Depending on what you plant, how you care for your indoor herbs, and what method you use to gather the leaves, you could be harvesting your indoor herb garden indefinitely. While your indoor plant may never produce as much as an outdoor one, following af few tips will increase the chances of a long-lasting harvesting season.
Choosing Herbs for the Indoors
Not all herbs will do well indoors. They may survive on your windowsill if untouched, but the moment you pick them, they'll collapse. So, selecting good indoor herbs is the first step for a long harvest. The list of good indoor herbs is long and you may want to consult your local nursery if you have a particular interest. Mint, oregano, parsley, rosemary, thyme and basil are some herbs that are easy to grow inside.
Selecting the Right Pot
Next, choose the right pot. Unglazed terra cotta is ideal because it's porous and allows air to flow in and out of the pot. The roots need ventilation for moisture control, especially when they're confined in a small container. When you grow your herbs indoors, use soil that drains well.
Nourishing Your Herb Garden
As for nourishment, your indoor herbs need direct sunlight about five hours daily. But if that's not possible where you live, you can compensate by using a plant grow light. Water the soil when it feels dry to the touch and supplement it with an organic natural herbal fertilizer.
Harvesting Your Indoor Herbs
Indoor herbs won't yield as much as fast as when you grow them outdoors. Also, you can't pick as many leaves from indoor plants as you can outdoors. For instance, while you can gather 1/4 pound of mint growing outdoors without harm, your indoor plant would die if you cut that many sprigs at once.
The best strategy for continued harvesting is to pinch a few leaves, then allow the plant to produce new ones. Initially, your plant will have long stems as it reaches for the light. You can make your plant bushier by pinching the sprigs at the growing tips.
Here are some specific harvesting tips for these herbs:
If you plant basil, cut the flowers as soon as they bloom to keep the plant producing leaves. With rosemary, the important thing to remember is to repot it once a year with nutrient-rich soil so the plant will continue to thrive.
To harvest parsley, wait until the leaves have begun to curl and the stems have three parts to them. To promote faster new growth, gather the outer larger leaves at the base of the plant first and let the inner leaves continue to mature.
Thyme is an easygoing herb that doesn't need much special care. Your plant will do fine if you simply snip the leaves as you need them. On the other hand, mint needs constant pruning to continue to produce leaves.