Starting herbs from seeds is possible and rewarding, says Toby Adams, Director of the Edible Academy at the New York Botanical Garden, in Bronx, New York, but will take significantly more time to grow to the size necessary to begin harvesting. He recommends sourcing herbs from seedlings, which are young plants that grew from seed rather than a cutting.
“ Culinary herbs like full and direct sun, so it is important to locate a windowsill with this in mind,” Adams explains. Mint, rosemary, basil, oregano, chives, parsley, and thyme all grow especially well on a windowsill, and you'll likely use these most in the kitchen.
If there's another herb you love and cook with regularly, you should feel free to try planting it. Its root system needs space to grow and if it doesn't, it won't be able to support the plant.
If you want one container to hold a few different plants, make sure they all have the same sun, temperature, and water needs. There is nothing quite like the taste of fresh herbs to really add a boost to your homemade recipes.
Many gardeners enjoy growing herb s outside during the summer months, but winter temperatures will kill them off for a while. Pretty much all herbs will grow in doors if you have enough light but some are more suited because of their size, or for their use in cooking.
So make some room on your sunny windowsill, add a few of your fresh herbs and get that flavor going! Each fall, I make sure to take cuttings of the plants that I grow outside in my deck garden and bring them inside to root.
This gives me plants for free and allows me to enjoy the use of basil all year long in recipes. There is nothing quite like the taste of twice baked potatoes topped with sour cream and a big sprinkle of fresh chives.
Keep the soil evenly moist and mist it occasionally to add extra humidity. It adds a lovely taste to chicken and I adore AHI tuna in a tarragon butter sauce.
If you grow tarragon outside during the summer months, bring it indoors when the leaves start to die back. Give parsley a semi sunny spot in a window that faces east or west and keep it evenly moist, but allowing it to dry out on the top layer of soil between watering.
Oregano is a herb that needs plenty of sunlight so give it a really sunny spot like a south facing window. It roots easily from cuttings and is often used in condiments for Indian cooking, or as garnishes for desserts.
One of my favorite fall main courses recipes is my roasted pork loin with mint sauce and plums. I also love to use mint in soothing teas to warm the scratchy winter throats.
It is great tucked under the skin of a fresh chicken or used it to flavor my grilled rosemary and garlic pork chops. Rosemary tends to like to be a bit on the dry side so be careful of over watering the plant.
With Thanksgiving just around the corner having a pot or two of fresh sage on hand to make sure that my turkey gets lots of extra flavor. I also love to use it for beer brined pork chops with a sage rub for a hearty fall meal.
Be careful of getting water on the fuzzy leaves since they tend to rot if they get overly wet. Sage will tolerate the low humidity of most homes but needs a south facing window to grow well.
I just strip the leaves from the thyme stems and add them whole to my recipe to give a lovely flavor to main courses and salads. It prefers full sun but will also do okay in an east or west facing window indoors.
This peppery herb adds a spicy touch to Mexican dishes like my margarita steaks with cilantro and lime recipe. This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you.
I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” Whether you have 5,000 square feet of house sitting on acres of garden-ready land, or a tiny loft with one window and a few cubic feet to spare, you've got room for a collection of herbs on your windowsill.
They're easy to grow, fragrant, and will instantly upgrade anything you can put fresh herbs on…even if it's just a frozen pizza (speaking from experience here). Unfortunately there are lots of containers, dishes, bowls, jars, and glasses that would be cute to put herbs in, but if they don't offer any drainage, they're a no-go.
Then choose a container that has a hole in the bottom for drainage, and a tray or saucer to protect whatever it is sitting on. Separate pots are a great idea, as some plants like drier or wetter soil than others.
Fresh oregano is actually milder than dried, so it's handy to have around if you find yourself cooking a variety of international dishes. A must-have during the holidays, sage also looks gorgeous growing before getting clipped for stews and dressing.
Or, try a combination of different herbs for a fragrant, flavorful, micro garden. No matter how tiny your apartment or how limited your time, you can make room for a miniature window herb garden.
First, its curled green leaves and long stalks make pretty window dressing. But the real clincher is that basil can be fragile, requiring even moisture and light, and often performs much better indoors than in the garden.
Unlike basil, mint is very easy to grow and will offer you large yields of fresh-smelling, delicately textured leaves year round. When your plant starts to flower, yank up the entire thing and hang it upside down to dry.
Silvery sage will make your entire house smell amazing, and if you believe the hype, can also cleanse your home's energies. The fresh leaves release a summery, peppery odor and flavor that pairs amazingly with rich dishes.
Its tiny leaves, either used as sprigs or chopped and crumbled into baked goods, release a light and lemony flavor that pairs with sweet and savory foods. As long as you have a deep enough perch where you can place your planters and a window that welcomes in several hours of sunlight each day, you can easily grow these eight herbs throughout the entire winter season.
Anyone who has tasted the complexity of oregano knows that it is an absolute must when it comes to seasoning things like poultry and pot roast. These hardy little plants make a beautiful addition to any kitchen and need just a small amount of attention to grow and produce a bounty of delicious leaves for any aspiring home cook.
Whether you want to grow and dry your own leaves for homemade teas, drop the pungent leaves into lemonade for an extra minty kick or store up these little treasures for a round of mojitos, you almost can’t go wrong with growing this plant indoors. Photo credit: Julian Hochgesang Rosemary is a crucial ingredient in seasoning chicken and other savory dishes, and the fresh scent easily hardens gardeners back to warmer weather.
Because a small rosemary plant won’t grow too tall or too wide, it’s a wonderful addition to any windowsill herb garden. Photo credit: Unsplash/Lava Perch While basil can be a little on the finicky side, it’s well worth the effort to nurture these plants throughout the cooler months.
You can easily add it to savory dishes, experiment with using it in drinks and desserts, or stock up on the leaves and create your own homemade pesto. This herb thrives in rich and moist soil, but make sure you use a container with ample drainage holes to avoid the roots becoming too damp.
Photo credit: Unsplash/Nintendo la Luz Parsley thrives indoors when placed in a sunny spot. When it comes time to harvest the leaves, start by clipping around the edges to encourage the plant to regrow at the center.
If you notice they get off to a slow start or feel like they aren’t growing to their full potential, try moving them to a sunnier location or supplementing their light with fluorescent. Unless you have a lot of window space to dedicate to this particular plant, choose a dwarf variety and regularly clip the leaves to keep it from growing out of control.
Bring some nature inside and switch up your meals with fresh ingredients. From baby beetroot to edible flowers, there are a whole hosts of amazing vegetables you can grow on your windowsill.
This peppery favorite is one of the easiest vegetables to grow on your windowsill, and is perfect to add to a salad or sandwich at lunchtime. You don’t even need compost to grow cress, as it can be grown on wet tissue or cotton wool.
Line a tray or container with wet tissue/cotton wool, sprinkle the seeds over and press them in. Place the tray on a warm windowsill with plenty of sunlight and gently water them daily.
Try growing in compost for bigger, more nutritious plants with a stronger flavor. Follow the same process and cover the seeds with a thin layer of compost once you’ve scattered them.
Delicious in stir fry and salads, these little guys are a gem in the world of windowsill gardening. You can grow them using whole dried peas you find in your supermarket or local shop.
To activate the dried peas and get the best results, you’ll need to soak them overnight in water. Top tip The pea shoots will grow back again for a second time after you’ve cut them, so keep them on your windowsill for ongoing greens.
Packed with vitamins, herbs can brighten up any dish and make a plain bowl of pasta or rice come to life. Basil, parsley and mint are great choices that are simple to grow.
Simply grab a pot or container with holes in the bottom so that excess water can drain. Water every other day to keep the seeds moist, and within a week you should start to see your baby herbs growing.
Basil shoots growing, Ellen Male © RBG New Parsley windowsill herbs, Nintendo La Lu/Unsplash Kale is one to try if you have a garden, balcony or window box as it grows happily outdoors in pots.
Top Tip If you want slightly bigger plants, you can prick out a few of the seedlings and replant them in individual pots. Kale, Ellen Male © RBG New You can grow beetroot in pots for a harvest of tender, baby roots.
Species such as bumblebees and honeybees love collecting nectar from the purple flowers. Calendula is another edible flower that will brighten up your windowsill with yellow blooms.
Top tip It’s best to pick edible flowers just before you intend to eat them, so they’re still firm and full of flavor, or you can store them in the fridge in a plastic bag. Keep the soil moist and in about four weeks time, you should have some tasty pink radish to pull up and enjoy.