Everything You Need to Know About Growing Your Own Herbs

Photo: Getty Images/RoBeDeRo
I've always wanted to be one of those people who has a glorious indoor herb garden. For as much as I cook, it would be really rewarding to use a fresh batch collected from my own garden instead of using the overpriced little bunches at the grocery store. Clipping a few fresh sprigs of basil for an heirloom tomato salad—it doesn't get any better than that. There's not a lot of room to grow your own greens when you live in a tiny apartment without outdoor space, but you don't need a yard or a green thumb to learn how to grow basil and other herbs.

One master of all herb-related indoor farming is Joanna Gaines. The host of Fixer Upper is a big fan of bringing homegrown options to the table, and she recently shared some of her top tips on doing just that on her blog. To make the process as easy as possible, she first recommends ditching the seeds and going with something that's already thriving from a nursery or garden center. Then after re-potting the herbs into bigger containers, the rest is making sure you provide them with the two things they need to thrive. "Full sun and moist soil are ideal growing conditions for basil plants," Gaines writes.

"You can use basil to make homemade pesto, infuse oils, top a homemade pizza, or add to soups."

If there's not a good spot in your home that brings in a lot of light, all hope isn't lost. That's where a little technology comes in. By using energy-efficient LED grow lights, like AeroGarden's In-Home Garden System, you can actually grow basil right in water with no soil year-round. It also comes with its own seeds. Because it has the lighting situation taken care of, it sits right on your countertop, even in a dark corner. All you need to do is add nutrients to the plants when it reminds you to.

No matter which route you take to grow perfect basil at home, the picking process is the same. "To harvest, pinch the leaf off with your finger where it meets the stem," Gaines says. "You can use it to make homemade pesto, infuse oils, top a homemade pizza, or add to soups."

Learning how to grow basil, mint, cilantro, and other herbs allows you to handpick exactly what you need for each meal without letting the the bunch rot in your refrigerator before you can use it. Meals are made more delicious when you use your own herbs, and it's cheaper and more eco-friendly.

Get your houseplants properly lit with a DIY grow light.

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