January is a dull month for the avid gardener. Other than harvesting your citrus and keeping an eye on your Winter Hanging Baskets, there’s not much else to do outside. So, how about doing a little gardening inside? If you have one bright windowsill, you are well-prepared to try growing some herbs indoors. Herbs are a great idea for winter gardening because they are easy to grow and you can eat them. That’s my kind of plant! Many local stores and groceries carry pre-potted common herbs like basil and parsley, etc. My favorite is dill because I can never find it in the produce section when I have to make chicken soup, and what’s chicken soup without dill?
There are many herbs you can grow on that windowsill. Thyme is just one of them. Most thymes are perennial and require low sun and less water. In fact, thyme hates soggy roots and will not perform well if over-watered. Thyme is great on chicken and fish and when added to vegetable recipes as well. Dried oregano is found in every kitchen. Why not grow your own? Greek oregano has the typical flavor and expected aroma, but you should try Hot and Spicy oregano which has just a bit more bite than regular oregano. Sun and low to moderate watering will do the trick for either type of oregano.
Chives are a popular herb and you might like to experiment with garlic chives. Why not! These chives taste a bit stronger than ordinary chives, but do not have the pungency of garlic. Garlic chives will grow in sun or shade and don’t care much how you water them. Great chopped into salsa or used in omelets, or as a garnish on soups and salads.
If you want to try something different, dwarf winter savory is the herb for you. A small plant with weeping branches, this will easily fit on a small windowsill with sun or shade and moderate watering. Savory is a wonderful addition to lamb or beef dishes or in hearty stews which are great winter meals. You don’t need to use too much savory as it has a strong pervasive flavor.
The general rules for growing herbs is to plant them in well-drained soil and do not over-water. A bit of house plant fertilizer might improve growth after a few months on your windowsill. Most herbs can be harvested all season and will continue to produce new growth throughout the winter. Drying herbs for future use is pretty easy in the microwave. You can Google that!
Your Master Gardeners invite you to visit their new website: http://saddlebrookemastergardeners.org/ for all up-to-date information and events for our community. Garden questions? You can reach our very own Garden Helpline by calling Pat at 407-6459. Your phone call will be forwarded to a Master Gardener Volunteer who will assist you in the solution of your problem. Your SaddleBrooke/SaddleBrooke Ranch Master Gardener Volunteers are here all year-round to assist with any plant or landscaping problem.
Remember, nothing brings more tranquility to the heart than a beautiful garden.