Thursday, April 9, 2009

Indoor Organic Herb Garden

Author: Anna Hart

Growing an organic herb garden is a delightful project. The fragrant plants not only look and smell good; they are also good for flavoring foods.

Indoor organic herb gardens have the advantage of being year-round, giving a continuous supply of fresh herbs. An indoor organic herb garden can be as small as a few pots on a window sill or as large as a greenhouse filled with containers of aromatic organic herbs.

Herb Choices
There are many ways to decide which herbs to include in your organic herb garden. Here are some ideas.

1. Italian Herb Garden: Plant rosemary, oregano, basil, fennel, and chives. Terra cotta containers will make your indoor organic herb garden look authentically old world.

2. French Herb Garden: Begin with lemon basil, marjoram, and parsley, and add other herbs you like to use in French cooking.

3. Fragrant Herb Garden: Choose angelica, bergamot, catmint, chamomile, thyme, lavender, lemon balm, mint, and sage. This organic herb garden is a natural air freshener.

4. Tea Herb Garden: If you enjoy herbal teas, your organic herb garden might focus on appropriate herbs for your tea: catnip, chamomile, lavender, lemon grass, mint, and peppermint.

You may not want to theme your indoor organic herb garden, but simply grow a few herbs that appeal to you.

Many herbs are well-suited to container gardening, but you will want to choose containers according to the herbs you intend to grow.

1. Those tiny herb peat pots sold in discount stores give the wrong idea. Your indoor organic herb garden will not last long with such small thinking.

2. Begin with containers a bit larger than those in which the live nursery plants were purchased. This will give your plants room to start growing.

3. Once your herbs are stabilized and growing well, transplant them into larger containers.

4. Basil, mint, oregano, and sage are examples of herbs that can be grown in pots of about 8 to 10 inches.

5. If you want a large crop of herbs that is constantly being replenished in your organic herb garden, use 3 to 5 gallon containers. This will assure you of having plenty of rosemary, basil, etc. when you want it.

Container Soil
Indoor organic herb gardens call for building organic soil. Your soil should have a pH of about 7, since herbs prefer a more alkaline soil. If yours is too acid, add some calcified seaweed. Be sure you use only organic fertilizers to build your soil.

Indoor Lighting
An indoor organic herb garden will need lighting, especially if your room is not sunny. Lighting is especially important for year-round indoor gardens.

Different plants have different light requirements, some preferring bright sun and others preferring shade. Most herbs prefer full sun, but there are exceptions, so learn what each of your herbs needs.

Incandescent lights, even though called "grow lights", are a poor choice for your indoor organic herb garden. Fluorescent lights are better, and have the advantage of being inexpensive, easily available, and easy to set up. The best choice for lighting your indoor organic herb garden is high intensity discharge lighting, often called HID lights. These are even more affordable and efficient.

Useful and Beautiful
An indoor organic herb garden can be both useful and beautiful. Herbs are generally eager to please, and require little maintenance. Simply give them the right food, water, and sunlight, and they will reward you abundantly.

� 2007, Anna Hart. Anna Hart invites you to read more of her articles about organic gardening at Anna is posting new articles every week on that site, each one dealing with some facet of organic gardening. If you want information on locating live organic herb plants for your organic herb garden, you won't want to miss Anna's article on the subject.
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