By: Mary Ellen Ellis
An office spice garden or herb garden is a great addition to a workspace. It provides freshness and greenery, pleasant aromas, and tasty seasonings to snip off and add to lunches or snacks. Plants bring nature indoors and make a working area calmer and more peaceful. Use these tips to create and care for your desk herb garden.
Even with very limited space, you can grow a few plants in the office. If you have an entire office to yourself, you have options. Create a space by a window for a small garden or tuck it into a corner with an adequate light source.
For smaller spaces, consider desktop herbs. Carve out a little space on your desk for a small set of containers. Just be sure that there will be enough light, either from a nearby window or artificial light.
Choose containers that fit your space. Make sure you have some type of tray or saucer to catch water to spare your desk and papers from a mess. If light is an issue, you can find small grow lights to set over the plants. Herbs should be fine without a window seat. They’ll need about four hours of solid light per day. Water regularly, as the soil dries out.
Most herbs will tolerate office conditions as long as you provide them light and water. Choose the plants you enjoy, especially smells that appeal to you. Consider your co-workers, who may not enjoy the intense aromas like lavender, for instance.
Some great options for herbs you’ll want to add to lunches include:
Potted office herbs are simple enough to prepare and maintain, but you may also want to consider using a kit. There are some benefits to using a kit. You’ll get everything you need all in one box, it will provide a compact container, and many come with grow lights as well.
Check online for garden kits and choose one that matches your space in terms of size. You’ll find a variety of options, from small desktop kits to larger floor models and even vertical grow kits to put on a wall.
Whether you create your own garden or use a kit, growing herbs and spices in the office is a great way to make the space homier and more comfortable.
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Organization is key — so are cleaning, storage, gardening and more. In Home Hacks, you’ll learn various tips and tricks to make gardening, grilling and even sewing easier. No matter the problem, there’s a Home Hack for that!
You can taste the difference in your cooking when you use fresh herbs rather than dried. But buying fresh herbs is a little bit more expensive. And often fresh herbs come in such a big bunches that most of it goes to waste anyway. The solve? Grow your own indoor herb garden.
The best types of herbs for growing indoors includes cilantro, mint, parsley and thyme. And to make them look like regular house plants, you can put them in decorative pots around your home. Just cut a few leaves off when you need them.Credit: In The Know
You can use clothespins, tea canisters and tea cups to make your own decorative planters — and on this episode of Home Hacks, we’ll show you how.
To make a clothespin planter: Clip clothespins — plain wooden or painted — around a tuna can. Then, insert a potted plant inside.
To make a tea canister planter: Fill an old tea canister with small rocks. Then, insert your herbs and cover roots with soil.
To make a tea cup planter: Fill a small tea cup with soil. Insert herbs and cover with more soil.
No matter which type of planter you keep your herbs in, make sure they’re watered well. When you’re ready to use them, healthy herbs are best.
A “kitchen herb garden” is simply a frilly term for your average home herb garden. In the most literal sense, it is an herb garden focused around growing culinary herbs to use in the kitchen. You know… cilantro, basil, rosemary, and the like. There are hundreds of types of herbs, yet not all of them are common culinary herbs. Take flowering agastache or calendula for example. Both of those are technically edible herbs, though they’re most often grown for medicinal use – or simply to enjoy their beauty in the garden.
Most kitchen herb gardens are located – you guessed it – close to the kitchen! For instance, growing herbs right outside your back or front door, which makes it very convenient to pop outside to quickly harvest just what you need. The goal of growing a kitchen herb garden is to enable you to routinely use fresh herbs while cooking, after all! Most kitchen herb gardens incorporate several types of herbs in a concentrated area.
That said, your kitchen herb garden doesn’t have to be steps outside your door. Grow herbs wherever you can, in the best spot you have available. For you, that may even mean growing herbs in pots in your sunny kitchen windowsill. Talk about a literal kitchen herb garden! We grow some culinary herbs just outside our front door, but also have them littered throughout our other garden spaces. We often plant our basil right in our raised beds, mixed amongst the veggies. Some herbs also make for excellent ground cover, including creeping or trailing thyme, rosemary, oregano, mint, and more. The perfect sustainable alternative to lawn.
A purple sage bush, steps outside the front door. The window you can see in the background is our kitchen. This area also has oregano, thyme, rosemary, lemon balm, and several other varieties of sage.
So, how do you grow herbs indoors?
They can be finicky! They need the right conditions to grow but if you can find that sweet spot they will bring life and beauty to your home and your cooking will never taste so good!
I choose herbs that are know for indoor success.
Right now I have variegated oregano, two types of thyme, curly mint and rosemary (not shown) growing indoors.
I’ve been looking for chives but have not found any in our local greenhouse. I’m off to an Amish greenhouse later this week to add more mint and chives to our kitchen island.
I’ve had great luck growing these perennial herbs before.
Herbs can be grown either in individual pots or in a shared container—it depends largely on your space and aesthetic preference. In a shared container, be sure to check the growing habit of each herb and give it the space it needs. Mint and other fast-growing, spreading varieties need individual pots so they don’t crowd out other herbs display them together with a system like IKEA’s Satsumas plant stand. However you position your plants, just make sure there’s room for air circulation around them.
Using soil with good drainage (find a kind that includes sand, perlite, or vermiculite) and liquid fertilizer will keep herbs going strong, but “the worst thing people do is water a fixed amount every day whether the plants need it or not,” says Richter. “Stick a finger in the soil and if the soil feels dry, water thoroughly.” Harvest the leaves as you need them, but pluck lightly: “You want to give the plants a chance to regrow.”
Cilantro prefers to be seeded and grown in cooler conditions, as it does not thrive in the summer or warmer conditions. Carroll said cilantro can “replant” itself if gardeners allow the seeds to dry out and fall in the fresh soil.
Gardeners should seed basil in nutrient rich soil that allows for plenty of drainage. Keep the soil damp so that the plant is properly nourished. Place the basil in an area that gets constant light. To allow the basil leaves to grow back stronger, continually cut newly grown leaves. This allows the basil to replenish itself.
Mint will thrive in areas with little sunlight. To ensure maximum growth, make sure to water regularly. As with basil, pinch back the mint to control overgrowth. It is best to plant mint in a pot as it can quickly invade garden spaces. Gardners can bring a small mint plant indoors to harvest during cooler conditions.