Gardening in the wintertime…Grow some herbs!

Yes, it’s cold out. Yes, there is snow on the ground or if not, there will be soon. You sigh as you look out the window, missing the sunny days tending your garden. Well, that knack for nurturing green things can be put to good use during cold winter months, by growing herbs to cook with! Save money, and have some fun, and take pleasure in the herbs that do well and end up in your meals!

First, get veggie friendly potting soil and place into a window box or other gardening container, and make room at one of your brightly lit windows! Find the sunniest window you’ve got. Now, go to your landscaping and garden store (ours! ) and pick out herbs you and your family like. Oregano and basil are hardy and fairly easy to grow. Oregano needs the most light. Chives, Thyme, Rosemary, and Mint are other grower-friendly choices.

Chives can be used in dips, spreads, salads (like onion). Mint can be used in teas, desserts, and soups. Rosemary is known for lamb but try it with beef or pork or chicken too. Oregano – and pasta – a match made in heaven! Also any Italian dish will welcome your Oregano.

You CAN place each herb in a pot (4 inch, 5 inch) and sit them on your window ledge. But be sure there is a hole in the pot for water to drain or roots will rot. Read the instructions for the right watering amount. If you have outdoor herbs growing, you can move them inside – too late for this year, but something to consider next fall.

Most herbs need 4 to 6 hours of good light, ideally. Another one that is a good kitchen-growing herb is savory. Less known, but just as tasty as those named above. Savory is used in meats, stuffing (dressing), soups and sauces.

You may want to talk to your gardening pro about what soil works best for which herbs. Some need less fertilizing than others. You can also ask about feeding your herbs, and buy the right feed (they’ll need nutrients after the first few weeks).

The neat thing is that, after some experimentation, you’ll end up with ingredients for dishes, and can proudly say, “I used my basil in this dish, see it over there on the window ledge?” It is not uncommon for an herb or two to die out of every 3 to 5 planted. It’s a bit tricky, and you’ll get better at it as you go. So don’t be bothered if your frankincense fizzles or your cilantro curls up and disappears. Be patient, play around a bit, and find your fit with certain herbs. Let the kids help too, for a fun winter project.