words_kanishka lakhwani illustration_michelle brener
For the average college student, gardening usually isn’t a hobby. It seems more fitting for old people, hermits and culinary geeks. Many people assume it’s difficult to take care of any kind of indoor plant, but it actually isn’t. A pot of herbs in a college apartment is very handy. Yes, it’s even easier to heat up instant mac and cheese or order delivery pizza, but is that really the healthiest option? Growing herbs at home is a fun, money-saving hobby that also happens to be good for your health. By gardening indoors, cooking can be done deliciously, cheaply, and most importantly, in a healthy way.
Not only do herbs save you money on ingredients, but they also change the environment of your dorm or apartment with their bright green colors and fresh aromas.
Now that you know the “why” of growing your own indoor herbs, here are some of the healthiest ones, their uses, and tips for growing them yourself.
“Rosemary is one of my favorite herbs,” sophomore Carlos Calderon said. This aromatic herb contains compounds like carnosic acid that have been shown to fight cancer cells. According to a study from Northumbria University, the smell of rosemary can even improve your memory.
Growing tip: Rosemary grows best with full sunshine and frequent watering.
Thyme has been used for years as an herbal remedy for respiratory problems such as bronchitis. It is also calorie-free and adds a delicious flavor to salads and soups.
Growing tip: Thyme is well suited for indoor growing because it stays relatively small throughout the growing process. Just place it by a window to make sure it has access to plenty of sunshine.
Lavender is more than just a pretty plant. It’s also packed with healthy benefits. Its fragrance is soothing and calming, and it contains antioxidants known as polyphenols that fight belly bloating. “I have lavender scents at home to relieve me from stress and insomnia,” said senior Nathalie Baez.
Growing tip: Lavender requires well-drained soil, so make sure your pot has holes in the bottom to provide adequate drainage.
Basil is known to calm nerves and provide a good source of fiber. It also has a detoxifying effect on the liver. Out late partying? Try incorporating basil into your brunch. Basil oil has also been found to help clear skin blemishes, thanks to its powerful anti-inflammatory activity.
Growing tip: Basil is a lasting plant that grows easily, both indoors and outdoors. It doesn’t need much care and requires watering only every other day.
This herb can do more than just garnish your plate. Parsley is full of nutrients- it contains vitamins A and C.
Growing tip: Parsley grows at a slower rate than other herbs, but it’s worth the wait. It’s easy to grow and doesn’t require much sunlight or maintenance. Just make sure the soil doesn’t get too dry; once the plant wilts it rarely recovers.