Mark Roemer image of various spices growing in the window

Steps to Growing an Indoor Spice Garden

I, Mark Roemer, want to know if you are looking for a unique way to spice up your living space? Growing your indoor spice garden is a simple way to do so, both literally and metaphorically.

Using plants grown in your DIY herb garden, add a splash of extra fresh ingredients to home-cooked meals. They’re surprisingly simple to rise! I wish I could say the same for some other plant and animal kingdom (ahem, roses).

The Benefits

Getting your indoor spice garden has no disadvantages. The advantages, on the other hand, are numerous and compelling:

Money savings

For such small bottles, dried herbs and spices are exorbitantly priced. Five dollars for a tiny jar of tarragon that you’ll almost certainly never use? It’s ridiculous!

In contrast, the materials required to create and maintain a DIY herb garden are minimal, as it consists primarily of young plants, possibly seeds, and soil, and perhaps grow lights if you’re feeling particularly daring.

Fresher ingredients

To enjoy fresh cooking ingredients, you don’t have to be the next Wolfgang Puck. Your dishes will have more color, and you won’t have to wonder where the cilantro has been or who has handled it previously!

A dash of natural splendor

A little extra greenery brightens up any home, especially apartments with limited room for plants and indoor trees. A windowsill brimming with herbs and spices will add a touch of natural beauty to your space. Then there’s the bonus of wonderful herb-related aromas!

Personal pride

If you’ve never tried your hand at gardening before, a DIY herb garden is an excellent way to get started. There’s nothing quite like seeing the first shoots poke through the dirt, so give it a shot and pat yourself on the back when all goes well.

Growing Indoors

An indoor spice garden is much easier to maintain than an outdoor green area. There are always decisions to be made and steps to be taken to achieve success!

Step 1: Pick a location. 

Determine which window spaces provide the best light for the herbs you’re growing, as all plants need at least some sunlight to thrive. Plants that thrive in tropical climates, such as thyme, basil, oregano, rosemary, and bay laurel, thrive in south-facing windows because they receive the most sunshine during the winter. Herbs like mint, chives, chervil, and parsley, on the other hand, don’t take as much sun, so plant them near east or west-facing windows.

Set up grow lights for best results, mainly when growing from seeds, if you want to get fancy. Then it won’t matter where the plants are located!

Step 2: Purchase plants or plant seeds

Plants can be purchased at any time of year. Purchase a few from your local nursery and consider buying more appealing containers than the simple, black plastic ones that they come in.

If you’re starting from seed, do so in the spring. Purchase the desired seeds as well as a bag of seed starting potting mix. This is critical since heavier potting soils are ineffective at assisting the germination process.

Some people prefer to begin seed-planting in plastic trays with a large number of individual cells. The sprouts should then be transplanted into clay pots. You may, however, do either! Place the freshly seeded containers in a warm space, out of direct sunlight, regardless of the container form you choose. Cover them with clear plastic until they germinate, then remove the plastic and position them in the sun or under grow lights (preferably the latter).

Step 3: Water and fertilize

Another vital component of a flourishing herb garden is water. But be careful not to overdo it on the good stuff. Enable the soil to dry out between irrigating. Instead, use a watering can or a sprayer to gently water the soil and keep it moist.

The frequency at which you water your plants is determined by how easily they dry out. This is influenced by the amount of sunlight and the temperature inside the apartment. Before you water each plant, please give it a fingertip test to make sure it needs it.

Using a liquid houseplant fertilizer a couple of times a month, starting around a week after germination. Follow the instructions to the letter.

Step 4: Harvest

Don’t eat your brand-new plant right away! Instead, wait until the plant is at least four to six inches tall before snipping.

Cut the outer leaves first to maximize your harvest. Clean and sharpened kitchen scissors or shears are recommended. This will speed up the healing process for the plant. Take care not to cut more than one-third of the plant at a time to allow it to mature and grow at a healthy rate.

If the plant begins to bloom, pinch the buds off immediately, or the plant may switch from a producing to a reproduction-focused plant.

Step 5: Enjoy!

Your imagination is the only limit on how much fun you can have with these herbs! Add fresh green onion or cilantro to your favorite dishes, or cook with sage or thyme for added spice. Mint, for example, can also function as a cocktail garnish!

The Best Herbs to Grow

Growing your herb garden has the advantage of allowing you to avoid planting something that does not appeal to your taste buds. Are you a cilantro hater? Don’t waste your time! Is it possible to put basil on everything? Plant a few extras!

In DIY gardens, certain herbs are ubiquitous. Consider these versatile cooking herbs when you prepare your garden:

  • Lemongrass: This easy-to-grow herb is a must-have for Asian cuisine fans.
  • Parsley: A complex plant to grow from seed, so start with a plant instead. Parsley can never be transplanted from one jar to another!
  • Rosemary: This aromatic herb grows best in full sun and is essential for soups and stews.
  • Mint: One of the easiest plants to grow and can be used in almost every recipe.
  • Chives: Another easy-to-grow plant, chives grow rapidly and with little assistance. They’re a delicious and versatile garnish for a variety of dishes!
  • Basil: It is a little more challenging to cultivate than other herbs, but it is well worth the extra effort.

Watch It Grow

An herb garden is a perfect way to spice up your home and cooking with a bit of effort and TLC. I, Mark Roemer, urge you to try a few different things and keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Growing herbs indoors, like any other form of gardening, requires practice and patience. Keep at it, and you and your guests will soon be savoring aromatic herbs and spices that will bring the bottled stuff to shame!