How to Grow Your Own Herbs 101
The advantages of growing your own herbs are many-fold. To begin, fresher the herbs, better the taste. It is healthier, organic, cheaper, satisfying, and makes for a pretty fun hobby. You can grow the herbs in your outdoor garden (if you have one), or grow it indoors, in your kitchen space or balcony since they require a good amount of sunlight. They take up very little space and brighten up your indoors better than any painting.
The first step is to start with choosing a container. You can go for the basic earthen pots and paint them to your choice, or go the greener, cheaper way of recycling old buckets, plastic bottles, milk cans, juice cartons, etc, into DIY planters. Make sure that the planters are big enough for your herbs and have ample drainage holes to get rid of excess water. Place a tray underneath to collect this water to save your floors.
For the soil, you can either buy good grade potting soil from the market, or you can make it yourself by mixing equal amounts of garden soil and organic compost. You can make the latter at home as well, by composting kitchen waste. Once you have filled the planters with the potting soil, place the seeds or stalks evenly spaced out and cover them with more soil, making sure you don’t damage the roots of the stalks. Once the potting is done, water it just enough to moisten the soil, as too much water is bad for the herbs.
Here’s a list of herbs that would do great in the Indian weather that also feature in a lot of our Indian dishes:
- Ajwain / Carom
- Curry leaves
- Tulsi / Holy basil
- Pudina / Spearmint
The herbs need a good amount of sunlight throughout the year. Find a nice sunny window or balcony for your herb garden and also make sure they are not in direct sunlight during very hot summers. When it comes to watering, different herbs require different amounts of water. To combat this confusion, arrange your herb garden in ascending or descending order according to how much water they would need. Overwatering is a strict no-no and the first sign of it is your leaves turning yellow. Pruning the herbs is very important since it results in a thicker, healthier
growth of the plant. Also, make sure to give your herbs enough ventilation to prevent pests and weakening of the plants.
When your fragrant herb garden is ready for harvest, just snip off the leaves using garden scissors and remember to harvest from the base first. Your homegrown, organic herbs are all set to flavor your dishes with their unique fresh aroma and taste. Fresh herbs in dishes make a whole difference to the overall flavor and you’d never go back to buying bunches of herbs from the market.