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Grow A Culinary Herb Garden Indoors This Winter

Natural aromatic herbs on a cutting board.
This winter, grow culinary and aromatic herbs indoors.

Get a taste of greenery by learning to grow easy culinary herbs indoors right now. Learning the right lighting, watering, temperature and harvesting are key to growing indoor herbs!  

Chives, parsley and mint are the easiest culinary herbs to grow indoors. Plus, these are fast-growing and need less light so you can place them in an East- or West-facing window.

For Mediterranean herbs like thyme, oregano, sage and rosemary, place the potted herbs in a sunny South-facing window or use grow lights. With grow lights, you can grow basil indoors, too!

Look for individual herb plants at garden centers and you’ll be able to harvest sooner instead of starting everything from seed. And once you’ve chosen the herbs you like, plant them in their own pots as some like moist soil more than others. Then, just place them in a sunny spot away from a cold window.

Once they get big enough to start harvesting, simply snip the leaves and add to pastas and salads. Then in spring, move them outdoors to your garden.

Q: I love having herbal tea especially in the winter and would like to know some good medicinal herbs I can grow inside during the winter? Can I bring my lemon balm and peppermint plants inside in the fall? — Anastatia, in Thetford

Yes, bring those plants in from the garden in the fall and then have medicinal herbs indoors all winter. Those are great examples of some medicinal herbs and there are others that are also culinary herbs, like rosemary, tarragon or lavender. Even thyme and oregano are medicinal. You can play around and try to grow echinacea and bee balm from seed though it will take awhile for leaves to get big enough to steep in a tea, for instance. Next spring, you can bring those plants you started from seed to grow outdoors in the garden then back indoors next winter!

Q: I get brown and wilted leaves on our orchids, often just half or so of a large crescent dark green leaf, and I always wonder if I should cut off the brown part. Any suggestions? — Charlie, in Weybridge

This leaf-browning issue is usually a sign that the roots have died from either too much or too little watering so adjust watering a bit and see if that helps. Also, you can cut off brown leaves completely and then watch your watering and make sure the water drains out well. As we get closer to spring, you can also repot the orchid in a new container with fresh bark medium.

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All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener! Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling VPR at (802) 655-9451.

Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with VPR host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.

Have questions, comments or tips?Send us a messageor get in touch by tweeting us @vprnet.

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Mary Williams Engisch is a local host on All Things Considered.
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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