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How to grow herbs in water
Growing Herbs in Water
Gardening is an excellent hobby for relieving stress and stocking your spice cabinet with organically grown selections. The biggest hurdle for busybodies is finding time and room to dig up their yards and plant seeds.
Many have found that for their ideal herb garden, a small indoor setup with some seedlings and water is all that’s needed to appease their green thumbs. Hydroponics has grown hugely popular in the last decade or so, especially with people looking to relieve boredom after being inside for days at a time.
Some may have spent their whole lives growing from the soil and transitioning easily to their indoor garden boxes, but for the first-timers getting into their new hobby, there’s nothing too hard about growing their own herbs to keep them from starting.
Included here is a description of growing small herb plants in just water, with the popular varieties many gardeners prefer and some tips for growing indoors for maximum proliferation. Following these tips can get you to create your own herb garden on your windowsill or breakfast nook so you always have fresh greens to add to your morning scramble or simmer in that Italian sauce for dinner. Nothing feels better than enjoying the fresh produce you make yourself and showing off your little garden.
Can You Grow Herbs in Water?
Perennial herbs spread their roots to reach sources of water to keep themselves alive. As they mature through the year, the plant produces seeds that will shed off and the original plant will die. Perennials last longer than most houseplants that die off within a year, but care must be taken with taking a live herb stem and planting it in water to successfully thrive. Know that if planting perennials that grow long and tall, you will need to place a medium for the roots to grasp and support the whole plant. Most mediums are just organic padding that the roots and vines can sprout through and intertwine with to create a stable base for support. Rockwool, a rock fiber spun from Basalt and slag into a wool-like medium, is preferred by many for its fibrous structure that the roots can hook into and clump together to form a strong base in the water. Other materials like peat moss, coco coir, and perlite are used as mediums. Perlite is particularly useful as its commonly mixed in potting soil as a source of food for plants.
Growing indoors is a wonderful hobby for the cold months of the year and gives you access to a cabinet of spices and fragrances fresh grown right on your counter or windowsill. As an added bonus, the vining stems and tiny blooming flowers make for a wonderful living centerpiece for the family table or as a window dressing that changes through the seasons. Some planters want to grow for maximum flavor and aromatic properties, so they look towards serious setups in hydroponics complete with sun lamps and irrigation systems.
Even if you’re just growing a little garden on your windowsill, you can still get a tasty and fragrant selection to use in cooking, medicinal or aromatherapeutic hobbies. If this is your first time growing herbs indoors, it may be best to start small with easy growing varieties, then gradually expand your collection as you acquire your green thumb.
The Best Herbs to Grow in Water
There are a variety of Perennial herb species to plant. Growing with the roots in direct contact to water and nutrients speeds up the growing cycles and if maintained correctly, the plant will yield more leaves and buds to offer more flavor and fragrance.
Dill Weed – Self-seeding and easy to grow, Dill is amongst the best herbs for all skill levels of gardeners. A hardy plant, it will hold up to more mild temperatures and flourish in full sunlight with little fuss. To keep for longer than a year, the flowers that sprout around spring need to be trimmed off the green stalks to keep the plant from dying after pollination. Fresh cut dill is great for seasoning stews or adding to bread for a more savory flavor.
Mint – A popular herb for indoor and outdoor gardens, the Mint species of herb is often used in cooking, medicinal and casual consumption. Able to be plucked and placed in a pitcher of tea or ground up and infused into soap, the Spearmint variety is especially known for its strong flavor and sharp scent. Fair warning the mint plant grows readily under the right conditions and can be invasive when placed among other herbs and plantings.
Thyme – Highly adaptable to different soils and conditions, Thyme species proliferate throughout the states and are appreciated as much for their added beauty as their usefulness in cooking and providing a source of pollen for honey bees. Available in different varieties, the lemon species is popular for its citrusy scent and added flavor to meats and soups.
Rosemary – Another kitchen staple, Rosemary has long been a mainstay to any kitchen window garden box. Incredibly aromatic when fully grown, the species is good for beginner gardeners as the plant adapts to cooler conditions that normally kill more fragile herbs. Beware though that the budding rosemary takes almost two to three months to fully develop, so it takes a fair amount of patience to grow.
Oregano – An Italian favorite, the large round leaves dry out to offer flavorful spice to cooking and sauces. The plant’s subspecies have also yielded plenty of medicinal benefits linked to soothing urinary infections and skin conditions. Notable variety like the Cleopatra with their tendency to creep vines along with their containers also makes the plants great for decoration in a cultivated indoor garden.
Basil – Well-branched and resistant to most mildews, Basil plants release wonderfully fragrant scents from their buds in resistance to cooler temperatures and later seasonal growing. As delicious as it is fragrant, the plant makes for good seasoning or crushed into a tangy pesto sauce.
Peppermint – An excellent hydrophyte, the cuttings of a healthy peppermint plant grow well in water to require little pruning and maintenance. Familiar with most as flavoring candy and tea, the essence of peppermint also soothes many pains in the stomach and digestive tract as well as muscle pains and soreness.
Watercrest – A bit harder to grow and cultivate, but unique in its flavoring, the water-loving species grow well in low temperatures with lots of water. A massively leafy labyrinth of round green buds and tiny stems, the plants are naturally built to thrive in a controlled mineral water setting and germination can take only three days to propagate under proper conditions. Best of all is that new plants can be grown from the large multitude of excess roots growing from the original seeds or stems.
Tips for Growing Herbs in Water
If growing from stems, make sure they reach far enough into the water to have ample supply. Cutting the stem at an angle allows for more contact areas.
When using a glass container, be careful to not use a straight clear jelly jar or glass as direct sunlight can accelerate algae growth in the water and require more frequent replacing.
Distilled water has fewer minerals to feed the perennials for growing seasons. If using distilled, add a nutrient pack of plant feed to spur growth.
The best food for plants is nitrogen. Use dried fish or seaweed-based fertilizer to enrich the water with nitrogen and promote healthy green growth in the young stems.
Clipping the leaves as they grow through the season promotes more stem growth and keeps the plants thriving. Be careful though as too much clipped away can harm the plant as well.
The minimum requirement for indoor plants is six hours of sunlight so make sure the plants are placed somewhere that gets adequate exposure.
Though different varieties can be grown in the same area, make sure there’s adequate space to allow light to reach all of the species leaves or some smaller herbs could die from lack of light.
If you’re growing hydroponically and looking to maximize the most from your efforts, ensure proper drainage and look at setting your plants up in an easy grid so they can be watered and fed equally.
How to Keep Your Herbs Fresh for Longer
Preserving and keeping herbs is important for keeping them long-term to use in the kitchen or later in the year. Soft, green leafy herbs like parsley, dill, and oregano can turn to mush when placed in the sudden cold of the fridge.
Hard root herbs like rosemary and sage will stand the cold much better, but any variety you handle will eventually rot from exposure to bacteria, so take any fresh-cut stems and wash them thoroughly. Afterward, lay them on a towel and pat dry with the intent to get as much water off the plants as possible.
If your using these herbs in the next few days, store the tender green ones in jars or covered containers after clipping loose browning leaves and excess foliage. Change the water every few days and watch for excess water to prevent mold from forming.
Hardier herbs need their stems trimmed but store the easiest. After trimming down, just wrap the stalks in damp paper towels and roll them into a bundle to store in the fridge.
For months-long storage, wrap them like before, then secure in zip-up plastic bags and label to know which is which. Store in the freezer and when it’s time to use them pull the desired herbs out to divide by how much you need. This works for hardier herbs that can be cut up and further diced.
More fragile leafy herbs require a bit more work. One method that’s perfect for cooking spices is finely dicing and mixing the leaves in light vegetable oil, then pouring the mixture into ice cube trays to freeze. Great for soups and sauces, the mix can be a special blend with further seasonings to have on hand for quick dinners.
If you prefer keeping your herbs oil-free, just place them in a bag after lightly damping them with water and place them in the freezer. Without excess water and bacteria, low temperatures are truly the best preservative to seal in flavor for the long run.
Gardening is an excellent hobby and great for relaxing the mind in stressful times.
with a little effort, a budding gardener can grow a wide variety of perennials with water and some jars. Try with some young seedlings or buy some cut shoots from the local garden supply and start your herb garden right in the comfort of your kitchen. It won’t be long before you’ll smell the wonderful scents of dill, rosemary, and thyme while cooking for the family.