I love to plant an herb garden every summer. Fresh herbs are my favorite thing to cook with because they add so much flavor. A few years back I decided I was going to get serious about growing my herbs and set out to find the perfect Herb Garden set-up.
Our backyard isn't huge and I didn't want to take up valuable play space for my son with my garden. I also didn't want the foxes and other wildlife that love to nibble on gardens to have easy access.
Herb Garden Research
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I did a lot of research online and found this awesome VegTrug herb garden on Amazon that had eight individual squares in which to plant different herbs. It came with liners for each individual square which allowed me to keep everything well organized.
One November evening I was making something that required fresh Parsley. I knew I didn't have any fresh parsley in the refrigerator and was debating using dried when I glanced out the window. I noticed that the Parsley plant was still going strong and I was able to go and clip off the amount I needed (with plenty to spare).
In subsequent years I tried a mix of other herbs and veggies – Rosemary, green onions, white onions, Sage, and Lemon Grass. The onions didn't grow very well in the elevated herb garden but the rest flourished. This year I've tried snap peas and radishes in two of the squares and both are growing well. No vegetables yet but the pea pods are flowering so I'm hopeful they will start to produce soon. The radishes look like they are growing nicely but I don't want to pull any yet since it's still early.
During the cold winter months I lament the lack of fresh herbs. While they are available to buy at the grocery store they are usually expensive and I don't end up always using them in time before they go bad. In order to A) have fresh herbs whenever I want them, and B) not spend a fortune on that I have been looking at options for growing an indoor herb garden.
As luck would have it, my husband surprised me with an Aerogarden for Mother's Day. I had just planted my outdoor herb garden so I thought it would be a good test to see which worked better or if there was any difference.
Outdoor Herb Garden: VegTrug Herb Garden
In the outdoor garden I planted the following:
- Genovese Basil (from seeds)
- Genovese Basil (from small plants)
- Mint (from seeds)
- Flat Leaf Parsley (from small plants)
- Italian Parsley (from seeds)
- Chives (from small plants)
Indoor Herb Garden: Aerogarden
In the indoor Aerogarden I planted the following:
- Genovese Basil
- Thai Basil
- Curley Parsley
The Aerogarden seeds come in seed pods (specially designed to fit into the slots of the Aerogarden. To “plant” the Aerogarden you fill the base with water up to a designated line, add two capfuls of plant food, replace the cover and put each pod into it's specific slot. You turn the grow light on to shine 15 hours per day (we have it on from 6AM to 9PM on a timer). The grow light is adjustable so as your plants get taller, you can raise it up so as to not inhibit growth or burn the herbs.
Within 7 to 10 days all of the pods had sprouted and some – Genovese Basil in particular – took off! The plants have grown considerably and need to be harvested before they go bad. I add water to the garden every two weeks and two capfuls of plant food weekly. It's very easy and low maintenance overall. Here you can see what the herbs looked like at a few weeks into growing:
Meanwhile outside, all the herbs I started from small plants have grown and/or maintained themselves nicely. Those that I started from seeds were a mixed bag. The mint never grew, the Basil had one tiny shoot come through, but the parsley has small plants going strong. I will continue to water them and keep an eye on the seeds and see where they go. Starting with small plants seems to be more effective though, at least with herbs.
Outdoor Herb Garden
Indoor Herb Garden
Overall both options are good, it all depends on what your individual needs and budget are. I will continue to use both throughout the summer and see how they do. I'll be sure to provide updates as to how well the plants continue to grow, any differences in flavor, etc.