Gardening Vivian | 29 May 2011 02:39 pm

Why Should I Buy Herb Garden Kits?

If you’re already a keen gardener, then you probably look on herb garden kits with a certain amount of disdain. After all, the cost of the components purchased individually would be a lot less than the cost of the overall kit, and sometimes they don’t even contain everything you really need to start a thriving indoor herb garden.

For those of us who are more the keen amateur chef than the keen amateur gardener however, herb garden kits can be a boon. They get things kick-started, (hopefully, see below) providing everything that’s needed to get some luscious culinary herbs up and growing.

The other reason to buy one of these kits is as a gift for a friend. There are a lot of people who enjoy cooking out there but who rely on dried herbs (ok for some herbs, terrible for others) or store-brought herbs (expensive) to punch up the flavor in their cooking. You probably know some (maybe you even get invited to their place for dinner – here’s a chance to kill two birds with one stone!), so consider a herb kit as a thoughtful and useful gift for them.

A word of caution to temper all this enthusiasm though: not all herb garden kits were created equal. In fact, some of them consist of little more than three seed packets and some cute wooden stakes to label the plants with. That’s not an herb garden kit, it’s a joke. Decent herb garden kits should include: lots of varieties of seeds, enough to suit every taste; potting mix/soil that has been specially designed to suit the herbs included (lighter for Mediterranean culinary herbs); a tray to germinate the seeds in, and detailed instructions on what to do.

Don’t forget that you (or the person you’re buying the herb garden kit for) will also need something to grow the herbs in once they are established. Some kits are sold bundled with a planter of some kind, so opt for one of these or alternatively buy it separately. Keep in mind that herbs grown indoors are likely to need some additional artificial lighting at some stage, and planters that aren’t flat (some have tiers) are going to make things difficult when it comes to this – grow lights need to be very close (as in, no more than one inch) to the foliage in order to work properly.

One final thing: a popular option when it comes to herb garden kits over the last few years has been the hydroponic-style AeroGarden by AeroGrow. These are obviously substantially different from an ordinary herb garden kit, but some people swear by them. The main downside seems to be cost, and possibly the main upsides are the convenient inclusion of a built-in grow light and the fact that you don’t have to use soil. There’s plenty of debate about these on the internet, so do a little homework and see if you think this type of system would suit you (or your gift recipient) before buying.

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