Mini greenhouses are kitchen windows that have an extension with a shelf for plants. The surrounding windows create a greenhouse effect that allows growing even in the winter. Culinary herbs are a popular choice for mini greenhouses in the kitchen. The herbs can be grown in separate pots or larger containers designed for the window shape.
Basil is a member of the mint family. It is well-paired with tomatoes in salad or pasta sauce. Basil is easily grown in a mini greenhouse, and can reach a height of 8 to 12 inches. It can be pruned back to three to five stems for a bushy plant. Pinch off a few leaves at a time for cooking. Basil is a heat-loving plant that grows strongly all summer.
Some oregano species grow in low, compact plants and others can reach 39 inches in height. In mini greenhouses, oregano can be pinched back and kept to 6 to 12 inches. Pinching off the top cluster of leaves for cooking keeps the plant bushy rather than tall. There are many species of oregano, some for cooking and some for medicinal use. Smell the plants at the nursery to be sure they have a pungent aroma.
Chives are a perennial plant that does well in indoor mini greenhouses. It has a dormant phase in the winter and increases by bulb division each spring. The long, slender-shaped leaves are garlic- or onion-like in taste. Snip off a few pieces of chives to add flavor to salads or soup. Chive plants can be divided at the root bulbs every three years to create new plants.
Culinary thyme is easy to grow in a mini greenhouse by pinching back the tip growth when it becomes too tall or woody. Thyme plants grown outdoors can reach 18 inches in height and spread 2 feet wide; so pinching them back is necessary for mini-greenhouse growing. Lemon thyme and French thyme are popular choices. Thyme leaves are gray, green, or variegated with gold or white. Thyme is used in egg dishes, soup and with all types of meat. As a medicinal herb it is useful for herbal sore throat preparations.
In outdoor cultivation, tarragon can grow to 2 to 3 feet in height. In a mini-greenhouse it can be kept to low and bushy growth by pinching it back regularly. Tarragon has a sharp, almost citrus flavor and is used in recipes such as sauce Béarnaise. Tarragon is also used to flavor vinegar. Do not over-water tarragon. It creates its characteristic flavor in dry conditions.