Internet's Global Gardening Studies are open to all Camp Expedition
Teams. RAIN's Youth Technology Corps members are Expedition Team Leaders
for Communities taking part.
your own indoor herb garden
taste of fresh herbs in your home-cooked pasta is great! Wouldn’t it
be really interesting to have those herbs within easy reach whenever
your family needs them for a meal? Even if you have no gardening experience
whatsoever, growing herbs in your home or apartment is a simple, enjoyable
project, even for those with the blackest of thumbs. With a good container,
sunlight, water and your loving care, you’ll be serving up dishes accented
with fresh, home-grown herbs on a regular basis!
can be terra cotta, plastic, or metal, and must have adequate drainage
at the bottom. The shapes range from round to rectangular, so use whatever
will work for your space. Starting out, you may want to stick with three
or four selected herbs, so the container must be able to hold the herbs
at maturity, and provide enough space for the roots to “breathe”. Decide
how many herbs you want to grow, select an area of your home that will
provide the plants with some sunlight, and use these factors to determine
what size container you will need. A 13-15” container will hold up to
four herbs and allow ample room for growth and survival.
You may choose to start your seedlings in smaller, separate containers
and then transplant as they grow. There are several small containers
available for less than a dollar, and even herb starter kits on the
market. If you’ve never grown a plant before, you might like to use
this method on your first attempt. Starter kits provide the seeds, containers
and even potting soil disks that expand when water is added, making
it easy for even the least-experienced gardener.
Now that you’ve decided on containers, it’s time to choose your favorite
herbs. Several easy to grow, low maintenance herbs are available, so
personal preference is the deciding factor. Try some simpler plants
such as chives, basil, cilantro and parsley, or perhaps some oregano
and rosemary. Growing periods can range from weeks to months, so patience
is a necessity as you embark on your gardening adventure.
Now that you have your seeds, all you need is the potting soil, water
and sunlight. There are myriad potting soils available on the market,
ranging from simple dirt to the most complex recipes, complete with
fertilizers and added nutrients. For storage purposes, it’s best to
start out with a smaller bag, unless you’re going to be planting several
pots full of herbs. Choose a simple blend that requires no mixing to
keep stress at a minimum, and place enough soil in the pots to provide
room for the roots to dig in, leaving a ¾ to 1” space at the top of
the container, for growth and watering room.
If you’re going to start your seedlings in smaller containers, you can
plant up to three in one container, however, you will need to transplant
sooner, as the roots grow quickly and will become cramped and not have
adequate breathing room. One of the easiest ways to plant the seed is
to use a drinking straw. Push it into the soil, about ½”, remove the
dirt and then send the seed right down the straw, and cover it up. Leave
a 1 ½ to 2” space between each seed, add some water, and set the container
in an area with some direct sunlight.
You might even choose to create a mini-greenhouse effect for your new
plants. Insert a long straw or long match in the middle of the container.
Measure enough clear plastic wrap to surround the circumference of the
pot, wrap it around and secure it to the top of the straw with a small
rubber band or some tape. This is useful in speeding up growth time,
and will provide a bit of warmth, if the plants will be kept in the
window sill, especially in winter months.
Once the seeds have grown to 1-2” tall, and get their second set of
leaves, or true leaves, it’s time to transplant them to larger surroundings.
This is a process which requires a gentle touch, as transplanting is
very strenuous to herbs. Prepare the new container, by filling with
soil, and creating a hole that will accommodate the transplant. In the
old container, take a dull knife and gently run it around the outside
of the dirt to loosen it, grasp the plant at soil level and turn the
pot upside down, pulling very gently to release the plant from that
container. If the roots are congested, loosen them a bit with your fingers,
and then set the plant down into the hole in the new container. Press
firmly into the new soil and cover with surrounding dirt. After all
the plants have been moved, water the new container until soil is moist
but not completely saturated. Keep in a warm area with ample sunlight,
to help the plants adjust to their new home.
Allow the plants to grow, keeping them in good light, and water as necessary,
when soil is dry to the touch. Once they’ve reached maturity, you can
harvest leaves as needed for all your kitchen creations.