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Benefits of an Indoor Herb Garden

Even if you live in an apartment or condo, or just don’t have available space or a big backyard, you can still get your fresh herbs by growing an indoor herb garden. There’s nothing better for a home cook than to have fresh herbs at their fingertips. Plus indoor herb gardens can be grown year around since they won’t be affected by inclement weather or rapid temperature changes.

You can traditionally plant (or buy) your indoor herbs in containers, or you can choose hydroponic gardening. Planting in containers is usually less expensive but takes a little more time and effort, and needs to be in a location that gets at least 4-6 hours of sunshine daily – usually at a south and/or west facing window if you live in the northern hemisphere. If you do not have a location where your plants can get sufficient sunlight, you might consider grow lights which have a larger light spectrum than incandescent light that plants need to survive and grow. Containers can be anything from a purchased pot (be sure the pot is suitable for live plants) to buckets, even old boots or discarded toilets (cleaned of course).

Hydroponics is getting more and more popular and is a method of growing plants without soil and has been around for thousands of years. The growth rate is considerably quicker than planting in soil, up to 50 percent in some cases and the yield is usually greater too. Plants in a hydroponic system derive their water and nutrients directly to the roots several times a day instead of having to search the soil for them. These plants also have fewer problems with bugs, fungi and disease and are generally healthier and happier, plus they use much less water. Whichever way you choose you’re sure to have fresh herbs.

There are several advantages (and some disadvantages) to growing an indoor herb garden.

Some of the advantages include:

* Plants are protected from inclement weather
* Easily accessible and convenient
* Can be grown all year long regardless of season
* The plants help keep the indoor air cleaner
* Easy to move to shaded area if sun gets too hot
* Insects and fungus are easier to keep under control
* Requires less fertilizer, if any
* No need for bird netting
* No need for weeding
* No need for gardening tools like hoes, rakes, shovels, etc.

Disadvantages include:

* Less productive yields, however hydroponics will provide you with greater yields.
* Must provide adequate lighting either from sunlight or HID grow lights if sunlight is not sufficient
* Less growing space which, depending on your indoor accommodations, might mean less selection
* More difficult to maintain proper fertilization which often results in over fertilizing
* Proper watering can be more difficult since soil indoors doesn’t adjust or dry out as well which can result in over watering and root rot.
* I’ve heard some say there’s less flavor, but I haven’t noticed it myself.

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