Embrace Your Inner Farmer

March 11, 2016
Breathe some life into your winter weekends with an indoor herb garden. Watching something grow during the dead of winter will lift your spirits, plus you can use your harvest to freshen up recipes. Best of all—kids can help! Let each family member pick an indoor-friendly herb, put on your gardening gloves and get ready to grow!

Hooray for herbs

Herbs are great for winter gardens. They can be planted in just about any space and fare just fine with a sunny window—south or southwest facing is best. Water regularly, but make sure your pots have good drainage so the roots don’t sit in water. Try planting these herbs that just so happen to go great with winter recipes!

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And just in case, here’s a quick sunlight 101 for the herbs above:


  • Sage –  6-8 hours strong sunlight.
  • Dill – 5-6 hours direct sunlight.
  • Mint – 4-6 hours indirect sunlight – morning sun and partial afternoon shade
  • Rosemary -  6-8 hours direct sunlight
  • Thyme – 6-8 hours full sun
  • Chives – 6-8 hours full sun

Start with seeds and a Saturday

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Letting your kids plant seed starters to be planted later outside is a great way to keep them entertained on a snowy afternoon. Tell them to roll up their sleeves (and put newspaper down) because they’re in charge.

Materials

  • Seeds
  • Ziploc® container
  • Dirt
  • Downloadable plant markers
  • Egg cartons or toilet paper tubes

Directions

  • 1 Once they’ve picked their crops, use a large Ziploc® container (so your table or counter won’t get wet when you water), and line it with egg cartons or upright toilet paper tubes.
  • 2 Fill the tubes with dirt, plant your seeds and label these makeshift starters with a popsicle stick and a waterproof marker.
  • 3 When the seedlings are ready to transfer, plant them in pots, or in the ground, with proper drainage without disturbing them—egg cartons, toilet paper tubes and all. The cardboard will biodegrade in the soil!
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Now what?

You’re herbs are all grown up! Now what to do with them? For starters, add them to every and any recipe to freshen up those winter meals. Still have leftovers? Perfect! There are plenty of ways to use up those herbs!

Youre never in a pickle with pickling

Pickling is a great, super easy way to use up your garden extras—plus anything pickled is delicious! 


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Materials

  • 1 pound cucumbers
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vinegar
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • Fresh herbs

Directions

  • 1 Clean, slice, and steam cucumbers - make sure they remain a bit crunchy. 
  • 2 Pack cucumbers tightly into canning jars. Set aside.
  • 3 Combine water, vinegar, sugar, salt and herbs in pot. Bring it to a boil.
  • 4 Carefully pour over the vegetables in canning jars.
  • 5 Carefully screw lid on jars, cool, and refrigerate.
  • 6 Give the flavors about a day to meld and eat!

Extra Herb Olive Oil Cubes

Preserving your herbs is easier than you thought. Freeze your extras with olive oil in ice cube trays! Not only will the herbs stay flavorful, they’ll also infuse the oil and create the perfect base to any dish! Yum yum! Insider tip: Store the whole tray in a gallon size Ziploc® brand bag to keep your freezer from smelling like an Italian dinner :)