The Indoor January Garden

At the end of the growing season we dig up some herbs to bring inside to continue to give us fresh herbs like chives, oregano, thyme, rosemary, marjoram, and basil.

The thyme really grew and spread last summer so we divided it and brought a big pot inside.

The transition from outside to indoors has to happen gradually or the sudden change can shock the plant.

A few hours inside a day, and slowly increasing the amount of time indoors, will usually bring success.

The herbs can provide flavor for winter meals and plants like the hibiscus, or gardenia, will continue to bloom.

When the winter winds are swirling, and the snow piles up outside, the chance to brush against a pot of rosemary or basil and have their scent released into the air reminds you that spring is on the way.

January is a good time for the plants inside because they have thoroughly adapted to their conditions and are full of energy right now.

If you have plants in south-facing windows you really have to stay on top of the watering cycles. All that sun means plants can dry out quickly.

The other night we made a hearty stew with some sprigs of rosemary that simmered in the stew as it cooked and added a woodsy flavor. When simmering herbs in soups and stews we tie a few sprigs together and drop them in the pot.

The leaves that fall away deepen the flavor of the dish and the sprigs are easily retrieved when the cooking time is done.

The other night we toasted some slices of bread for fresh goat cheese and drizzled some organic honey to make crostini to serve with roasted carrot soup.

Then we snipped some thyme and scattered the tiny leaves on top of the goat cheese spread smoothly on the toast.

Nothing brightens a winter marinara sauce like a few torn basil leaves stirred in at the last moment of cooking time. This is why we bring some herbs indoors for the winter season. All this freshness in our food for the winter season.

As we sat down to dinner someone spotted that the hibiscus had bloomed a new cotton-candy-colored delicate bloom.

These are the pleasures of the indoor January garden and a reminder that all of this will be outside with warm breezes again.

Back to winter. There’s a blizzard on the way. Look at that beautiful bloom again!

You can check out my piece about warming up with a mug of something delicious over at Parade.

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