You don’t need to have a huge garden to get green fingers.
Many people like the idea of growing their own produce but are put off by their lack of space and time – but anyone can grow herbs in their own home.
Herbs are a great way to make your cooking more exciting, while an indoor herb garden on your windowsill will add a touch of the great outdoors to your home.
They’re also very easy to look after, so here are a few tips to help get you started.
1. Choose herbs which will thrive indoors
To begin, think about the herbs you like to eat and those which would complement dishes you often make.
Basil: This handy herb can be harvested within several weeks of being planted and it tastes great with cheese and tomato, as well as in pasta dishes. Grind it together with pine nuts, parmesan cheese and olive oil to make a tasty homemade pesto.
Chives: Chives can be a tasty addition to a host of dishes – sprinkle them into your scrambled eggs and use them to liven up new or mashed potatoes.
Thyme: It will live happily on a warm windowsill. Combine it with butter to create a delicious herby rub to use when roasting a chicken.
Mint: A truly versatile herb which will liven up main courses, soups and desserts, while also useful as a classic garnish for food and drinks. Combine it with white wine vinegar, caster sugar and boiling water to make your own homemade mint sauce.
Other herbs which are easily grown indoors include dill, oregano, parsley, sage and rosemary.
The ideal conditions, such as the size of pot they should be planted in, can depend on each herb. A quick bit of research can help get the best out of them.
2. Use fertiliser
Every little helps when it comes to using fertiliser when growing plants and it’s no exception with herbs.
Seaweed-based fertiliser is thought to be the best for many herbs but any fertiliser will provide nutrients to help your herbs grow stronger.
3. Place them next to a south facing window
Herbs tend to need as much direct sunlight as possible, with six to eight hours of sunlight a day the recommended allowance. Though there are exceptions, often the more light herbs receive, the better their flavour, so choose the window in your home that will receive the most sunlight.
4. Water regularly – but not too much
Your herbs will need watering two or three times a week.
A good way to see if the herbs need watering is to put your thumb or finger about an inch into the soil at the top of the pot.
If it’s dry, water them. If not, wait until the soil at the top is dry. You don’t want to overwater them and kill the plants.
5. Once grown, keep picking them
In just a matter of weeks you should be able to season your cooking with a whole host of exciting flavours.
But even if there’s a spell when you’re not using the herbs, continue to pick them. The pruning helps keep the herbs healthy, stops overcrowding in the pot – helping them to receive more air – and it helps to create fresher plants for when you do want to use them.