Add that just-picked taste to your meals—even when snow is drifting up against the kitchen window—by growing herbs indoors this winter. You don't even need special lights; herbs fare just fine in a bright window. Here are the best ones for windowsill growing, plus smart techniques you need to keep them happy and healthy until you can plant outside again.
Basil Start basil from seeds and place the pots in a south-facing window—it likes lots of sun and warmth.
Bay It's a perennial that grows well in containers all year long. Place the pot in an east- or west-facing window, but be sure it does not get crowded—bay needs air circulation to remain healthy.
Chervil Start chervil seeds in late summer. This herb grows well in low light but needs temperatures between 65°F and 70°F to thrive.
Chives Dig up a clump of chives from your garden at the end of the growing season and pot it up. Leave the pot outside until the leaves die back. In early winter, move the pot to your coolest indoor spot (such as a basement) for a few days, then finally to your brightest window.
Oregano Your best bet is to start with a tip cutting from an outdoor oregano plant. Place the pot in a south-facing window.
Parsley You can start this herb from seeds or dig up a clump from your garden at the end of the season. Parsley likes full sun, but will grow slowly in an east- or west-facing window.
Rosemary Start with a cutting of rosemary, and keep it in a moist soilless mix (see recipe here) until it roots. It grows best in a south-facing window.
Sage Take a tip cutting from an outdoor plant to start an indoor sage. It tolerates dry, indoor air well, but it needs the strong sun it will get in a south-facing window.
Tarragon A dormant period in late fall or early winter is essential for tarragon to grow indoors. Pot up a mature plant from your outdoor garden and leave it outside until the leaves die back. Bring it to your coolest indoor spot for a few days, then place it in a south-facing window for as much sun as possible. Feed well with an organic liquid fertilizer.
Thyme You can start thyme indoors either by rooting a soft tip cutting or by digging up and potting an outdoor plant. Thyme likes full sun but will grow in an east- or west-facing window.