Make-Your-Own Urban Herb Garden
Gardens bring a lot of lush greenery to homes and neighborhoods, but in Singapore’s busy urban landscape where space is a premium, personal gardens can be hard to come by. However, there’s something about having a plant in the house that brings a sense of serenity and peace, and makes your space feel brighter and homier. So, if you’ve always wanted a garden at home but unsure where to start, we recommend starting with a little herb garden to test your green thumb!
Herbs have been used all around the world for centuries, and are highly valued for their use as food, flavor-enhancer, medicine, or for their aromatic properties. They are generally low maintenance and you don’t even need to ponder over where to put them – they can go straight into the kitchen where herbs belong!
Having a herb garden in the kitchen can make a world of difference. It doesn’t only make the kitchen a happier place, it can also fill the space with its invigorating or relaxing scent. Plus, nothing beats seasoning your meals with fresh, home-grown herbs! Here’s how to start.
Step 1: Choose herbs that thrive in a tropical climate
Not all herbs can survive the heat and humidity in Singapore’s warm, tropical climate. Choosing an herb that can thrive here is essential when cultivating your own little countertop garden. Here are some herbs that you can grow indoors, to kick start your very own indoor herb sanctuary: Basil, Chillies (which is technically a berry), Chives, anything from the Mint family, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Parsley, Oregano, and Thyme. These are just some examples but mainly, you should look at herbs that can survive with at least 4 hours of sunlight, moderate breeze and moisture.
Step 2: Get all you need from a reputable supplier
Part of the success is knowing where to get your herbs. If you have family and friends who are already have a thriving garden themselves, you can get their help to propagate their herbs. A lot of herbs can propagate or reproduce just by using their stem cuttings. But if you’d like to start from scratch, as a beginner you can always go for herb starter kits, which are widely available nowadays. Starter kits normally come with seeds, a small pot, soil, fertilizers – and most importantly – instructions! When you are more comfortable growing herbs, you can move on to getting supplies straight from plant and garden providers.
Step 3: When you have chosen a herb to cultivate, find the best spot for it!
Is your herb a shade-loving plant, or does it need direct sunlight at all times? Herbs like Basil, Chilli, Lemongrass, Oregano and Rosemary grow well with direct sunlight so leaving them by a window will keep them happy and nourished. They will not receive sun 24/7 but 4 hours a day will do. On the other hand, Chives, Mint, Parsley and Thyme do not mind a bit of shade, and will be just as happy in a less sunny spot on your counter top.
Step 4: Choose a good drainage system that also protects your surfaces
Choose a pot that provides ample drainage – it should hold just enough water to keep the herbs’ roots moist but not keep the plant too wet. Over-watered plants absorb too much water that it blocks the plant’s oxygen intake, resulting in the plant ‘drowning’. If your pot has no holes to drain excess water, you can line the base of the pot with pebbles or small rocks so excess water goes into the pebbles and does not soak your plants’ roots. If your pot has holes, you can place a saucer or a bigger pot underneath the plant pot to catch excess water; it also makes for pretty accents.
Step 5: Don’t be afraid to make it pretty!
Indoor herb gardens serve many purposes – one of which is to make you happy! Making your herb garden aesthetically pleasing can transform your space into a brighter and cozier oasis. Decorative pots and accents help bring out your personality into your living space so decorate your little garden in any way that suits your fancy!
Step 6: Finally, grow with the flow!
So now you have the herb, the pot, the space, and hopefully the courage to start planting. Simply follow the instructions and let it grow! Remember, each herb will come with its own special instructions – be it the amount of water or sunlight, so do read up and don’t be afraid to ask others for help.
Don’t be disappointed in the beginning if your herb does not grow as fast as the instructions say it would, as there are a lot of factors to consider. Sometimes, it just needs a slight change in location or amount of water or sunlight.
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