If you've ever had to do a grocery run just for a certain fresh herb or forewent the garnish just to begrudgingly mutter “ugh, this would've been so much better with basil” your whole meal, the solution may be easier than you think. Herb gardens are shockingly easy to start and maintain — plus they can give us apartment-dwellers a chance to flex our green thumb (or discover we have one). Paying $3.99 for a couple meagre leaves of questionably brown-tinged mint is on our outs list for 2023, people! Open your hearts to the world of herb gardens. They're not that scary, I promise. What could be more convenient and fulfilling than a little herb husbandry in the comfort of your own home?
Consider what herbs will work for you. Pick unfussy, resilient herbs such as basil, rosemary, thyme, mint, oregano, chives, and parsley. Make sure they're herbs you'll actually use to cook with as some of these can grow like crazy and need to be pruned often!
You can either start with seeds or seedlings. Seeds will take longer to harvest, but they are cheaper and you may have more success with them as there are physically more of them. Seedlings are plants that have already germinated, so they will be ready for harvest faster but are pricier.
Make sure you have enough sunlight. Most herbs need at least 6 hours of sunlight, so make sure you pick a windowsill with plenty of light. Most herbs are happy with indirect light, but some like mint and parsley need lots of light and will do better in direct light, southern-facing windows.
Choose a pot with drainage and a vessel underneath. It doesn't matter what it looks like, as long as excess water has somewhere to go and doesn't rot the roots of the plant (or the table underneath!). If you're unabashedly going for millennial chic (no hate, it's your herb garden), just make sure you put pebbles in the bottom of your mason jars or soup cans so the water doesn't sit in the soil.
Only water them when the soil feels dry. Herbs need a surprisingly little amount of water, especially if they're small plants. If your leaves turn yellow, don't confuse this with them being dehydrated — it probably means you're overwatering. Unless, of course, you forgot to water them for two weeks, in which case…hey, we've all been there.
Don't forget to use your herbs when you cook! Fresh herbs brighten up any dish, and they taste especially good when you grow them yourself. Harvesting your plant encourages new growth and keeps the plant healthy, so don't feel bad about giving it a little haircut. Just try to avoid pruning more than a quarter of the plant at a time, as this can be too stressful for the plant and may impact its health.
It's a no brainer — free herbs, less grocery store visits, and a cute af mini garden on your windowsill? A less shiddy triple whammy! Happy gardening!
Remember to be less shiddy to others, our planet, and yourself.