While the idea of gardening can seem daunting to some, caring for a plant is actually a great way to relieve stress — but gardening comes in many forms, including indoor gardening. A simple kitchen herb garden is a great way to reap both the physical and mental health benefits of gardening.
With so many varieties of herbs, you can add a pop of fresh flavor and color to any dish you cook at home. Plus, it’s almost effortless to grow herbs inside with a few materials and easy-to-follow steps. All you need is a medium-sized pot or a set of small pots (depending on the counter space in your kitchen), soil, organic fertilizer and your favorite herbs.
Shopping: When shopping for herbs, make sure you examine the leaves of the plants for any marks of possible disease or pests. Telltale signs include damage like holes or discoloration on the leaves or stems.
If space is limited in your kitchen, look for herbs that have the same environmental needs because they can be grouped into one pot. For example, the Italian trio — oregano, parsley and thyme — all enjoy the sun, so they can be planted together and set by a window to grow. Also keep in mind the types of herbs that are especially easy to grow inside, such as chives, sage, mint and rosemary. Calloway’s sells a wide selection of organic herbs grown right here in Texas by Blue Label Farms, including favorites like the Italian trio, basil, cilantro, dill, lavender, mint and many harder-to-find varieties.
Planting: When you get your herbs home, it’s quick and easy to plant them. Make sure your pot has a small hole at the bottom to allow for drainage and place it on a decorative plate or tray to catch excess moisture from watering. Fill the pot with a mix of soil and organic fertilizer, leaving a few inches of space at the top. Then, create a hole in the soil, gently loosen the herb and its root ball from its original container, place it in the pot and pack the root ball with soil. If you’re planting multiple plants in the same pot, space them at least two inches apart so the roots have room to grow.
Maintaining: Once planted, care for your herb garden regularly by watering when the soil feels dry to the touch. As a general rule of thumb, herbs will grow best if kept in natural light by a window. When you get ready to cook a delicious recipe using herbs, cut the leaves and stems you want to use from the top, not the bottom. Be careful not to prune too much of one herb at once, as it could stall its growth over time.
Kimberley Gotcher is the marketing director for Calloway’s Nursery, a local chain of garden centers that offers fresh, high-quality plants and flowers, plus gardening and outdoor supplies. With 18 stores around the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, Calloway’s has more Texas Certified Nursery Professionals in its stores than any other nursery or garden center in the state. As a gardening enthusiast and at-home chef, Gotcher regularly cooks with fresh herbs grown at her home. She also films weekly cooking videos for Calloway’s to give followers inspiration for using herbs in favorite recipes. Follow Calloway’s on Facebook for weekly recipe ideas using herbs.