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Green Thumb Tips for Planting Your Perfect Window Herb Garden

What could possibly make you feel more Ina Garten-esque than plucking a few basil leaves from your windowsill and placing them onto a homemade Margherita pizza? Or perhaps clipping some fresh mint straight from the pot to muddle into a cold Mojito?

Growing your own apartment herb garden is a surefire way to ramp up your home cooking (and cocktail-mixing), and it’s also a great way to instantly make your home feel ready for springtime. Here are our favorite tips for planting a window herb garden.

Choose the right window. Just any old window won’t do; in order for herbs to thrive, they’ll need the maximum amount of sunlight, so make sure to choose the sunniest spot in the apartment.  If your place isn’t super sunny, that’s ok too. Just skip the basil (which loves the sun) and go for a mix of thyme, mint, tarragon, rosemary and chives.

Invest in spacious containers. One of the most common mistakes people make when planting herbs indoors is choosing a pot that is too shallow or too small. Your pot (or pots) will need to be 6 – 12 inches deep and at least 6 inches wide, or if you choose to plant multiple herbs in one pot, you’ll need to make sure that they have around 6 inches of space between each plant. If you’re shopping for pots, we like this one or this one from Ikea.

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Stick with pre-grown herbs instead of seeds. Unless you want to wait months for your herbs to grow into edible maturity, do yourself a favor and buy pre-grown, fully mature herbs instead of seed packets. It may cost you a bit more, but you’ll save yourself lots of tedious time and effort.  And Home Depot, Roxanne’s in the Strip and Whole Foods all have tons of options to pick from.

Choose your herbs based on your usual cooking habits. Not all herbs are created equal, so you’ll want to plant herbs that you’ll actually use in your cooking. Like to make Italian dishes? Add some basil or oregano. Tend to cook Mexican or Thai dishes? Cilantro is a great choice. If you’re looking for basic, multipurpose herbs, you can’t go wrong with rosemary, thyme, basil and parsley.

Plant your herbs properly. To transplant your herbs from their plastic containers, simply tip them over and gently wiggle the herbs out of the container, gripping from the roots. Lightly fill the bottom of each new pot with potting soil (preferably a blend made for herbs), and then place the herb inside. Fill in any gaps with more soil and add a bit of water to allow the soil to settle.

Water regularly. Herbs need more water than other types of house plants, but be sure to do some research into how often each particular herb needs to be watered. For instance, basil typically needs watered every other day or so; other herbs, like lavender, must completely dry out in between waterings. If you need help keeping track, set alerts in your phone for each herb. It sounds crazy but it will actually keep you sane when you are wondering what needs what.

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