Indoor container gardens make it possible to enjoy fresh herbs all year long, even in areas with harsh winters. Not only will the easy access to herbs encourage their use in the kitchen, the steady snips as the plants are harvested encourage new and healthy growth. Although a kitchen window sill is a convenient location for the culinary indoor herb gardener, herbs will grow in any spot in the home that receives six to eight hours of sunlight a day.
Chives are a favorite indoor herb because they are used by cooks in a variety of dishes. A perennial herb, chives can be propagated by division or from seed. Growing more than one chive plant indoors will allow the indoor herb gardener to give the plant a boost by allowing it a rest period each year. A quick exposure to a light frost will encourage new, fresh growth.
The spicy scent of sweet basil makes bringing the herb plant indoors an attractive option to the home gardener, whether it's many culinary uses are being utilized or not. The more the ends of the basil is cut, the bushier the plant becomes. There are several species of basil, including one with purple leaves. An annual plant, basil will bloom in spikes of white flowers. If drying the herb for future use, cut just before flowering.
Thyme is an herb with many uses. Many cooks use it in poultry stuffing, gumbos, slow cooked beef dishes, and bouillabaisse. Oil of thyme is used as a fragrance and a medicine. Keep the leaves of this woody herb fresh and tender by snipping the plant often enough to prevent flowering. The more thyme is snipped, the faster it grows.
The perennial herb sage has a slightly bitter flavor that is used in a variety of meat dishes. It does well grown indoors in a sunny location. Be patient when growing sage as it takes a bit of time to become established, but once it has started growing it can become leggy with a tendency to sprawl.
Indoor Growing Tips
Place the indoor herb containers away from direct heat sources. Rotate pots of herbs so that they stay upright, and do not turn toward the sun. Herbs that have the same moisture requirement can be grown together in the same container to save space on the window sill. Container plants tend to dry out quickly, so check the moisture content often.