DIY Indoor Container Herb Garden

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Growing herbs indoors is great for either summer or winter months. It’s convenient to have fresh herbs available as you’re cooking and adds a bright flavor to your meals. Read on for your step-by-step guide to getting started with a DIY indoor container herb garden.

What you’ll need:

  • Herbs or seeds: 3-4 varieties
  • Containers
  • Vegetable potting soil
  • Organic herb fertilizer
  • Watering can
  • Grow light
  • Space to keep them
Two bags of organic herb plant food. One is granular plant food, the other is plant food spikes. Both are Jobe's Organics brand.

Choosing your herbs 

You’ll want to choose herbs that grow well indoors. Choose plants or seeds that are hardy or can grow in your growing zone if you plan to move your plants outside in the summer. Choose herbs that you’ll enjoy cooking with. If you’re a tea fanatic, you might choose herbs you’d enjoy brewing. Popular choices include:

  • Basil
  • Peppermint
  • Rosemary
  • Lavender
  • Thyme
  • Cilantro
  • Oregano
  • Lemon Balm 

Buying established herb plants

In the summer (in season)

It’s easy to find established herb plants in late spring and summer. Local greenhouses are my favorite places to find herbs because you’ll usually find high quality plants and they often have different varieties than you can find in major stores. If you don’t have a local greenhouse or need to combine shopping trips, you can also find established plants at stores like Menards, Lowes, Walmart, or grocery stores. 

In the winter (out of season)

Although I knew I wanted to grow herbs indoors this winter, I didn’t plan ahead and my outside herbs died from our first frost before I thought to bring them inside and most stores had stopped selling herb plants. Since our local greenhouse was closed for the season, I checked at Menards and Lowes for established plants but (at the time of this article being published) they only sold house plants. While picking up groceries at Walmart I was surprised to find a few different herb plants being sold in the produce department. 

If you’re looking for established herb plants in the winter, I’d recommend going to your grocery store first. Walmart, Gateway Market, or Trader Joes are places you’ll likely find established herbs this time of year.

Another option would be to propagate fresh herbs from fresh stems you can buy at the grocery store. This article won’t cover propagation, but you can learn more here

Buying seeds

Seeds can be purchased from the same places that you can buy plants: greenhouses, home improvement stores (like Menards, Lowes, Home Depot, etc.) or grocery stores like Walmart, Fareway, HyVee, etc. It’s easier to find seeds in the spring or summer. If you have leftover seeds from your summer garden, you can also use those. 

Create a space

If possible, choose a space near a window so your herbs will have natural light. Even though you’ll be using a grow light, plants still appreciate sunlight. You might also consider a place that your pets or children might not bother. Or, maybe your pets and kids are used to having plants around and that’s not an issue. 

If you don’t have a lot of space available, Amazon sells many different plant stands that don’t take up a lot of room. 

DIY indoor container herb garden on plant stand.

Choosing your containers

I love a simple terra cotta pot, so I chose this 4-pack of 6-inch pots that came with saucers. They fit perfectly on my plant stand and look pretty in our living room. You can choose any container that has a drain hole in the bottom to protect from over-watering. Just make sure it is big-enough to allow your plant to grow. Choose a container that leaves about 3 inches of space between the plant and the rim of the container and is deep enough for your plant to establish decent roots. 

How to DIY an indoor container herb garden

  1. Gather your herbs or seeds, containers, soil, and fertilizer
  2. Follow the directions on your chosen organic fertilizer for mixing it into your soil. If using your own compost, mix about 1 cup of compost into your soil.
  3. Fill your containers with soil and your fertilizer mixture about two-thirds full, if using established plants, or to about 1 inch from the top of your container if using seeds.
  4. If using plants, add your plants to the soil and then fill the rest of the container in with more soil. Center and straighten your plant as needed. If using seeds, skip to step 5.
  5. If using seeds, gently push your seeds about a quarter inch deep into the soil and spread them about 1 inch apart (or follow package directions). Lightly cover them with soil. If using established plants, skip this step.
  6. Water your containers until the soil is damp. 
  7. Turn on your grow light. Leave the light on for about 8 hours/day. This light has an 8 hour timer. If possible, place your plants near a window to allow them natural light as well. 
  8. Water your plants whenever the soil feels dry. 

This project is fun from start to finish and relatively easy to maintain. You can start an herb garden in the winter and move it outside for fresh air and sunshine in the summer. From cooking with fresh ingredients or using herbs in homemade teas to detoxing the air in your home, having an indoor herb garden has many benefits.

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