Herbs are usually the first plants that come to mind when people think about growing food indoors. And there’s a good reason. They look wonderful crowding the space on a kitchen windowsill. And there are few things more satisfying than picking sprigs of fresh herbs to mix into a simmering pan.
Buying a herb kit is one of the easiest ways to get started. They’re nifty little products and come with more or less everything you need to get growing. They also make great gifts too! I’ve bought a few myself for people.
The short version: best indoor herb kits
What is a herb garden kit?
Any basic herb kit will have three essentials: seeds, pots and some starter growing medium (like compost or coir). That’s just for a simple kit, though!
It’s worth noting the difference between herb kits and seed starter kits. The latter are for getting plants to the seedling stage with a view to putting them into bigger pots. Good herb kits include everything you need to go from sowing to harvesting.
More expensive kits tend to include plastic or wooden markers for labelling the plants, peat pots for starting (germinating) the seeds which can then be placed directly into potting soil, and sometimes even a dibbler!
Kits vs. DIY
The beauty of herb kits is that they take the fuss out of growing, especially for first-time growers.
My advice is to opt for a kit if it’s your first go or you’re stretched for time. I’m yet to see a kit that comes with plant feed – which you’ll need to use on approximately a weekly basis during the spring and summer months – so add that to your Amazon basket when you buy!
Once you’ve got the hang of the whole process and decided which herbs you like, then you can buy everything separately.
What to look for in a herb garden kit
The choice of what to include in a kit ultimately comes down to the company putting the various bits and pieces together, and they don’t always get it right. You’ll want to make sure that a few things are definitely included.
In particular, look for:
- Pots – The bigger the pots that your kit comes with, the better. I mean main ones, not the little peat pots for growing the seedlings.
- Potting soil/medium – Often this will be coir with a little fertiliser added.
- Seeds – A slightly obvious point but don’t forget to go with seeds that will grow into plants you actually enjoy eating!
Opt for kits that include herbs that do well in smaller pots, like chives, basil and coriander. Plants that need lots of space will provide you with a meagre harvest if they’re forced into a tiny pot.
Best herb garden kits: our top picks for 2017
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Window Garden Rustic Herb Kit
Seeds included: sage, basil and chives.
Of all the herb kits I looked at, this one was hands-down the best. The ceramic pots are just the right size (as big as possible while still fitting on a windowsill) and they have a wonderful rustic feel to them. If you’re a fan of terracotta then they’re perfect. They also have holes in the base and drainage plates. Avoid pots without holes in them – they’re called cachepots if you’re interested in the proper term – as lingering water can rot the roots.
The herb selection is ideal for smaller pots and, while basil will only last for a year, both sage and chives are evergreen perennials, so will go on indefinitely if they’re looked after. Finally, there are little chalkboard plant tags included (see the picture), which together add to the rustic look. The sellers have included three “germination bags” which are meant to be placed over the pots when the seeds are sown. Personally, I’d advise against this. Unless you’re starting the seeds in a cold environment (like a conservatory in winter), then they’re totally surplus to requirement.
Planter Pro’s Herb Garden Planter
Seeds included: basil, cilantro, thyme, oregano, chives and parsley.
If you want a look that’s slightly different from the Window Garden kit, then you can’t go far wrong with this product from Planter Pro’s. The pots, which like the ones above have holes for drainage, are each 5 in. by 5 in. wide. They’re made from waterproofed cedar, so they don’t look cheap and keep a nice rustic feel. The drip tray, perfectly sized for a windowsill, is also made from wood. You can buy the wood painted in two different colours, either turquoise/grey or brown. Personally, I prefer the brown.
The fact that six different types of seeds are included is another plus. Plant three this year and three next year! Oh, and the cedar also smells rather nice too.
Seeds included: basil, chives, cilantro, parsley, dill and mint.
If you interested in the idea of small-scale hydroponic gardening, I’ve written an in-depth guide you might like to check out. The first point to make, especially if you’re growing herbs for the first time, is that hydro systems like this one aren’t a fad. They’re a little pricier than “traditional” herb kits but of all the products included on this list, this one is easily going to give you the best harvest.
Because all the nutrients are adequately provided – in the form of liquid plant food – you can cram more plants into a smaller area and get more from them. The Miracle-Gro Aerogarden is a sound investment. The fact that it looks like something out of The Expanse is an added bonus (if you don’t understand that reference just replace it with Star Trek).
Living Whole Foods Reclaimed Planter
Seeds included: basil, dill, oregano, cilantro, thyme, parsley.
Box, growing medium, seeds – nice and simple! There’s also some fairly comprehensive instructions included too. I like this kit for two reasons. First, I think the look of the faded wood, which includes metal brackets at the corners, is very rustic. Second, it’s handmade from reclaimed wood, which is a nice little addition.
It also comes with a plastic drip tray and the wood has been treated to prevent rotting. It’s the right size for a windowsill and long enough to fit all the provided seeds in, though it might get a touch crowded. You can also just buy the planter if you want to provide your own seeds and potting soil.
Let me know your thoughts! Leave a comment below!
Have you tried any of the kits included here? Or do you have your own suggestions? Leave a comment below and let me know!