Urban Leaves India: 5 herbs on your Windowsill, Balcony

Tuesday 26 July 2011

5 herbs on your Windowsill, Balcony

Tulsi, (Holy Basil)
If you have fever
If you have cough
Come to me, I am full of holy stuff
I am worshipped for over decades now
I'll serve you through thick and thin
Use me, I'am simply WOW!

The age old wisdom of growing Tulsi,where it was once upon a time seen in every front yard. Most of us wish to grow Tulsi in our homes, but just as it is very easy to grow, it also doesn't grow so easily.I have heard many a complaints that Tulsi gets 'burnt' up!To stop feeling sorry, always harvest a good dose of seeds, handy for sowing for a new plant!

Fill a nursery pot with good potting soil covered with coco peat.Lightly scatter seeds on the surface and lightly cover them with soil.Pat it down gently and give it gentle misting of water.
Set your seeded pot in an area which receives maximum amount of sunlight everyday. Keep it moist.

Thin seedlings 1 inch apart when they are 1 inch tall.Transplant seedlings when they are 3 inches tall. Keep in area with maximum sunlight.

Pinch off flowering tops when they appear.(You can use them in making tea.) This will encourage your plant to bush out and flower which are the best part of the plant in making tea or tinctures.

Dry or freeze flowering tops at the end of growing season.

Haldi/Amba Haldi

I am yellow,I am antiseptic
Flavouring your food,saving you from being sick
I am a native herb
All your wounds I can curb

When the root  of Haldi develops an "eye" from where a small root emerges, it is time to sow it for propagation. You may source it from your local vegetable supplier/grocer.It takes about nine months to grow Haldi.

At the end of the cycle,the leaves start to dry , turning yellow. Allow them to dry completely and then harvest the Haldi. This enhances its flavour. Always save part of produce for next crop.In fact as you wait for next planting season, this 'eye' of the stored Haldi develops a root, perfectly when its time to sow it!

Lemon Grass

I am used in your Herbal Tea, in your Thai food you will see
Also found in creams to keep mosquitoes away
And so can I keep headaches at bay.

A staple of Thai and Asian cuisine, lemongrass has a refreshing citrus scent and yet a delicate tangy flavour.This versatile herb can be cut, crushed or sliced and used in soups, stews, salads and teas.Lemon grass is not difficult to grow indoors, outdoors.By following some simple guidelines you can grow pots of lemon grass brightening your window sill.

Place end of lemon grass in cup full of water.Set it in warm sunny place. Roots will begin to emerge within 10 days.
Trim or peel exterior leaves from lemon grass stalk,leaving behind the central stalk and white rhizome.
Fill a pot with rich potting mixture.Plant the lemon grass in the pot with root completely covered.Keep soil moist but not completely wet.Keep on windowsill, in good sunlight. Harvest by cutting leaves from outside.

Italian Basil

You will find me in salads and soups
In places where there isn't much 'dhoop'
You can use me in pastas and pesto
Once in your home, you won't let me go!

Basil is an annual warm season herb
Its is relatively easy to grow and makes a great addition to your vegetable garden.Grow Basil next to your tomatoes,peppers.Basil is said to improve flavours of its neighbouring plants.It also repels flies and mosquitoes.

Basil prefers warm weather, less water and can be planted in pots or in garden.Should be propagated by seed.Basil must be pinched as it starts to flower, as once it starts to flower it loses its flavour.Pruning flowers will also help to make it bushier.

Start seeds inside and transplant when few inches taller.Leaves should be cut in morning after dew has dried.
 Basil leaves ,loose their flavour when washed.


This aromatic herb is unbelievably 3000 years old
Seeds, stem and leaves, many a benefit they hold
In soups, salads and other recipes I am used
Overweight and obese, be happy for many a kilos I will help you loose!

Celery requires good amount of sun. Plant it in a container 8 inches deep. Apply lots of mulch.Celery is a water lover.
While growing from seeds, sprinkle seeds over soil/coco peat in a seed container and cover with cling wrap to keep it moist. Once the seeds sprout and leaves emerge, remove the wrap. Thin seedlings out and plant the strongest ones in a container.
While it grows stronger, keep harvesting the stalks to use as flavoring for your soups and salads!


I am used in your pani puri
For curing gas in tummy I am the key
In chutneys,chicken and teas you will find my flavour
Even my juice you will savour!

Mint likes to grow in shade.
Mint has shallow creeping roots which can be broken off,and planted directly in potting soil.
Mulching mint will keep it very happy.Remove flowers as they appear.There is very little else to do except enjoy it.

For ref : Garden Action

Hope you all can enjoy these herbs in your kitchen gardens soon.

Smiles and best wishes

Urban Leaves