Windowsill Herbs

Some of you have been asking about growing herbs indoors.

Hannah, wearing an apron and holding two cats
Behind their big cute eyes lies a deep hatred of photosynthesis.

Sadly my cats are plant murderers and few of my potted friends have gone unscathed, so I don’t get to grow as much as I’d like inside. Only a bamboo plant in a wine bottle and a random aloe plant have lasted the test of time, though my new African violet has fared surprisingly well.

For those of you who don’t live with murderous animals, a windowsill herb garden is a fantastic way to get your fresh fix without dropping a lot of cash at the grocery store. Because let’s be honest, you get like two sprigs of whatever you’re buying and it’s ridiculously overpriced. It’s bullshit.


So I did a wee bit of sleuthing and found a good starter trio of herbs that thrive on a sunny windowsill:

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  • Basil – oh god. I just want to shove it up my nose. You know that scene in Pineapple Express where they’re huffing that really killer strain of weed and Seth says, “It smells like God’s vagina!” Of course you do. That’s what fresh basil smells like. It’s amazing. Honestly I grow it more for the smell than the taste. Just go smell some basil plants and tell me it’s not awesome. These annuals can be started from seed rather easily.
  • Chives – The onions that aren’t. These things are impossible to kill. I left a pot of them out all winter thinking they’d died and these hardy little fuckers came back like they hadn’t been brutally snowed on for months. These can be started from seed or if you dig up a clump from a friend’s garden they’ll come back every year.
  • Rosemary – I love rosemary, I just can’t get it to grow from seeds. I don’t know if I have some weird gardener’s curse but I cannot get those little shits to sprout. A good starter shrub will be worth the extra money because if tended to properly it can last for years. If keeping a wee rosemary shrub in your house a dash of fertilizer a few times a year will do wonders; just don’t do it in winter. This plant doesn’t love being repotted frequently so do it only when it’s absolutely necessary. I’ve also read adding a tablespoon of crushed eggshells or lime to the top of the soil each year will help keep a proper soil balance for the plant.


These three are a fantastic starter trio.

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  • They’ll all need a roomy pot with a dish or something at the bottom to catch any water that doesn’t get sucked up by the roots so you don’t wind up ruining whatever you have them on.
  • A south facing window or something similarly sunny is also good.
  • Remember to water regularly, stick your finger in the soil to make sure it’s damp but not soggy.
  • Avoid drafts as these may damage your new leafy charges.
  • Don’t overharvest a single plant, rotate a few so they’ll have a chance to spring back from your ruthless hacking and snipping.


And there you have it! The first three herbs to start indoors this summer.

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