We love herbs but they are typically sold in such large bunches that they end up spoiling before we can finish them. Under those circumstances a living herb garden makes perfect sense! But let’s face it. Canada really only has two seasons: winter and the month of July. The perfect solution for us was to start growing our own herbs indoors! Growing our own will not only curtail our current food waste, but provide a ready source of nutrient rich, flavour-packed herbs year-round!
Find a Sunny Window
We have the perfect sunny spot in a window that faces South to grow herbs successfully! With the help of Ikea’s SATSUMAS plant stand and VILDAPEL plant pots, we got busy setting up our little herb garden.
We selected five herbs to grow indoors: basil, rosemary, chives, sage and mint. All these herbs work well in pots. Mint is a particularly invasive herb in the garden so it’s especially great for growing in a container garden.
My personal favourites are basil and rosemary.
To plant our herbs, we purchased some potting soil at our local garden centre. However, we didn’t realize that potting soil can be different for outdoor vs. indoor use. The first bag of potting soil we purchased was labeled organic. I grabbed it without reading the lable too closely thinking it was what we needed. But when I opened the bag, I saw that the soil was dense and there were even some red wiggler worms in the mix. Worms are great for composting in the garden, but not so practical for indoor containers.
Luckily the garden centre was good about allowing us to exchange the soil and this time I asked for their recommendation. They recommended a container mix that included peat moss, coconut husk fibre, fertilizer and composted manure and a wetting agent which combine to make container maintenance easier.
The VILDAPEL plant pot is made out of bamboo, which is a renewable material.The bottom has a 1.5” liner which is great for catching water runoff. While we were at the garden centre, we found the perfect plastic pots with drainage holes. We’ll use those to plant the actual herbs into before popping them into the VILDAPEL; an ideal pairing.
Plant the Herb Garden
We worked out in the garage to contain the mess. Hubs set up his work bench as a potting station (the bag of soil you see pictured below was the one we had to take back).
Hubs poured some of the potting soil into a plastic container to make it easier to work with.
Although it isn’t necessary, we had some leftover landscape cloth from an outdoor project and placed it into the bottom of each plastic pot. The cloth allows water to drain through, but keeps the dirt in place.
We then added some soil into the bottom of each pot.
When removing the herb plant from its original container, loosen the soil around the roots and tease them out so they’re able to grow into the new soil.
Centre the herb in the pot. However, also make sure that the finished level will end up sitting below the rim. This allows room so water doesn’t spill over the edge of the pot when the plants are watered. You can then fill in any gaps around the side with additional potting soil.
The holes in the bottom of the plastic pot provide extra insurance. Importantly, they allow water to drain so water can’t accumulate and can’t rot out the roots of the herbs.
Give the herbs a good watering and they’re ready to come indoors.
Balanced on the rim, the herb pot sits at just the right height to allow excess water to drain into the plastic that lines the inside of the VILDAPEL plant pot.
To round out our herb garden, I wanted to keep a pair of pruners nearby to allow easy harvest of our herbs. Likewise, you could also use scissors.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and that is how I stumbled on a brilliant use for the VEMUND Marker/eraser holder. Since the VEMUND is magnetic, I thought I’d see if it would work on the metal shelf of the plant stand to hold the pruners. As you can see below, it fit perfectly!
To make this new storage solution both functional and beautiful, I moved the VEMUND to the back of the plant stand. The VEMUND is great for keeping the pruners hidden but still close at hand – right where they belong!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of growing your own herbs when we publish our next post on ‘Sustainable Sunday’! We’ll be showing you how to harvest and use your basil to make pesto! I suspect there’s going to be lots of good eats ahead as we explore how to live more sustainably!
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