Growing herbs indoors is fast becoming the lockdown indoor gardening craze, on a par with the ever-popular succulent trend. Who knew that we'd prefer growing humble parsley to exotic plants, and yet this is exactly what's happening, with searches for 'growing parsley indoors' up by an astonishing 1,500 per cent over the last couple of weeks.
So why are we all wanting to learn how to create a herb garden now, and how can we make the most of our indoor spaces for successfully growing these beautiful and tasty plants?
We've spoken to Sarah Squire, Chairman of Squire's Garden Centres, about the increasing popularity of growing herbs indoors.
Sarah explains the sudden explosion of herb growing by the fact that we're all spending much more time not just indoors generally, but in our kitchens: 'Gardening and cooking make perfect companions,' she says. 'So many of us are interested in both that it is perhaps not surprising that many people, both amateur gardeners and cooks alike, now frequently grow their own herbs.
'For ease of use, variety and a freshness that you can't expect from any supermarket, look no further than your own garden, balcony or kitchen windowsill.'
Indeed, if we want to understand why herb growing is on the rise, we should probably look at the rise in cook book sales at the same time – the two are definitely connected.
Combine this with the fact that many of us are having to queue at our local supermarkets, and it makes even more sense to grow your own, pesticide- and plastic-free parsley or basil indoors. These tender herbs aren't available from the garden at this time of year, so are especially popular for this reason.
Sarah's top tip for growing herbs indoors is always considering the needs of these plants. 'Container grown herbs generally prefer a gritty and well drained compost and they need plenty of light'.
The lack of natural light can be a real problem in late winter, when there are many days without sun, so you may need to invest in a grow lamp.
Finally, Sarah's advice is to 'choose herbs that you enjoy cooking with, such as parsley, thyme, mint, oregano, rosemary and basil.
'Having a neat container of herbs in a bright location in your kitchen looks attractive, smells great, and means that you'll have fresh herbs whenever you need them. You can't get more locally sourced than that!' Happy herb growing!
Anna is a keen urban gardener, with David Austin roses and Japanese acers among her favourite plants. She moved into the world of interiors from academic research in the field of literature and urban space a couple of years ago. She's always been interested in how people make houses into homes, and how our concepts of what's stylish change over time.
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