There’s nothing like fresh herbs on a dish to brighten the meal and add that extra accent of flavor. Growing herbs indoors is a great way to bring nature to you and give your meals that fresh-from-the-garden vibe.
If you’ve ever considered growing herbs but never been brave enough, you’ve come to the right place! Here are five common mistakes beginners make and how you can avoid them.
1. Going Too Big Too Quickly
If you’ve never grown an indoor herb garden before, it’s important to start small. This means not buying seeds or seedlings of every herb you can think of.
Start with one herb. Basil is a great beginner’s plant because it is a very common herb used in a multitude of recipes. It’s easy to dry and if you forget to water it on schedule it won’t hold it against you.
Once you feel comfortable taking care of one herb, you can add another to your indoor garden (we recommend chives as another good beginner herb).
2. Providing the Wrong Amount of Light
Another common mistake when growing a herb garden indoors is not reading the information card on your herb. Some herbs need full sun, but there are other herbs that grow in shade. You could be scorching or starving your little seedlings by putting them in the wrong place.
3. Too Much or Not Enough Water
Because they are potted and removed from extreme temperatures, indoor plants can go longer without water than outdoor plants. Too much water (especially with nowhere to drain) can lead to root rot, but if you don’t water your herb enough, it will wilt and die.
These tragedies can easily be avoided by checking the information card on your herb to see how often it recommends watering. Set a schedule on your phone to help remind you if you’re worried about forgetting.
4. Harvesting the Wrong Leaves
You might think that when it comes time to make use of your herb, you should go for the mature, larger leaves, but you actually want to pluck the newer leaves. Those established leaves are like the arteries of the plant and do the best job of keeping the plant nourished.
5. Not Pruning
While it may seem counterintuitive to cut new growth off your plant, the key to growing herbs (and most plants) is proper pruning. When done correctly, pruning encourages growth and maximizes the plant’s ability to absorb sunlight and nutrients.
By the time your herb flowers, all the plant’s resources have switched priorities. It will no longer produce flavorful leaves but focus on pollination and reproduction. This changes the quality of the herbs and can make them bland or bitter. To avoid this, prune back the buds as soon as you see them.
Growing Herbs Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
Now that you know the most common mistakes when growing herbs, there’s nothing to be afraid of. You can start your indoor herb garden and begin a new chapter in your culinary prowess.
If you enjoyed this, be sure to check out our other articles.