Subject: Essential Herbs, For the Beginner
Answered by: Yvonne Tremblay
Question from: Sepand Siassi
Posted on: February 21, 2008

I’m about to order some herbs to grow in my apartment. I’ve never done this before and I’m wondering which herbs I should order. What I’m looking for is:

1) 5 plants (not necessarily different kinds)

2) Something that will make my culinary experience cheaper. I hate paying $2.99 for those mints and basils stored in plastic, wet and soggy.

3) The most used herbs.

I’m just an average cook and eat everything, so I really want the "most essential" herbs (I use mint and basil a lot).

Firstly, if you are planning to grow herbs indoors, make sure that they will have sufficient sunlight. If they become leggy, then you may need a grow light. We are in Canada and here there are not enough daylight hours in the winter, even if it was sunny. Some herbs like chives and parsley will do alright with a bit less sun. Plants will always be smaller when grown indoors. The size of the pot will determine the size of the plant somewhat as well. If pots are very small, plants will not grow very large. Remember also that herbs like well-drained soil...they do not like wet feet, so don’t let them get soggy. Herbs with woody stems will prefer drier soil. Also, occasionally mist them with a spray bottle.

Next, do not leave herbs next to a drafty window. At night, draw the curtain or move herbs to a warmer place.

As you like mint and basil, let’s start there. You might want to try other mints as well. Likely you are using spearmint but there are many mints...peppermint, orange mint, apple mint, etc. Depending on what you do with basil (often need a lot), you might want to have more than one plant, likely the large leaf type (Genovese). I would recommend also rosemary, thyme and parsley. It really depends on what type of cooking you I am taking a stab in the dark here. Please feel free to look at the Herb Directory on my web site to see the uses of various herbs. It may help you to decide. Herbs that are good dried include: dill, tarragon, sage, and oregano, so they are not as important to grow fresh. Store dried herbs in a glass jar away from heat and light.

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