My happy, healthy basil plant!

Unlike Erin, I’m sadly without a yard, or even patio access, to grow a little herb garden.  But I haven’t let that stop me – I’m trying my hand at  apartment gardening!

My kitchen window receives at least two hours of sunlight every day – so I put a small planter there with two basil plants, an oregano plant and a Venus fly trap (for fun) to see if they could survive. I’m forever buying bushels of herbs at the grocery store, using them for one meal and then watching as they go bad in the fridge.  I wanted to stop being so wasteful, and also have herbs on demand. So far, so good!

A few things I’ve learned thus far:

  • Too much sunlight is actually bad.  When I had the planter in a window that received more sun than the one in the kitchen – it was located off the master bedroom – the herbs shriveled and were near death.  Moving them where their sun was a little more limited brought them back to life.
  • Watering is a delicate art.  Though all the instructions I read about taking care of house basil and oregano said to water them sparingly, I’ve found that watering more often keeps the spring in their stem.
  • Venus fly traps are the world’s easiest plants to maintain.  I originally got the plant to help with a fruit fly infestation that followed the purchase of some bananas. But it’s actually turned out to be quite fun! It’s so satisfying to come home and see a closed leaf that had been open earlier in the day. Take that, fruit flies.

To figure out what works best in your particular apartment, just pay attention to the plants every day for the first few weeks. You’ll be able to notice differences in their look and health immediately. For example, I noticed that the day after watering the basil, the leaves were always full and green.  When I was watering them less often (every two days rather than every other day) they immediately wilted.  So, I started watering them just a little every day.  The oregano requires regular pruning and needs just slightly more water than the basil, even though it’s a smaller plant.  The key is to not be afraid to lose a stem or two, and remember exactly what you are doing every day so that you know how to fix it.

Next up, I have seed packets for lavender, sage, thyme and even some daffodil to plant and start to grow. Stay tuned for how those fare in indoor conditions!

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2 Responses to Apartment Gardening

  1. Stephanie says:

    This is a great idea – I’ve been thinking about this recently because like you, I spend so much money at the grocery store on herbs, and then end up throwing most of them away because they go bad before I’m able to use them! With the weather getting better, I’ve been thinking about my own windowsill garden….seems to be working for you, so I think I’ll give it a shot!

  2. Pingback: Apartment Gardening: Post Two | YAY! DIY

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