Since I took up gardening, I’ve tried to find ways to fully utilize whatever space I have and one of the often overlooked spaces is the kitchen. Container gardening in your kitchen is a great way to beautify your space while ensuring that you always have herbs handy to use in your dishes and of course your kitchen smells great! There is also the added benefit of all the medicinal goodness of herbs. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t start you own small kitchen garden now as you don’t even need to have a large space to do so. Have empty containers lying around? That’s a great first step.
There are a ton of plants and herbs you can plant in your kitchen but here I’ll share a few which you can grow in little pots arranged on your kitchen sill or counter.
Basil: There’s the Sweet Basil and the more common African Basil which has a more intense scent and creates an invigorating atmosphere in your space and can be used in almost any dish. Basil takes up to 5 days to germinate from direct seed sow and takes about 10 weeks to harvest. Alternatively, basil can be planted from clippings.
Parsley: Direct seed sown Parsley can take up to 14 days to germinate and up to 10 weeks to start harvesting. Parsley helps to bolster the immune system and also neutralizes bad breath. It is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory which makes it great for digestion and detoxification.
Mint: Most commonly found is peppermint. It has a strong smell that can keep pests away. Direct seed sown or root transplants peppermint can be quite invasive if left to grow unchecked which makes it perfect for a little pot on your kitchen window sill. Peppermint can be used in teas, and an array of beverages and desserts. It will make a great addition to your herb collection to have handy.
Thyme: Commonly sold in its dried up form, thyme is a good source of antioxidant. This hardy evergreen pairs well with Parsley, Garlic and Ginger. Germination time for Thyme is between 14-21 days and harvest time is about 13 weeks.
Cilantro: Also known as Coriander, cilantro has a strong flavour and aroma excellent for seasoning meats, and salsas. Cilantro can be direct seed sown and leaves can be harvested from 3 weeks in. When the flower buds develop, the leaves become scarce. Important to note that Cilantro doesn’t regrow once harvested so it’s best to have more than one pot growing at different stages.
Bay: Bay seedlings grow quickly; however, seeds are painfully slow to germinate. Save yourself the hassle and buy a transplant. It will eventually form a bush or small tree and can be easily managed. Bay has a sweet and heady perfume with a spicy nutmeg note.
- It is much easier to start with seedlings or transplanting from clippings of your favourite herbs from your local markets rather than trying to grow seeds, especially if you are new to growing herbs. A lot can go wrong in the seed to seedling transition so it’s probably best to skip that step.
- Start with picking pots at least 150mm/inches high and with adequate drainage holes. Alternatively, use old plastic bowls and make holes on the bottom for drainage purposes.
- These herbs require medium to full sunlight to thrive, so the best place is on the window sill to always catch the sunlight.
- Water needs vary depending on the size and type of plant but ideally you can’t go wrong with watering at least once or twice daily, keep the soil slightly moist for Basil, Mint and Parsley. Most delicate herbs require moderate and regular watering unlike house plants which can generally do with one solid watering per week.
- Make sure your pots are well drained to avoid rotting root and killing your plant prematurely. If you are using a larger pot, you can also put rocks beneath the soil to help with draining.