There are numerous, simple ways to grow herbs indoors. A sunny, warm window is usually all we need to get a few pots of herbs going to snip into our cooking all year long. However, I have a brood of truly psychotic cats who just love to dig in dirt, knock pots over,
etc. I also have a shortage of southern facing windows. My dining room (hahahahaha) has been completely annexed by our business and the lovely French doors that I used to have an etagere of plants on has been replaced by a metro shelf of tinctures and crock pots ready to be used. I also want to start expanding my climate change resiliency. I think even the most hardcore environmentalists need to understand what is to be done to be resilient in the face of unyielding climate change.
A number of years ago, I visited Orlando Florida for a business trip. On a break from the conference I was attending I jumped over to Epcot for an afternoon, with a view to visit the “Living with the Land” exhibit. This ride shows how Walt Disney World horticulturalists are using innovative growing techniques and cross-breeding high-yield crops and livestock to help feed a growing planet. At the time, I was really stuck on using soil only methods of growing, viewing hydro and aqua ponic systems with a level of skepticism. As I have watched in the last two decades the results of climate change, I believe that we will have to rely on multiple methods of growing and harvesting to feed ourselves.
We employ solar panels to offset our garden electricity usage and to a lesser extent the same at home. We also harvest rain water to eliminate the burden of watering our garden from the municipal utilities. To this end we decided to experiment with a new to us technology of hydroponic herb gardening. I purchased a new Aerogarden Harvest device from a closeout vendor on ebay (I don’t pay retail for anything if I can help it). It seemed like a good entry point into this growing method, and would allow me to grow a few fresh herbs to use in the kitchen and apothecary.
It proved to be a simple set up. The packaging was a mixed blessing of recyclable and compostable material (it could have been better). The device contains a basin, perforated top and a grow light. The kit also contained 6 grow pods of herbs and a small bottle of plant food (we are using it for the first batch of herbs until I can do better). I chose four herbs to fill the six slots (I have heard advice not to fill all holes as the density of plants will crowd each other out, limiting health and yield. I filled up the basin, added the plant food and seed pods. Once plugged it, the internal pump began to move nutrient rich water to the planting material and the LED lights came on to simulate sunlight. This particular plug in our apothecary is connected to our small solar array on the back of our house so it isn’t adding a burden to our household usage.
When it isn’t antarctica outside, we will use our rainwater reserves to replenish the basin and we will try out using an organic fish fertilizer rather than the synthetic one that comes with the kit. Further along, we can purchase sustainable planting medium and use our own heritage seeds…but for now, here’s hoping that in a few weeks I will have a few snips of herbs to add to our late winter cooking.
If you explore the aerogarden website, you can choose the model and kits that best serve you. I would also encourage you to look at other brands and models that fit your growing needs and knowledge. Knowing me, I will completely go overboard and have plants growing everywhere in the house….bathroom tomatoes anyone?