A sprinkle of fresh herbs can totally transform even a meal made from store cupboard ingredients, adding a piquant vibrancy that would otherwise be lacking. You don't need outdoor space to have your own herb garden, however. A simple window ledge is all the space you need to create your own little patch of indoor greenery.
We've found a selection of solutions, from traditional terracotta plant pot sets to high-tech hydroponic kits, that will help you create and maintain a delicious, edible indoor herb garden.
Plant Theatre Herb Garden Seed Kit
We've chosen this kit as our overall top pick as it is an affordable option that contains everything you need to start your own indoor herb garden, including full instructions and sowing and growing tips. Inside the box, you get six laboratory-tested, non-GMO foil-sealed seed sachets to grow thyme, chives, green Italian parsley, tarragon, sweet basil, and love it or hate it — cilantro.
There are also six peat-based biodegradable pots to grow the seeds in, and six compact peat discs that expand to seven times their size when watered. Once you've planted the seeds, the pots can go on a patio, balcony or window ledge to germinate into gorgeous greenery.
AeroGarden Black Harvest
This "countertop garden" from AeroGarden is the high tech way to grow herbs with a fuss-free system that holds your hand through the growing process. The hydroponic planter lets you grow up to six different plants at a time in enriched water with LED grow lights helping the herbs along. Included in this set is a kit containing seeds for Genovese basil, curly parsley, dill, thyme, Thai basil, and mint.
There is also a bottle of AeroGarden's patented plant nutrients — enough for one season's worth of growth. The planter's control panel tells you when to add water, when to add plant food, and automatically turns the lights on and off.
Loako Indoor Herb Garden Kit
This is a kit that comes in an attractive wooden box so would make a great gift. This beginner-friendly solution includes a generous amount of seeds in case you don't get it right the first time, although the instruction booklet with detailed, step-by-step directions should help, as should the fact the seeds have a minimum 95% guaranteed germination rate.
This kit gets you going with four herbs — basil, parsley, cilantro, and chives. There are biodegradable bamboo fiber pots, expandable soil discs, and plant markers to stick in the pots.
VegeBox Hydroponics Herb Growing System
Another high-tech, hydroponic option, VegeBox's indoor herb garden has a larger, 2-liter, 12-hole base to grow up to a dozen plants at a time, and as much as 1.5 times faster than with traditional methods.
As well as the growing unit with the overhead light, you get a measuring cup, tweezers, a sponge, and nutrient water will be supplied separately. It will vary with what you're growing, but you only need to add water to this once around every fortnight and the lights are automatically controlled by the ambient light levels.
TotalGreen Holland Herb Grow Kit
The most simple (and most budget-friendly) choice on our list, this a fabulous option to get kids excited about growing herbs, or alternatively a good starter kit for anyone who is not sure whether or not they have green fingers.
We like the traditional terracotta pots, and you can use the base of the packaging as a potholder on your window ledge. The three types of seeds are basil, parsley, and chives, all of which are fairly easy to grow. To help you get started on your horticultural adventure, this has easy to understand, step-by-step instructions.
Mindful Design LED Indoor Herb Garden
We love the smart, modern looks of this contemporary white planter frame with a built-in light. The planter measures 16.5-inches long giving you a decent space for some indoor herb gardening, with room for at least three average size plant pots. The 850 lumens LED lights work on an automatic, pre-programmed timer, turning on for 16 hours and off for eight hours so you don't have to worry about remembering to flip a switch.
Gardens make everyone happy
From lo-fi to high tech, we have a selection of solutions to suit your indoor herb garden needs. There are real benefits to the hydroponic systems we've highlighted, with one option even reminding you when to add more water and when to feed your plants, which is ideal for the non-green-fingered among us. There's still a lot to be said for old fashioned soil and pots solutions though, and this way of growing is a great way to get kids excited about indoor gardening.
If you love the idea of having fresh herbs to hand next time you're cooking up a feast, consider our overall best pick, the Plant Theatre Herb Garden Seed Kit, this has no less than six types of herb seeds included. This means whether you want basil for a pasta sauce, thyme for chicken stuffing, or cilantro for a Thai green curry, you've got the home-grown ingredients in front of you.