Growing a kitchen garden is surprisingly easy, even for those of us who do not have green thumbs. If you have a sunny windowsill, some space for them to grow and can manage to keep the soil moist then you can have your very own herb garden in no time. Here are the easiest ones to grow indoors:
Used in so many of the world’s cuisines, Basil teams up perfectly with tomatoes. Thankfully, it’s also easy to grow indoors and you can simply pull off the leaves to throw onto a salad, use in a sauce or add to a sandwich. You can either buy seeds or small plants and pot them in an organic soil. Basil does best in both warmth and bright light so a south or west-facing window sill is preferable. If this is a problem then a grow light will work just as well. The plants don’t last much longer than a few weeks so be sure to continue planting a regular supply.
With a similar taste to onion, chives are wonderful to add to eggs, salads and to be used as garnishing. Buy a plant that’s already established and re-pot into a rich, organic soil mix. You’ll need to place your chives in a south-facing direction as the plant likes to soak up a lot of light. Cut off the leaves whenever you want to use them, leaving a minimum of 2 inches to allow re-sprouting to occur.
If you do a lot of Mexican, Italian or Middle Eastern cooking, then oregano is a must for your kitchen garden. Part of the mint family, snipping the stems and peeling the leaves away will provide you with the perfect seasoning for soups, sauces, stews and meat. Growing oregano and mint is very similar, don’t excessively water but also don’t let the soil completely dry out. Oregano likes a lot of light and when you’re planning on using some for cooking, it might be worth drying them out beforehand as they are more flavorsome this way.
This delicious fragrant herb is the perfect accompaniment to chicken dishes, potatoes, soups, lamb and pork. Serving up a succulent, tasty roast is not the same without a touch of rosemary. It’s a hardy herb and can be left in hot, dry conditions during the summer but cold, light locations during the winter are the best. You can snip sprigs for topping soups or tear up the leaves for mincing and sprinkling over meat and potatoes for roasting.
Chervil is an herb used predominantly in French cuisine with a parsley-like taste. If you want to make a Bearnaise sauce then Chervil is an essential so it makes sense to have it form part of your kitchen herb line-up. It also gives an extra flavor burst to eggs, potatoes and fish dishes. For whipping up a delicious dressing, let it stand in white wine vinegar. All you need to do to add to a salad is cut some fresh leaves and voila! A chervil plant will need deep soil for the roots to have room to grow. Keep the soil moist, positioned in a moderate light and cool.
With a gorgeous pine-like aroma, sage evokes memories of Thanksgiving dinners and grandma’s kitchen. It has such a strong flavor that you only need to use a little at a time so it’s an economical herb to grow. For best results, position in a sunny place and grow from cuttings as this method is easier than planting seeds. When planting seeds, be prepared to wait a while as sage can take up to 15 months to grow. Once grown though, sage is incredibly hardy and pest-resistant. Wait until soil is completely dry before watering. It’s a Mediterranean plant so will not thank you for being over-watered and having permanently moist soil.
You can grow lemongrass from seed or from a small starter plant bought in a store. The plant likes a light, preferably south-facing setting with soil that’s only just moist. It’s a beautiful addition to Asian cooking, especially Thai dishes as it’s a tropical herb packed full of wonderful citrus flavor. You can also clip the leaves for infusing tea and using for soup stock. Thankfully, pests don’t affect lemongrass too much and it’s even used in some bug repellents.