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Vermont Garden Journal: 6 Tips For Starting A Windowsill Herb Garden

If you're a fan of gardening, you might have been gifted seeds this holiday season. Before popping them into the soil, here are six things you need to know to help your indoor garden grow.

Feel the need to get your hands a little dirty during the winter? No problem. Just bring the gardening indoors!

If you love gardening, one gift you may have received are seeds for starting a windowsill herb garden. That's great; however, you may need some tips on growing herb seeds indoors this time of year.  

Some of the easiest herbs to grow from seed are chives, thyme, mint and cilantro. Use individual pots or a long trough and plant herb seeds in the slightly moistened potting soil.

  • Mint seed needs light to germinate so don't cover these small seeds with soil. Sow cilantro seeds thickly.
  • Harvest whole plants when small, and still ferny, to use in cooking. 
  • To help speed along the process for all these seeds, use an electric seed heating mat placed under the pots to keep the soil at 70F; ideal for germination.
  • Wait to sow basil, sage and dill until the days are longer.
  • Place the seedlings in a window with at least six hours of sun a day. If you don't have a sunny window, consider getting grow lights that fit in a small space.
  • Keep the soil barely moist and clip and eat the leaves as soon as they are big enough to harvest.

This week's tip:  if you're feeding the birds, remember to clean the hanging feeders every two to four weeks. This will reduce the likelihood of disease causing bacteria from getting started. Use a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water and let the feeder dry before refilling with seed.

Charlie Nardozzi is a nationally recognized garden writer, radio and TV show host, consultant, and speaker. Charlie is the host of All Things Gardening on Sunday mornings at 9:35 during Weekend Edition on Vermont Public. Charlie is a guest on Vermont Public's Vermont Edition during the growing season. He also offers garden tips on local television and is a frequent guest on national programs.
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