Start Gardening Indoors with Spring Herbs
If you're eager to garden, start with an indoor windowsill herb garden and you'll save money on expensive grocery-store varieties.
The ongoing drought in California could have "large and lasting effects on fruit, vegetable, dairy and egg prices" although that impact has not been seen so far, USDA said.
California is the No. 1 U.S. farm state, producing roughly half the nation's fruits and vegetables. The Golden State faces a water crisis after its driest year on record in 2013. Large amounts of farmland are likely to go unplanted this year.
Growing your own produce is simple and fun.
- Most herb plants are resistant to insects and diseases. The oils that give them their aroma and flavour help repel pests.
- Inspect herbs regularly for aphids, which are small insects that suck the juices out of plants.
- Check for a fungal disease called powdery mildew, which will make your plants look like they have been dusted with flour.
- Powdery mildew develops in humid and moist conditions; to help prevent it, place herbs in a sun-filled spot and trim them to encourage better air circulation.
- The Home Depot carries a range of indoor products made specifically to help prevent pests and diseases on edible plants. Trusted brands like Scotts offer fast-acting solutions that can protect against pests for up to 12 months.
Position wellMost herbs need five hours of full midday sun in warm weather to produce the best flavour and growth. They can be planted indoors in containers or window boxes, then moved to the garden when it warms up. Although some herbs like parsleyand thyme can tolerate a little cool weather, it's best to bring them indoors in the late fall to help preserve them. A sunny south-facing window is adequate for most indoor herbs.
Follow directionsNot all herbs are created equal. If you've planted your herb garden in one large pot, group together herbs with similar growing requirements for more efficient plant care. For more tips, read our Plant Care Guides or refer to the section on growing conditions below for detailed planting tips on individual herbs.
Be soil savvyAlthough herbs can thrive in many soil conditions, an average vegetable-garden soil with good drainage suits all species. Scotts and Vigoropotting soils improve aeration and drainage for extended plant growth. For indoor herb gardens, choose a light potting soil with a high sand content to ensure good drainage. An organic fertilizer will add nutrients and encourage growth.
Water properlyMost herbs need to be kept damp but not wet; don't over water and do encourage proper drainage. Wait until the soil is dry, down to a depth of a 1/2 inch or so, then water thoroughly until soil is moist.
- The best time to pick herbs is first thing in the morning, when they contain the most essential oils and are most fragrant and aromatic.
- Harvest herbs by cutting back a shoot to just above a leaf to encourage regrowth. Fiskarshas a wide variety of shears available in-store and online, complete with serrated blades and sharp precision-ground blades.
- Basil: Plant in full sun in moist well-drained soil.
- Mint: Plant in full sun to partial shade in moist soil.
- Oregano: Plant in full sun in rich fertile soil.
- Parsley: Plant in full sun or partial shade in rich moist soil.
- Sage: Plant in full sun in well-drained soil.
- Thyme: Plant in full sun in light well-drained soil.
DIY herb recipes
If you make your own herb mixtures, you can adjust the flavours to suit your taste. Try these recipes for herbes de Provence and Italian seasoning:
Herbes de Provence
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp ground rosemary
1 tsp summer savoury
1/2 tsp lavender (optional but traditional)
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
2 tsp dried marjoram
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried sage
Source Home Depot at http://www.homedepot.com/garden-club