#23 of 30 Tips for a Better Edible Garden in the New Year

 

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Project Inventory

We love #23 because you can start it right now! Who doesn’t need a little greenery on their windowsill these days? Maybe our Cali, AZ, and Florida friends who’ve skirted much of the polar vortex. The rest of us need greens and we need them now!

Fear not, Just look for live herb plants on your next trip to the local grocery store or maybe even your Winter Farmer’s Market. We have seen them popping up here and there at our local spots. These herbs are typically small and come in pots. They will likely have a wrapper or some type of protective covering around the pot and right up the sides of the plant.

Regardless of the packaging, what you’ve got is a nice head start. We’ve been buying these potted herbs in the colder months for years. In that time we have learned to improve the chances the plants will live more than a few weeks. Here’s how:

Plant selection should be based on how cold it is and how much sun the plant will get.

Everyone loves basil, but basil loves warmth and light. We’ve had little luck keeping basil indoors in the winter without the help of a grow light. In fact, the only time we had great indoor winter basil was when we had an Aerogarden.

Oregano, parsley, sage, etc. do much better indoors in Winter months. They need less sun than herbs like basil and they are not as finicky as say, rosemary (another tricky indoor herb).

Salad greens are another great option, but we have rarely seen them come in pots at the stores during winter. We recommend growing these from seeds indoors and harvesting the plants young. Growing from seed is out of the scope of this tip, so let’s get back on topic.

Once you get your herb plant home you should get it into a larger pot or other suitable container. We love to up-cycle stuff and always have something unique hanging around at the ready. These days there’s an abundance of Hershey’s cocoa containers from all the hot chocolates!
Make sure your container has drainage holes (see photo below) and never leave the planted container on anything without a drip tray. The drip tray will keep your surface dry and clean. This is another reason we like containers like the Hershey’s cocoa one in our photos. The lid can be used as a drip tray as long as our kids do not over water. We will warn you, we’ve bubbled up a few paint jobs by leaving pots on our windowsills.

Next , Choose an organic, high quality potting soil or use some of your compost mixed with the soil the plant comes potted in.

Fill your container partially with soil and then carefully remove the plant from its pot. Carefully trim away the roots if they have grown through the drainage holes in the bottom. Submerge your plant’s root ball in fresh, clean water for a few minutes. Remove the plant from the water and place the moist root ball into its new home. Cover up the root ball with extra soil.

Finally, give the plant a bit more water and take it to its temporary home. We say temporary because all our indoor edible plants move outside when the weather warms up. The spot you choose should get as much light as possible and stay relatively warm.

Water as directed for plant types and harvest as needed to support you culinary inspirations. Having plants indoors helps us to chase away winter blues !

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Finished Project

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Holes poked in bottom for drainage

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