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Believe it or not, even noted plant-killers can successfully grow their own herbs indoors — even if you live in a space with little natural light. There are a wide variety of kits and artificial grow light machines available these days that can turn anyone into a green thumb, helping you cultivate a constant supply of fresh herbs in your own home.
How to Grow Herbs Indoors
In addition to taking a good honest look at your own ability to keep plants alive, think about the environment you’re working with, including the level of light and temperature, when looking for an herb kit. Also think about what fresh herbs you tend to use the most — basil, parsley, thyme, and mint are all popular choices.
Effort Level: One of my favorite things about my AeroGarden is that it requires next to zero effort on my part. I simply fill it up with water, turn on the light, and it lets me know when it’s time to add more plant food. If this sounds like the kind of gardening you’re into, then a grow light system like this might be the choice for you. However, if you’re a more hands-on kind of gardener, or you just don’t like the brightness of the grow light, you may prefer a setup of pots near a window.
Environment: The type of environment available to you matters when it comes to your indoor herb garden. Some plants are more finicky than others, but all will require a certain degree of sunlight and water. Take into account what herbs you plan to cultivate, what those plants require in terms of maintenance, and how much your home environment can accommodate this. If you’re short on natural light, for example, you may need an artificial grow light instead.
Type of Herbs: Which herbs and how many herbs you’d like to plant is entirely up to you, but definitely check your kit to see which come included. If you’re a cilantro hater, for example, don’t get stuck with a cilantro plant you can’t use when you’d rather have curly parsley.
1. AeroGarden Harvest
This is an extremely hands off herb growing set-up, which is probably part of the reason it is so popular. There are several AeroGarden models, but we like this one for the number of pods it can accommodate as well as its attractive size.
The AeroGarden comes with individual seed pods — here, Genovese basil, curly parsley, dill, thyme, Thai basil, and mint — which you simply install in the basin of water along with the included plant food. Then, turn on the lights, and let it go…err, grow. The lights are automatically programmed to turn off and on, and a blinking red light will let you know when it’s time to add more food.
2. Indoor Herb Garden Starter Kit
This is a much earthier, hands-on kit, which comes with USDA-certified organic seeds for Italian basil, cilantro, parsley, sage, and thyme, as well as organic compostable peat pots, soil discs, and wood burned plant markers. In case you were worried, it also comes with an extensive growing guide. This is a great option for beginner gardeners who feel a little more ambitious than the AeroGarden users.
3. iDOO Hydroponics Growing System
This hydroponic grow system offers a few more options than the streamlined AeroGarden version, with three different settings for different growth stages, as well as two options for water circulation and a height adjustable light that you can move as your plants grow. You will, however, have to buy seeds separately.
4. Nine-Herb Window Garden
This set comes with the most seeds of all of our picks, with pre-fertilized soil disks and seed packets for dill, basil, chives, thyme, parsley, oregano, cilantro, sage, and mustard. It also includes reusable pots and detailed growing instructions for nurturing your new window herb garden. The downside is that because there are so many, you should first make sure you have enough window space to accommodate all the pots.