An indoor herb garden is worth having if you are regularly reaching for herb ingredients when cooking a variety of dishes. For those of us who have indoor herb gardens it’s extremely convenient to be able to put your hand out and grab a few leaves when we want them.
The traditional way of growing herbs or anything else indoors, usually involves filling a box-container with soil and placing it as near to a South-facing window as possible. This is still an option for indoor herb gardens. A soil based system will work but there’s always been the issue of providing enough light.
If you can’t provide enough light, then, an indoor herb garden may struggle to be worth the effort.
There is a more modern alternative to traditional indoor herb gardens. There are stand-alone units available that take indoor herb gardens to a new level. New systems use hydroponics which involves no soil. The roots from herb plants are largely immersed in water that’s been dosed with a liquid fertilizer.
Furthermore, modern indoor herb gardens have a powerful lighting system that often provides so much light that they outshine everything around them. They can make standard daylight look like a scene from ‘Wolf Hall’.
With all the water that the herb plants need and a full set of lights, all of which is under your full control, you would have an indoor herb garden that would be highly productive. This would make the effort worth it. You can find out more about a couple of indoor garden options at: ‘Indoor-farms for fresh salad’.
Are indoor herb gardens worth it?
Indoor herb gardens for better air quality
Growing herbs indoors can improve air quality. It isn’t just herbs that can claim the credit for cleaning air in your home. Most plants being grown in an indoor garden will make a difference to air quality. One of the advantages of herbs being grown indoors is that there is always the chance of those special aromas that many herbs generate.
Plants are known to have the ability to clean up the environment outside so it should come as no surprise that they can do their bit when it comes to helping to purify the air in our homes.
There’s also the suggestion that some herbs repel insects that may be a nuisance and they can draw useful insects, for example wasps, which have a habit of killing other insects that may cause a problem.
I’ve been looking around to see which, of all the herbs that you can grow, would be of most use when it comes to cleaning air and/or providing flavourings for cooking. If you can grow these herbs you may find that having a herb garden indoors will be worth doing.
Basil – the herb
I’ve spent a lot of time looking at indoor Gardens. It appears to be a habit that when anyone mentions growing herbs indoors, the first herb that gets mentioned is basil. Probably because it’s one of the most popular herbs out there. Basil is a member of the mint family of herbs.
Basil is native in Asia and North Africa but it will grow in most climates. As a herb plant it would be quite at home in an indoor garden. The structure of the plant is easily managed to maintain a small and compact bush. In the right conditions you can collect the seed pods. These can be used to plant again.
Basil leaves are quite wide and easy to harvest. As a herb ingredient for cooking, it’s the leaves that are used. These need to be added during cooking but only at the end of the cooking cycle because, just like any other herb, if it’s overcooked the flavour will be lost. Basil leaves can also be used as a herb ingredient in fresh green salads.
The leaves from basil can also be used to make herbal tea. Almost anything with leaves on it can make some sort of tea and there is usually a whole list of benefits that appear to come with drinking it. For basil tea, the claims are that it will help to relieve stress, reduce inflammation and act us as an antioxidant. The claims go on that it can also help with arthritis and fibromyalgia; conditions which can cause pain all over the body.
Jasmine a natural perfume
The jasmine flowers open in the evenings sending out in aroma that most people find relaxing. The Jasmine leaves can be used to make herbal tea.
As a herb, jasmine lays claim to all sorts of things. The flower of the Jasmine herb appears to have a medicinal value. There is mention of it being effective in assisting with the recovery from some liver diseases. The smell of the Jasmine herb flower has been known to cause relaxation, as a sedative. There are also reports that it can act as an aphrodisiac.
If you’re looking for a herb that may perk things up a bit indoors, then the Jasmine herb is for you.
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The honeysuckle herb
In my part of the world, honeysuckle is only prevalent during the summer months of July and August but it is possible to establish a honeysuckle plant in indoor Gardens. You may have to be patient if you grow this herb from seeds. The honeysuckle plant is a perennial and takes about 2 years to become established enough to produce a blossom. Those of us who have experienced the sweet smell of honeysuckle, can confirm that the wait will be worth it.
The honeysuckle herb has a list of uses. There are claims that it can help with urinary disorders, it may help get rid of your headache and it may bring some relief to rheumatoid arthritis. There is some mention of the honeysuckle herb having the ability to promote sweating for those who need this facility. There is also mention of it having the property of acting as a laxative and to counteract the effects of poisoning. There is also a suggestion that it can be applied to skin where you may need to reduce inflammation and itching. There is another suggestion that honeysuckle can even be used as a form of birth control but as with most of these things, you really need to take it all with a pinch of salt.
Geraniums as herbs
Until I started looking into the subject of indoor herb gardens, I didn’t think of geraniums being a herb. Anyone who knows anything about geraniums knows that they send out a nice smell and with that, they will help to clean the air indoors. For most of us this would be enough but there is a small list of extras that are claimed about various extracts of geraniums as a herb. Again we wander into the world of herbs and their apparent medical properties. It is claimed that there is something about geraniums that can act as an anti-inflammatory with an emphasis on joints and muscles. It is also claimed that extracts from the geranium herb can help reduce inflammation of the gut.
Rosemary the herb
Here is a herb which every chef is familiar with and barely needs any introduction. Of all the herbs that you are likely to grow indoors, this is the one that most people will want. It’s very easy to grow indoors and it’s extremely handy to be able to pick a sprig to go in in the many recipes where the rosemary herb belongs. It could also be mentioned that, for the enthusiast, it is possible to extract essential oils from the rosemary herb plant. Among the health benefit claims that go with the rosemary herb, are that it can improve cognitive abilities.
The mint herb
Anyone who has had any experience of growing mint knows that it’s one of the few plants that seems to be able to outgrow weeds. You should have absolutely no problems growing mint in an indoor herb garden. Having the fresh smell of mint growing indoors can only help with air quality. Among the claims of the benefits that the mint herb carries are that it may improve irritable bowel syndrome, it may relieve indigestion, and it can do wonders if you have bad breath. All of this is interesting to hear about but needs to be corroborated. Apart from having the fresh smell of the mint herb indoors, the best part about having mint close to hand is that I can grab a sprig and put it in with the boiling potatoes at the end of the cooking cycle.
There are plenty of claims about the benefits of lavender, mainly to do with reducing stress and anxiety but there is no evidence to back up any of it. Most people take what they can from the smell that the lavender herb generates. If in doing that, it reduces general stress and insomnia, that, for most people, will probably be enough.
Herbs used as as medicines
Whenever anyone mentions herbs there is usually a list of medical ailments that can be cured or partially cured by taking an extract from some herb or other. If you take a herb, in one form or another, and it works for you, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t continue doing so. But if you’re not familiar with taking herbs, or extracts from herbs, for medicinal purposes, you need to get advice rather than rely on any or all of the claims that are made about the healing properties of herbs generally.
Let’s look at at how indoor herb gardens can work for you
There are two types of modern indoor Gardens that stand out. Both are capable of growing most things indoors and both would make ideal indoor herb gardens. These are the Aerogarden and the Click and Grow indoor garden.
There isn’t much to choose between these two systems. They both work by using hydroponics. This is all to do with the roots of the herb plants being immersed in water rather than growing in soil. This, for some, makes having indoor herb gardens more attractive and worthwhile.
Both systems have a built-in lighting panel which provides ample light for the herbs or whatever plants you wish to grow. You have complete control over the length of time that the lights are left on.
The Aerogarden system allows for the addition of nutrients to be added to the water that the roots are sitting in. There is an indicator that shows when more nutrients need to be added and also when the water level has dropped to the point where more water needs to be added.
The Click and Grow system relies on nutrients being present in the seed plug, where the seed germinates and the roots grow down into the water. Some of the nutrients in the seed plug find their way into the water. This with the nutrients that remain in the seed plug, is found to be enough to feed the growing plants. The Click and Grow system also has an indicator to show when more water needs to be added.
You can find out more about the aerogarden and click and grow indoor Gardens. We have more information at:‘Indoor-farms for fresh salad’.
Are indoor herb gardens worth it?
To sum up
Enthusiasts who have established an indoor growing routine, agree that having indoor herb gardens are worth it. The advantage of having a constant supply of fresh herbs where you want them is worth a lot to any chef. The vagaries of the weather always makes herb gardens a challenge when attempted outdoors.
Then there’s the issue with the seasons. Indoor herb gardens can function and produce all year round. This is no small consideration. When the growing season, outside, comes to a close, you just know that you have to wait until the new year for the next growing season to begin.
To find out more about the concept of growing plants indoors using a modern hydroponic system see: ‘Indoor-farms for fresh salad’. To help you decide on whether indoor herb gardens are for you.
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