Growing herbs indoors, is not only a hobby, but also a nice way to create a pleasant ambiance in the house and provide nutritious food to the family. Some basic and important things to remember before growing herbs indoors are, to provide a good nutrient medium and fertilizers, proper soil drainage, ample space, ventilation and sunlight for the plants.
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SoilSoil is regarded as the primary medium for plants to absorbs nutrients. The soil used for indoor gardening should provide drainage. It should also be friable and rich in nutrients.
PlantsGenerally, young saplings are planted directly in the herb gardens; however, some people prefer to use seeds. Enough seeds should be sown, because only few of them grow up to form saplings. The best plants you can start with, for indoor gardening are basil, rosemary, aloe vera, mint and thyme.
PottingThe container used for planting herbs should be 6 inches deep. Generally separate pots are used for different herbs. However, a container long enough to accommodate many plants can also be used. Some people like to use hanging baskets for planting. Irrespective of the container used, soil should always be spread in different layers. The base of the container should be filled with pebbles in order to facilitate proper drainage. Above the layer containing pebbles, gravel should be spread. Sand mixed with fine gravel should form the next layer. The layer above the sand contains organic manure; which helps to enrich the soil as a nutrient medium. Regular soil should be used for potting the plant in the top layer. The pot or container used for planting should not be filled with soil up to the brim; as it needs a depth of one inch for watering.
Nutrients and FertilizersOrganic manure is the best form of fertilizer, that can be used for indoor plants. Organic fertilizers do spread slowly in the soil, but they are effective in the long run for nourishing the plant. Adding lime to the soil results in the healthy growth of plants.
WateringWater the plants as and when necessary. Flooding the container with water, is not recommended. Excessive watering leads to soil erosion, drainage of nutrients and it also increases the humidity, providing a favorable environment for pests to grow. Leaves start turning yellow, which is a sign of excess watering. Water provided to the plant shouldn't be too cold. Sudden change in the soil temperature can hamper the growth of the plant.
PollinationIn the absence of insects and natural ventilation, pollination of the flowers of indoor plants should be carried out manually. The pollens can be transferred from one flower to the other with the help of a brush.
ArrangementThe pots planted with herbs should preferably be placed on windowsills. They can also be placed in other parts of the house but the bottom line is to arrange pots in such a manner, that they get enough sunlight. It is recommended to use the window in the south-east direction for placing the pots. During summer, the plants should be kept away from light for some time of the day. It augments their growth heavily.
Controlling PestsThe air inside the house is more humid as compared to the garden patch outside. Hence, pests tend to affect the indoor plants more than the outdoor ones. Most of these pests suck the leaves and are present on the ventral sides of the leaves. Spraying water helps remove the pests.
Culinary HerbsThe herbs which can be used for cooking are termed as culinary herbs. Some commonly grown indoors herbs are borage fennel, fenugreek, basil and mint. Freshly grown culinary herbs add taste to food and also provide the nutrients that are deficient in the daily diet.
Although, indoor gardening appears to be a simple job, it requires knowledge and skill for growing a healthy plant. Implementing this knowledge at the right time proves to be useful. Plants need to be protected from various pests and diseases. Gardening requires hard work and most importantly, you need to spend time with your plants. Finally, the effort that you put into gardening, makes it a fulfilling activity.