08. December 2020

How to Grow Spices at Home

Fragrant, delicious and useful – I just love to grow spices and herbs at home! There are a few things you need to know to succeed though. Here are my best tips!

Grow spices at home, basil in a window.

I often grow spices and herbs indoors in winter. For example this little basil cluster that I planted in a larger pot.

 

It's the middle of winter, but I keep the hope of spring alive by getting my seed packets! Did you know that you can grow spices and herbs indoors even this time of the year? You can harvest some of your new little plants already on the window sill, or wait until it gets warmer and then plant them outside instead.

You can of course grow other vegetables indoors during winter too. Leafy greens is for example a great choice. But there's just something special about fresh spices and herbs when it's cold and dark outside. It definitely brightens the mood and adds some extra flair to my meals too.

Of course, there are a few things to consider if you want to grow spices and herbs indoors. Especially as a beginner. New gardeners often make the mistake of just sowing one single seed in each pot. I often see pictures of regular plastic pots with one tiny little stalk on social media. The person behind it usually worries about their seedling. They might not even recognize the plant like this, or wonder if something went wrong with the sowing. Well, the big problem is naturally that they only used a single seed per pot. This doesn't really work.

 

Read more: Gardening for beginners – Sowing basil

 

Grow spices in a plug tray.

This is what my basil looks like when I sow it in a plug tray.

 

A trough filled with basil plants.

I sowed basil in this plug tray that was previously used to grow spruce. This is actually the perfect place  to grow spices and herbs like basil. Several seeds in each cell of course.

 

Several types of spices and herbs should actually be sown in clusters. A smaller one, for example around 1.2 inches in diameter (3 cm in diameter), could use 5-10 seeds. If you want to use a pot that's twice as big, around 20 should be perfect. Every little seed will develop into a small seedling that doesn't look like much on its own. That's why you should always grow spices and herbs in tight clusters. Just imagine buying chives in the store. You won't exactly expect a single stalk per pot.

So, remember to always use several seeds in each pot when you want to grow spices and herbs at home.

Read more: My best 3 tips on picking a grow light

 

Sow in Clusters:

  • basil
  • parsley
  • chives
  • Chinese chives
  • oregano
  • marjoram
  • dill
  • purslane
  • thyme

 

Two clumps of basil.

I sowed several lemon basil seeds in each plug here. Then, I put the entire plug in a larger pot. You can of course split them up if you want to.

 

Grow Spices Indoors:

If you want to grow spices and herbs indoors on your window sill in winter (preferably underneath a grow light), you need to remember to:

  • sow the seeds in a smaller pot and transplant it to a larger one later
  • avoid using larger pots with too much soil
  • sow the seeds in clusters
  • keep the soil damp, but be careful with the watering

You don't have to think too hard about how many seeds you use for each cluster. You can always remove one or a few plants if it looks like you have too many in one spot. I generally use a pinch of seeds that I just scatter on top of the soil.

 

Read more: Cream cheese with spring herbs

 

Grow spices at home, small plants.

Look at these gorgeous little chives! You can do a broadcast sowing or sow them in little tufts or clusters.

 

Parsley plant.

I sowed this parsley in little clusters of several seeds in each cell. We usually get a large plant from each seed if we grow the parsley outside. This seems to be more difficult if you grow your parsley in a pot indoors. Knowing what to expect is a big plus when you try to grow spices and herbs.

 

More: Winter gardening with Monty Don from BBC Gardener's World

 

The reason why you should use a smaller pot with less soil is that your seedlings might not make it in heavy and wet soil. My favorite method is probably to start in plug trays and then transplant the seedlings to larger pots when they grow bigger.

Remember that you have so much to look forward to this winter. Good luck growing herbs and spices at home!
/Sara Bäckmo

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