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What’s better than garnishing your food with organic herbs? Growing them in your home and plucking them fresh for a meal! If you thought growing basil, rosemary, parsley, garlic chives, and cherry tomatoes was difficult, Simran Dua tells you otherwise. The Better India (TBI) got in touch with Simran, an entrepreneur from Nagpur who grows herbs in her home and also teaches indoor gardening and hydroponics to those interested.
She shares some valuable tips.
Simple Tips to Grow Herbs in your Garden
- Soak the seeds in water for a day or at the most, two. Let them sprout.
- Meanwhile, ready small pots with moist cocopeat. “I advise people to grow herbs in cocopeat only and not soil because of its nutritional value. It’s easier to grow plants that way,” Simran says.
- Water the pots twice a day for the first 10 days. Make sure you don’t apply too much pressure while doing so.
- By the 10th day, the seeds should germinate. “Germination is the most crucial part of growing herbs or any plant. If they germinate healthily, you need not be too careful or strict with its care later. Otherwise, the plant may grow very fragile,” she shares.
- Make sure the pots are placed in a way that they get medium sunlight and adequate fresh air.
- You can choose to add organic fertilisers like compost too.
- After the first 30 days, you can reduce the watering to once a day. Make sure you sprinkle water so that it does not damage the stems. “Water with a very light hand or else seeds will get lost in the soil,” she warns.
- By the 45th day, the herbs should be ready for consumption. Pluck or cut the leaves or stems as per your need and let the plant grow.
Special Tips to Take Care of your Plants
As each plant has its own needs, Simran shares some tips with us to maintain our plants for a green bloom.
For example, if your plant is wilting even in medium sunlight, maybe it’s time to shift it to shade. Or if the water isn’t seeping quickly enough, you can reduce the quantity or frequency.
- Rosemary: Rosemary grows best in a cool climate. So don’t grow it outdoors or in your kitchen, where the heat of your appliances and stove might be too much. Instead, grow it in your living room or bedroom, where it’s relatively cooler.
- Basil: This herb grows between 1 to 2 feet in height. The leaves are also quite widespread. So as far as possible, plant every seed maintaining a 2-feet distance. If you are restricted for space, grow one plant in one pot and place them separately.
- Parsley: “It’s better to grow the herbs in seeding trays and then transfer them in pots after a month. The process is certainly longer and you need to be extra careful while transferring but it is very efficient too and your plants will grow healthily,” Simran shares.
- Rocket leaves: These plants very efficiently self-seed. This means that their flowers carry seeds and one plant can result in several growing overtime. If you want to avoid this, pinch out the flower buds before they bloom. Keep the plants moist at all times and ideally, grow them in the shade if the weather is particularly hot in your area.
- Garlic Chives: These herbs spread wide within weeks. So make sure you sow them about 8 to 12 inches apart. If you don’t want them to self-seed, like the rocket leaves, nip the flower buds and trim leaves when they grow over one inch above the ground.
- Cherry Tomatoes: Simran shares, “Grow them in ample sunlight. These plants need extra nutrition and an organic way to do it is adding coffee grounds and eggshells. That will give you a healthy yield.”
The passionate gardener says, “Every plant is unique and it may require you to be patient. So, understand the needs of your plants and change strategies accordingly.” So the next time you feel like having a healthy salad, go for freshly plucked ingredients that your hands have nurtured with love.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)