By Matthew Smith – Collegiate Staff
During these gray winter months, students may not be aware of how easy it is to keep a small herb garden in their very own homes. Tending herbs inside during the winter can have both physical and mental health advantages.
Rosemary, thyme and oregano are the easiest plants to grow inside during the winter months, according to Carol Price, house plant manager at Flowerland (4321 28th St SE).
Price said basil can be a great herb to have inside but greater care must be taken. If growing basil, one has to be mindful of the day and night temperature that the plant will be growing in. A steady temperature of at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit should be maintained as well as at least six to eight hours of sunlight daily. “Artificial light is not necessary for growing herbs indoors”, Price says.
Wheat grass is another recommended plant to grow inside.
“It’s not just for people, it’s for cats,” Price added.
Growing plants indoors can be done without expensive growing equipment, as these plants grow best when in a window with southern exposure. South western exposure works as well. If either of these exposures are unavailable where you live, a northern exposure can work as well.
Leslie Konyndyk, a master gardener certified through the Michigan State University Extension said mint plants are also great for growing indoors.
“They are prolific and good in partial shade to sun,” Konyndyk said. “You wouldn’t necessarily have to supplement them with grow lights.”
If looking for a plant for more aesthetic reasons, the Wandering Jew or spider plant are not only pleasing to the eye but great for cleaning the air in an apartment or house.
According to the Huffington Post, “spider plants make the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) list of best air-purifying plants.”
Some things to keep in mind when thinking about starting an indoor garden would be space, price and sunlight.
For students interested in having a small indoor garden, the start up costs can be as low as $25 for three to five plants. Stores such as Flowerland and Horrocks Market have a wide variety of plants available and have staff on hand to answer questions. Students with questions regarding growing plants indoors have several resources available to them.
“Master Gardeners are only a phone call away,” Konyndyk said.
Also, Konyndyk advises to call your local sustainable farmers in the Grand Rapids area.
Get gardening advice by calling the the MSU Extension Master Gardener hotline at 1-888-678-3464.