pots are also a practical and economical option. It is important to choose pots with drainage holes to allow water to drain and avoid water accumulation.
How to prepare the soil for growing herbs in pots?
Herbs grow well in well-drained, nutrient-rich soil. Use a quality potting soil for herbs or make your own mixture of potting soil, sand and compost. Make sure the soil is well moistened before planting the herbs.
Growing herbs in pots: practical advice
To grow healthy and tasty herbs in pots, it is important to consider their water, nutrient and maintenance needs.
How to water herbs in pots?
Herbs need regular watering to maintain constant moisture. Check the soil moisture regularly by inserting your finger into the soil. If the soil is dry to an inch deep, it’s time to water. Avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot. Using a drainage tray under the pot can help keep moisture around the herbs.
How to feed herbs in pots?
Herbs need nutrients to grow and thrive. Fertilize herbs every two weeks with a high-nitrogen liquid fertilizer to promote leaf growth. Avoid over fertilizing the herbs as this can affect their flavor.
How to maintain herbs in pots?
Herbs need regular pruning to encourage growth. Cut the stems back about a third to prevent the plants from getting too tall and invasive. Herbs can also be prone to fungal diseases, so it is important to monitor plants regularly for signs of infection.
Harvesting herbs in pots
Harvesting herbs in pots is easy and rewarding. However, it is important to know when and how to harvest the herbs to avoid damaging the plant and to obtain optimal flavors.
When and how to harvest herbs in pots?
Most herbs can be harvested once the plants have reached a height of 15 to 20 centimeters. Trim leaves or stems with clean kitchen scissors. Be sure to leave enough leaves on the plants to allow for continued growth.
How to store harvested herbs?
Here are some tips on how to store your herbs for later use. Remember to label your herbs so you know what you have stored and when you have stored it. This will help you avoid waste and maximize the use of your herb garden.
- Fresh herbs: herbs are best when used immediately after harvesting. But if you don’t use them right away, you can store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator. However, they can quickly lose their flavor and freshness. Fresh herbs can also be stored in a vase filled with water, like flowers, to extend their life.
- Dried herbs: Herbs can be air dried or dried in a food dehydrator. To air dry, simply hang the herbs upside down in a dry, cool, dark place. When completely dry, remove the leaves from the stems and store in an airtight glass jar. The dried herbs can be used for several months.
- Frozen herbs: Herbs can also be frozen for later use. Wash and chop the fresh herbs, then place them in ice cube trays. Fill the molds with water and place them in the freezer. Once the ice cubes are formed, you can transfer them to freezer bags. Frozen herbs can be used for several months.
Which herbs to combine (or not) in a planter?
It is quite possible to combine several herbs in a small planter that you will place on the windowsill of your kitchen.
Here are some ideas for herb combinations to grow together:
- Bouquet garni: Grow thyme, bay leaves and parsley together to create a bouquet garni perfect for stews, soups and casseroles.
- The Italian Trio: Grow basil, oregano and rosemary together to add a Mediterranean flavor to your pasta and pizza dishes.
- Asian duo: grow Thai basil and cilantro to add flavor to Asian dishes such as curries and stir-fries.
- Salad Garden: Grow chives, arugula, parsley and cilantro to add flavor and texture to your salads.
- The Aromatic Trio: Grow thyme, rosemary and sage to add robust flavor to roasts and meat dishes.
Remember that herbs have different needs for light, water and nutrients. Before combining them, make sure the herbs you have chosen have similar needs for growth and health.
Here are some herbs that coexist harmoniously:
- Basil, Parsley and Cilantro: These herbs are often combined because they have similar needs in terms of sun exposure and soil. However, basil can be more demanding in terms of watering and nutrients than other herbs.
- Thyme, rosemary and sage: These Mediterranean herbs prefer well-drained soil and generous sun exposure.
- Tarragon and oregano: These herbs can be combined because they have similar needs.
Generally speaking, it is considered best not to plant mint with other herbs because it tends to spread quickly and can choke out its neighbors. Before combining herbs in the same planter, check the labels at the time of purchase to make sure they are compatible.
Growing herbs in pots for the kitchen is a convenient and economical way to get fresh herbs year-round. Even without a garden, with just a small window sill, you can easily grow your own herbs to add flavor and personalize favorite dishes. So go for it, you won’t regret it!