Herbs are used for their flavor, texture and coloring. They are used as seasoning in all kinds of soups, some salads and almost all dishes. Not only are these healthy, but each also has its own distinct flavor and smell that makes it stand out. Planting and growing herbs is an interesting activity that does not require prior knowledge or skill. They can be grown indoors in containers placed near a windowsill, or outside in containers or sown directly in the ground. Hanging herb baskets are also popular with gardening enthusiasts and can be used both indoors and outdoors.
Purchase a pot of your choice to start your indoor herb garden. It can be made of plastic, clay, terracotta or any other material, so long as it has adequate drainage holes in the bottom. Herbs thrive in well-drained soil, so you may need to drill several holes spaced an inch or two apart if your pot lacks them. Place a layer of gravel at the bottom of your container to improve drainage.
Mix equal amounts of potting soil with sand and fill the pot until 2 inches below the rim. Add a small amount of lime to the mixture to improve its quality. An alternative to this is to mix equal amounts of sphagnum peat or compost to sand and place in the pot.
Purchase herb seeds or seedlings from your local nursery or garden supply center. Plant the seeds an inch deep into the pot, and space them 2 inches apart. If planting seedlings, space them 8 inches apart. Backfill with soil to ensure good seed-to-soil contact and water thoroughly.
Place the pots in a sunny location indoors, such as a south- or west-facing window. Herbs require plenty of direct sunlight, at least 8 to 10 hours daily, and good air circulation to prevent mold and mildew. You can supplement poor lighting by hanging a fluorescent light or grow light, available in hardware stores, 8 to 10 inches above each pot and let it run for 10 to 12 hours daily. Make sure you raise the light as the herbs grow.
Water the herbs lightly every other day to ensure the soil is evenly moist. Over-watering is as harmful as under-watering, causing the leaves to turn yellow. Mist the leaves frequently to provide them the necessary humidity. Germination for most herbs occurs after 2 weeks.
Thin the seedlings when they are 2 inches high to space them several inches apart.
Fertilize the seedlings once every week with liquid fertilizer to feed them essential nutrients.
Spray a mixture of water and insecticidal soap over the herbs if pests such as spider mites, whiteflies or aphids become a problem.