Even if you live in a tiny apartment and you're a serial plant killer, you can become an herb gardener, snip-snipping sprigs of basil, thyme, and rosemary and sprinkling them over dinner. All you have to do is look inward. Indoor gardens let you grow fresh herbs year-round, without weeding, sunburn, or lower-back pain. Here are the basics:
Light: Herbs love the sun, so choose a spot with plenty of it. Southern exposure is ideal, but any bright window with four hours of direct sun will do.
Containers: Pot especially pungent herbs like cilantro, mint, basil, and lavender individually, so their roots don't overwhelm one another. Try planting other varieties together in a single hanging basket or a long ceramic trough. Choose containers with holes in the bottom for drainage.
Soil: Fill the pot with potting soil, which is lightweight and drains quickly.
Water: Allow the soil to become dry before watering. Pay attention to shifts in temperature—consider air-conditioning, radiator heat, and seasonal variation in sunshine—and adjust your watering schedule accordingly (anywhere from once a week to once a day during hot spells).
Sources: Besides a local nursery or farmers' market, excellent herb plants are available from www.nicholsgardennursery.com and papagenos.com.
Etc.: Fertilize with an organic fertilizer as often as the package's instructions direct. When growth slows, lift the entire plant (root ball included) out of its pot: time to transplant to a larger container.