By Melissa Wynn
Most families have a group of herbs that they use on a regular basis so why not grow them right in the kitchen? Chives, oregano, sage, cilantro, parsley, rosemary and thyme are a few popular and delicious herbs that easily thrive indoors. The plants are pretty, smell good and all plants help to purify the air, everything is a win. Growing your own kitchen herb garden is simple and inexpensive.
First choose a spot like a kitchen window sill where your herb garden will get at least four to six hours of sunshine each day. Next choose one large or several small planters that best fit your sunny space without overcrowding. Hanging pots and baskets are a great option if your space is limited.
Plant your seeds or starter plants as directed in the chosen containers. When planting several herbs in one container remember to combine plants that prefer the same growing conditions. For example thyme and rosemary both grow best in well-drained sandy soil while parsley and chives thrive better in a rich all purpose potting mix. Several herb garden starter kits are also available online and at most retailers that carry garden supplies.
Once your plants are well established you are ready to harvest and eat your herbs. Snip just what you need as you are cooking always leaving enough of your plant to allow it to continue to grow. If your plants grow faster than you use them you can always harvest a large quantity and dry or freeze them for later use.
Most herbs should also be harvested before the plant blooms as many tend to get a bitter flavor in the leaves once the plant flowers and begins to go to seed. If your chives get flower buds it is time to harvest. The more concentrated flavors of dried herbs also stand up best in simmered dishes such and soups and sauces.
Dried or fresh, herbs from your own indoor garden are sure to brighten up your menu and kitchen. Bon appétit! r