Live in an Apartment? Here's How to Start Your Own Herb Garden
Just because you live in an apartment, it doesn't mean you can't have your own full-blown herb garden at home. With more time spent at home these days, it's the perfect time to upskill and add some home cooking hacks to your repertoire.
But what to plant? The best herbs to have in your indoor herb garden include basil, chives, mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary and thyme. They're the easiest to grow and relatively durable. If you're a rookie, start with one or two—and choose the ones you're likely to use most in your meals. Love Italian? Basil is best.
There's something special about the act of picking fresh leaves from your very own indoor herb garden. Its a small gesture that can keep you grounded in self-care—just as you're caring for your new herb garden, you're also caring for yourself.
Here's how to start your own herb garden at home in just five easy steps.
The first and most important step is to choose the spot where your herb garden will live. You want your herbs to get six hours of sunlight daily, so find them a nice sunny window sill. They'll grow towards the sunlight, so be sure to rotate each pot regularly to ensure even growth. Give your herbs a holiday outside every now and then, for some one-on-one time with real, direct sunlight. Or, if you're on the 27th floor with no balcony, just open the window on a sunny day for a few hours.
Whether you're starting with seedlings or taking a shortcut and using already-matured potted herbs (absolutely no judgement either way), it's recommended that you re-pot them so they have room to grow. Provide each of your herbs its own 15–20cm pot (one with a drainage hole) and fill it with some potting mix (not garden soil). A good quality potting mix should be enough on its own, but a sprinkle of compost may help with nutrients and a dash of sand may help with drainage. Place a saucer underneath each pot to collect excess water and potting mix.
One of the most common mistakes people make when growing their own herbs at home is overwatering. Only water enough to keep the potting mix moist, and be careful to water the potting mix and not the leaves. Ideally, water each pot over the sink and hold it to allow excess water to drip through the drainage hole. Then place back on its saucer.
A good quality potting mix should be enough to stave off hunger pains for your herbs, but an occasional (fortnightly at most) dose of liquid fertiliser will give them a bit of oomph.
Remember to trim your herbs regularly to encourage growth. If they look a bit worse for wear, give them a good trim and take them outside. Once they're matured and ready for harvest, keep the following in mind: first be careful not to overdo it, as harvesting more than a third of the plant will make recovery difficult; and second, always harvest in the morning—the sun saps the essential oils out during the day, so the AM is when they're the most flavoursome.
Want more ideas for small spaces? Here are 11 landlord-approved hacks that will help turn your tiny balcony into an oasis.