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Kitchen

Grow a garden in your kitchen

Words by Sarah Burrows

I’ve heard that couples who cook together are more likely to stay together. I’m guessing the same can’t be said for couples that own a business together…so at least we’ve got the kitchen to help keep the peace! Since starting Modern Sprout, we’ve embraced herbs in a big way – and having fresh basil, mint and parsley on-hand has become a culinary requirement in our house. It’s part of what keeps me so passionate about our company. I’m convinced that once people understand the versatility and the depth herbs provide they won’t be able to stop using them. Once you start growing your own, they’ll quickly become as essential to seasoning as salt.

– Sarah, Co-owner, Modern Sprout

“Herbs define my cooking.”
– Alice Waters

Lighting: Herbs prefer at least 6 hours of direct sunlight and temps around 70˚F. If growing from seed indoors, it’s best to start when outdoor temps are consistently at 55˚F or above. Unobstructed south and west facing windows will work best. Herbs pair great with our Growframes, Growbar and Growhouse. Each features a full-spectrum, natural white grow light that supports healthy vegetative growth. A preprogrammed timer turns on and off daily, with 8, 12, or 16 hour settings. We recommend 12 hours at moderate-to-full brightness for herbs.

Watering/Drainage: Most herbs need frequent watering, as they grow quickly. It’s easy to overwater or underwater – we are all busy people, after all. That’s why we’ve introduced several lines of hydroponic grow kits that take care of your herbs for you. But, if you still enjoy the old-fashioned method, make sure to use well-draining soil, water frequently and fertilize bi-weekly. Remember that plants are great communicators! If they’re wilting they either need water or have been watered too much.

Harvesting: Using your herbs is critical to continued growth and bushy plants! Our pruning shears are the perfect kitchen garden companion. Most herbs should be snipped at the node that connects them to the stalk, right below new growth. Herbs such as basil, parsley and cilantro can be quick to bolt (go to seed), but you can prolong their life by pinching off bolting tips and flower buds.

Some favorites:

Parsley: Parsley = persillade, a heavenly French condiment made of parsley and garlic that will enhance just about anything it’s added to.

Basil: I love the Thai variety specifically, with a hint of anise and spice it’s amazing when paired with Asian flavors and stir frys. Just snip and add during the last few minutes of cooking.

Mint: I eat mint in everything – in salads, on fruit, tossed in cream sauces and grain bowls. More often than not people only think to use it in teas or cocktails, but it truly adds an element of freshness to so many culinary dishes—try it! Nick thinks I’m a nut when I grab a piece of dark chocolate, a pretzel crisp and a mint leaf and pop them in my mouth together. Yum.

Tarragon: Disclaimer: if black licorice isn’t you’re thing, use tarragon with caution. But if Good & Plenty’s were your movie candy of choice, then you’ll love its bold flavor. It’s my go-to in salad dressing – simply toss a few sprigs in a blender with EVOO, Apple Cider Vinegar, Dijon, S&P and a little honey. Even the Good & Plenty haters – like Nick – enjoy it!

Sorrel: If you’re addicted to acid like me, sorrel will blow your mind. The small leaves pack a lemony punch of flavor and I use it wherever I use lemons.