Growing Media for Indoor Herbs-Importance, Types and Preparation
So, you’re thinking about starting an indoor herb garden. Have you decided on the best soil for indoor herbs yet? Growing media for indoor herbs is the most important part of a garden. If you planting edible herbs in poor soil, you can’t expect them to have the best tastes and yields. Garden soil is not a good choice for growing herbs indoors because it is heavy and can cause the roots to get too close together. It can also bring in bugs and diseases. To grow herbs indoors, choose the potting mix or potting soil that comes in a package. When choosing the best growing media for indoor herbs, you should consider how the soil is made, what nutrients it has, and what its pH is. Read on to find out how to start your herbs in the best soil so you can get the best flavors and yields.
(A) Importance of Growing Media for Indoor Herbs
The growing media for indoor herbs used is important for 3 very different reasons.
- It holds water and nutrients around the roots of the plants, giving them access to the resources they need.
- It gives oxygen to the roots by leaving “empty” space around them. This lets the roots breathe.
- It keeps plants standing by keeping their roots in place.
If you start by putting low-quality growing media in your pots, it will be hard for your herb garden project to do well from the start.
(B) Properties of Growing Media for Indoor Herbs
Potting soil is by far the most common and well-known for growing plants in containers, but it’s not the only one. When growing herbs indoors, there are many different types of growing mediums for herbs that You can use. When deciding which one to use, look for the following qualities in your growing medium:
- Lightweight so that containers don’t get too heavy.
- Hold water in the root zone, which is important because containers dry out faster than garden soils.
- Growing media for indoor herbs should have materials that hold on to nutrients that plants can use.
- Drains well to keep water from getting stuck and causing root rot.
- It doesn’t pack down in the plants, making it impossible for water and oxygen to get through.
- Growing media for indoor herbs should be free of weed seeds.
- It should be sterile.
(C) Different Types of Growing Media for Indoor Herbs
Here are some of the most common types of growing media, what they are made of, and what they are good for. Most people are familiar with potting soils, but coconut coir, peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite are also often used or mixed together to make a custom substrate. Following are the options for growing media for indoor herbs:
(I) Potting Soil
Most people who grow plants indoors or in containers use potting soil as their growing medium. It is a well-known substrate that is easy to get because it is sold in nurseries, garden centers, and big box stores.
Commercial potting soils are made of peat moss, pine bark, and either perlite or vermiculite. You can change the amounts of these ingredients slightly to make different versions that meet the needs of different plants. It is the most common growing media for indoor herbs.
(II) Peat Moss
Peat moss and other peat materials are made when dead plants pile up in places that don’t drain well. The most common type of peat moss is sphagnum moss, which is light and can hold 10 to 20 times its own weight in water while still draining well.
Because it has a naturally low pH, it is often used for acid-loving plants like strawberries, tomatoes, acid-loving flowers, and parsley. This growing media for indoor herbs is good for growing microgreens because it is sterile.
(III) Coconut Coir
Coconut coir is becoming more popular with people who grow plants in containers, and it is also being used more and more in indoor herb gardens. This growing media for indoor herbs is becoming increasingly popular because it is like soil and peat moss. Coconut coir is made from the brown and white fibers between a coconut seed’s shell and its outer coating. This makes it a renewable source of the material. The coir is taken out of coconut husks by soaking them in water. The coir is then left to dry and shaped into bales.
Coconut coir also has many other benefits:
- It doesn’t compact or breaks down.
- It has a pH close to neutral (usually between 5.2 and 6.8).
- It helps good bacteria grow in the root zone because it contains lignin.
- It has a lot of hormones and bio-stimulants that help plants grow.
- It may contain essential plant nutrients like potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc, depending on where it comes from.
Perlite is a mineral made of silica that comes from volcanoes. The high-quality materials are crushed and then heated to very high temperatures until the water inside evaporates.
This makes a light, airy material that is great for increasing airflow and drainage . Perlite is a good thing to add to your soil mix to enhance the quality of growing media for indoor herbs.
Mica is heated to make vermiculite. As the heat is added, the layers of thin plates in the mica expand into structures that look like accordions. The expanded particles that come out of this process can hold much water and drain well. Vermiculite can be a great part of your soil mix for making a growing media for indoor herbs, just like perlite.
(D) How to Prepare your Growing Media for Indoor Herbs?
Some gardeners make their own growing media for indoor herbs instead of buying them from a store. This has some benefits, like mixing the exact amount of each ingredient you want to make the potting mix fit your planting needs. However, it isn’t always cheaper in the long run.
The steps are easy to follow if you want to make your own growing media for indoor herbs.
(I) First, get all of your supplies together:
- A big bowl, washtub, or garden tub to mix everything together.
- Measuring Scoops
- Shovel or some other tool to mix everything together.
(II) Growing media ingredients
- Most people choose peat moss, sand, perlite, vermiculite.
- Some kind of organic matter like compost.
(III) All-purpose Fertilizer
- Prefer slow-release granular fertilizer.
2.Process to Make Your Growing Media
- Before you start mixing the parts together, clean your container and tools well with diluted bleach or vinegar. This will kill any bugs or diseases that might be in them and keep them from getting into your new growing media for indoor herbs.
- Measure out the parts roughly and add them one by one to the wash tub.
- You can feed your plants by adding a small amount of granular fertilizer. Follow the directions on the fertilizer package about how much to put down.
- After putting all of the ingredients in the tub or container, you can use a shovel or spoon to mix them together gently. If you need to, you can add a little water to keep the dust down in growing media for indoor herbs.
- If you need to, change the pH of the final mixture. Lime can be added to lower the pH and make the potting soil more neutral or even slightly alkaline, while granulated sulphur can be used to raise the pH and make the soil more acidic.
- Herbs that need much water, like chives or cilantro, do better in potting soil or growing media that holds more water. Standard potting mixes don’t hold as much water as mixes with coconut coir or more peat moss.
- Oregano and other herbs that like to drain well do well in pots with more sand or inert materials like perlite or vermiculite growing media for indoor herbs.
- Herbs like parsley grow best in potting soil or growing media with a pH closer to 7. In this case, peat moss works well.
(Also Read- 5 Indoor Kitchen Herbs That Everyone Should Plant)
When growing herbs indoors, it’s important to start with a good growing medium that keeps water and nutrients in the root zone, allows oxygen to get to the roots, and helps to keep the plants’ roots in place. Many gardeners use potting soil as growing media for indoor herbs. You can buy it online or locally, or you can make it yourself to meet the needs of your plants. However, it isn’t the only option. You can change the growing media based on the herbs or plants you are growing because you have different options, or else you can prepare yourself.