Indoor Container Gardening: 3 Summer Herbs to Grow

Friday, June 30, 2017

By: Ariana Palmieri
The first plant I ever grew from seed was organic basil. I planted one tiny seed in a small terra cotta pot on my windowsill. I remember the day like it was yesterday. In that one moment I was filled with so much love and hope: I couldn't wait until it sprouted! And then, not even a week later, my baby basils were popping their little heads up. I couldn't have been prouder and more excited than I was at that moment. And you know what? That basil grew to be the tallest basil plant I've ever had (and the most beautiful too). It lasted all summer long and its leaves made great additions to pasta sauce. You can read more about my first basil plant here (warning: This is one of my very early blog posts, so it's not exactly written the same way my blog posts are now).
That said, it's no surprise basil has a special place in my heart. So of course I'd include it on my list of herbs to grow this summer. And the best part? It can be grown successfully in an indoor container garden. The other two herbs I'll be talking about are thyme and dill. While I can't say I've planted these two, I can say they do make great additions to anyone's home. Who doesn't want fresh herbs on the daily, after all? 
My first post in this series was about spring herbs. If you'd like to see the first article in this series, I got you covered. My second post was all about spring vegetables, and my third post was about spring fruits. If you enjoy this series, be sure to look out for another article at the end of every month. I publish every Friday, so look out for the next one July 28th!

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Basil


Definitely my favorite summer herb to grow, I highly recommend growing basil for beginners. It's not hard to do and basil isn't very knit picky. Plus, these make great additions to any pasta sauce (trust me on this one, I'm Italian). I've even heard basil is great for acne, due to its antibacterial properties. Maybe I'll grow this again sometime soon (I actually really miss my basil plant and still have seeds leftover).
You will need:
  • Basil seeds (preferably organic)
  • 6 inch clay pot with drainage hole
  • Organic potting soil (I got mine at Home Depot)
  • A dish, saucer, or tray to place under pot (to capture any water leaked out of drainage hole)
  • Sunny window (South, west, or east facing windows are best)

Directions:
  1. Fill your 6 inch clay pot with your organic potting soil.
  2. Now add some seeds to your soil. I recommend no more than 4 seeds per pot. Give them their space too: Seeds should be at least 3 - 6 inches apart.
  3. Now cover the seeds with some more soil, about 1/2 inch deep (in other words, don't bury them). Transfer the pot over to your chosen windowsill. Over the next few days, water by gently misting the soil, instead of with a watering can. Personally, I don't even use a watering can: I use an upcycled glass bottle. It's easier to water plants this way because there aren't several watering holes (just one) so I have better control over my watering.
  4. Watering: Once you start to see sprouts, now you can use your watering can (or for me, my upcycled glass bottle - which I painted and made look all pretty by the way). Make sure you water around the sprouts, not on them (sprouts are very fragile and you don't want them bending in awkward ways!). Water ONLY when the soil at the top is dry to the touch. I always watered my basil daily, but never over did it (just enough to make the soil moist).
  5. Sunlight: Basil needs at least 6 hours of sunlight. Essentially, that means don't even bother moving them away from the windowsill. They love sun and heat!
  6. Harvesting: To harvest basil, simply snip off a full grown leaf or two. Depending on how much you need, I wouldn't cut too much off. You want to let the basil grow back, so don't cut off more than you know you'll use. You can add it fresh to sauces, pestos, or stir-frys. You can also store it for later (here are a few clever ways to store basil).

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Dill

Dill is an all-around favorite herb in my household. I absolutely love putting it in my homemade veggie soups - and don't even get my started on those dill pickles. Have you ever seen the Rugrats episode where Tommy and friends all think Didi is planting more baby Dils? Sorry - I just had to reference that. Dill is just too close to my heart not to. I'm determined to grow it one day, especially since it's so easy to grow and too delicious not to. If you're curious, here are 8 yummy recipes to make using dill.
You will need:
  • Dill seeds (preferably organic - try to find dwarf dill seeds, since dill tends to grow very tall)
  • 6 - 8 inch clay pot with drainage hole
  • Organic potting soil (I got mine at Home Depot)
  • A dish, saucer, or tray to place under pot (to capture any water leaked out of drainage hole)
  • Sunny window (South, west, or east facing windows are best)
Directions:

  1. Fill your 6 - 8 inch clay pot with your organic potting soil
  2. Now add some seeds to your soil. I recommend no more than 1 seed per pot, as dill needs its space. It also doesn't take very well to being transplanted, so make sure you don't put it in anything smaller then what I recommended.
  3. Now cover the seeds with some more soil, about 1/4 to 1/2 inches deep (in other words, don't bury them). Transfer the pot over to your chosen windowsill. Over the next few days, water by gently misting the soil, instead of with a watering can.
  4. Watering: Once you start to see sprouts, now you can use your watering can (or for me, my upcycled glass bottle). Make sure you water around the sprouts, not on them (sprouts are very fragile and you don't want them bending in awkward ways!). Water ONLY when the soil at the top is dry to the touch. I always watered my basil daily, but never over did it (just enough to make the soil moist).
  5. Sunlight: Dill needs 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. Essentially, that means don't even bother moving them away from the windowsill. If you have a windowsill that doesn't get that amount of sunlight, consider investing in grow lights.
  6. Harvesting: To harvest dill, wait 6 to 8 weeks after planting. As soon as the plant has four to five leaves, you can start harvesting. Pinch off the leaves or cut them with scissors from the stem base. To store dill, wash, trim, and chop the dill, allowing it to dry thoroughly. Then, freeze in ice cube trays with a bit of water. This way, your supply of dill will last you for 4 to 6 months!

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Thyme

Although I've never grown this plant myself, I can say my family does like to use it, especially for seasoning. It smells really good too. It's been said to be a little tricky in terms of growing it from seed, so you've been warned. If you'd like to take the easy way out, look for thyme cuttings or sprouts. Personally, I prefer a little bit of a challenge and love the joy I get from growing something from seed, so, I'd probably choose seed over pre-sprouted thyme. Thyme makes an excellent addition to meat-themed dishes. Here are a few thyme-inspired dishes that'll make you hungry.
You will need:
  • Thyme seeds, or pre-sprouted thyme (preferably organic)
  • 6 - 8 inch clay pot with a very good drainage hole
  • Organic potting soil (I got mine at Home Depot)
  • A dish, saucer, or tray to place under pot (to capture any water leaked out of drainage hole)
  • Sunny window (South, west, or east facing windows are best)
Directions:
  1. Fill your 6 - 8 inch clay pot with your organic potting soil.
  2. Now add some seeds, or sprouts, to your soil. I recommend no more than one seed/sprout per pot. Since thyme can be tricky to grow from seed, I'd suggest growing it in a few different pots, maybe two or three.
  3. Now cover the seeds with some more soil, about 1/2 inch deep (in other words, don't bury them). Transfer the pot over to your chosen windowsill. Over the next few days, water by gently misting the soil, instead of with a watering can. Personally, I don't even use a watering can: I use an upcycled glass bottle. It's easier to water plants this way because there aren't several watering holes (just one) so I have better control over my watering.
  4. Watering: Once you start to see sprouts, now you can use your watering can (or for me, my upcycled glass bottle). Make sure you water around the sprouts, not on them (sprouts are very fragile and you don't want them bending in awkward ways!). Water ONLY when the soil at the top is dry to the touch. Make sure the drainage in the pot is good, as thyme doesn't take well to soggy roots. Never let it sit in water that's been collected in the saucer, either.
  5. Sunlight: Thyme needs at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight. Essentially, that means don't even bother moving them away from the windowsill. If you have a windowsill that doesn't get that amount of sunlight, consider investing in grow lights.
  6. Harvesting: To harvest thyme, simply snip off a leaf or a spring at any time. You can use it immediately or save it for later. To dry the spring, hang them in a dark, well ventilated, warm area. You can also just dry the leaves by placing them on a tray. Once dried, store them in an air-tight container. Freezing is another way to store them.

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Want more indoor container gardening? Check out the rest of the series here (this list will be updated):
Part 6 - Coming soon! *Summer fruits*
I'll update this series once a month on a Friday. Next month's will probably be on July 28th. See you then! 


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