Extend The Gardening Season: How to Grow Herbs Indoors

Plant herbs in a sunny window and harvest them to use in your favorite recipes all year long.

Courtesy Noelle Johnson

Do you lament the loss of being able to grow fresh herbs outdoors once the cold of winter arrives? Well then, you will be happy to learn that you can enjoy freshly-grown herbs all year long.

While you can visit your local supermarket and buy fresh herbs, they can be expensive.

Courtesy Noelle Johnson

I like to grow a variety of herbs outdoors in a large container during in spring and summer.  However as the weather begins to cool, many gardeners pull out their herbs, toss them into the compost pile and wait until the next spring to plant them again. But, did you know that many herbs can be grown indoors in front of a sunny window?

Courtesy Noelle Johnson

Last year, I planted basil, parsley and thyme into colorful containers and placed them in front of my south-facing kitchen window. It is very easy to grow herbs indoors. Here are some guidelines to get you started:

1. Herbs Need a Sunny Spot

A south-facing window is best, but west and east-facing will also do. The window by my kitchen sink is filled with an assortment of plants during the winter months. My herbs did great all winter long and I transplanted them out into the garden, once the temperatures warmed up in the spring.

2. Feed Your Herbs

Use a high-quality potting mix and plant your herbs. I like to apply a slow-release fertilizer, which will last about 3 months. But you can fertilize monthly using 1/2 strength liquid fertilizer.

4. Don’t Forget to Water

Water once the top inch of soil is slightly dry. Then water deeply to reach the roots.

Courtesy Noelle Johnson
Freshly harvested thyme and sage.

5. Use Fresh Herbs for Cooking Year-Round

Snip off herbs as needed for to create your favorite dishes. Herbs that can be grown indoors include basil, bay, chives, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and thyme.  While these herbs won’t grow as large as when grown outdoors, they will certainly provide you with a good supply of aromatic leaves for cooking through the winter.

So, stop limiting your access to fresh herbs this coming winter and extend your growing season by planting them indoors.

Noelle Johnson
Noelle Johnson is a horticulturist and certified arborist who lives and gardens in the desert Southwest. When she is not writing or helping other people with their gardens, you can find her growing fruits and vegetables, and planting flowering shrubs and maybe a cactus or two.