Whether they are used for cooking, to make tea, or for medicinal purposes, growing one's own fresh herbs and spices is extremely rewarding, ensuring a fresh and tasty supply of whatever one is growing, if grown correctly. Indoor plants add cheer and color to the home, are relatively easy to maintain, and herbs and spices in the kitchen garden are of course very practical.
Purchase high-quality seeds from a reputable source whose stock moves. Do not purchase seed packages with dust all over them; they have been sitting on the shelf too long and may not be fresh. The seed package should include the year the seeds were packaged for.
Set up your garden in a sunny window. If using a kit, all of the necessary elements will be included. Some kits include a tabletop greenhouse, others come with pots and trays.
Use plant pots that have good drainage. Plastic yogurt tubs with holes poked in the bottom work well. Terra cotta plant pots widely available in plant nurseries and hardware stores also work well. Whatever pots you use, place them on a plastic or terra cotta tray to catch drained water.
Place jiffy pellets in the pots for the easiest beginning. Jiffy pellets, seeds, water, sun and warmth is a great recipe to start indoor seeds.
If not using jiffy pellets, purchase high quality potting soil. Make sure you get a bag of soil with nutrients added to feed the plants for a few months. Fill pots with soil and wet thoroughly. Check the package of seeds, but most seeds will only need to be planted a quarter-inch into the soil. Sprinkle seeds on the wet soil, place a little more soil on the seeds, and mist with sprayer.
Pay attention to how many seeds should be planted in each pot. Read the package for the most specific instructions, but in general if you are using seedling pots (seedling pots are the smallest) then about 6 seeds per pot should be sufficient. If using larger pots, you will add more seeds per pot.
Place planted seeds in a sunny window. If not using tabletop greenhouse, then place a little plastic wrap over the pots to keep the environment warm and humid.
Spray soil with water every day. Do not let the soil dry out.
As seedlings get bigger, transplant them into larger pots.
Prepare pots by filling with high quality potting mix. Wet the soil and add more if necessary to almost fill the pot. Create an indentation in the middle; you will place seedlings in this hole.
Dampen soil in seedling pots. Turn pot upside down and either pinch or tap the pot. If that does not loosen the soil and seedlings well enough to drop out, as a last resort insert a dull butter knife between the soil and inner side of pot. This should help loosen the pod of soil and roots.
Catch the small soil and seedling pod in one hand and deposit it on the indentation in the potting soil in the larger container. Add more soil to fill in any gaps, mist with sprayer, and place in window. The herbs may weaken a little before they grow stronger, but in a few days you should have thriving herbs and spices.