Growing a Garden in the City

Living in San Francisco, we find it inconvenient to do many things. Finding a place to park, BBQ-ing at home, sitting in silence- the list goes on. One thing typically inconvenient has been growing a garden. We are limited by space, nearly no backyards exist, and our lives are so on-the-go that we forget to stop and smell the roses. But an important part of a San Franciscan’s life is innovation. What can we do to fix this problem? So, we sat down and asked, what could a city dweller do to connect with their food and grow their own herbs?

Many of a plant’s nutrients are lost once harvested. We think it’s important to be as close to as many plants as possible, to receive maximum nutrition and enjoy the flavors to the fullest. Here are 5 herbs that you can grow at home. All herbs can be bought from the store and transferred to a pot for indoor growth. It’s easy and affordable!


photo by manuel bohm

Why grow rosemary? Known for its aromatic fragrance, rosemary is versatile and a must have for an indoor garden. Rosemary can boost memory and improve your mood as well as any stress. The herb can reduce inflammation and act as a stomach smoother. Grab a few buds off the stem and you’ve got a DIY breath freshener!

What to Know: This herb is very easily over-watered. It prefers to remain on the dry side and does not need particularly rich soil. The plant can be found at any nursery of home improvement store. If not accessible, take a few stalks from the store, cut down to 2 inches, and plant the rosemary in soil. The soil should be a sterile seed starting mix. Place in direct sunlight and mist daily. Move into larger pots once the plant starts to grow.


photo by herbco

Why grow thyme? Thyme holds several health benefits for your insides as well as your outsides. Thyme has been known to help fight acne, keep pests away, and combat head lice. Thyme also helps lower blood pressure and cholesterol, along with soothing coughs and boosting immunity. Thyme goes great with many dishes including steaks, pasta, chicken, and vegetables.

What to Know: This is an herb that requires six to eight hours of sunlight per day, and it may even need supplemental light. Rosemary, thyme, and basil prefer soil with more lime, so adding a spoonful of crushed eggshells to the soil is beneficial. Though herbs are hearty, they do like to be fed once in a while—especially when growing in limited pot space.


photo by markus spiske

Why grow basil? Basil is not only delicious- it’s an herb packed with vitamins A, C, and K, and full of calcium, iron, and folate. It’s known to homeopathic medicine as an anti-inflammatory and aides in healing cardiovascular issues. Throw it on pizza, in a noodle soup, or eat off the stem. Growing basil is easy and will compliment your meals and your life in general.

What to Know: Basil can be bought in store and transferred to its own pot. Like rosemary, it requires soil with lime. Basil is also sensitive to window light, so keep this in mind as the weather changes. Keep away from intense heat.


photo by stylecraze

Why grow mint? Because it taste so good! Aside from being great in a mojito, mint is quite good for you. Like many of these herbs, mint is an antioxidant that prevents cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. It relieves stomach and chest pain and is known to strengthen the liver.

What to Know: Mint is very hearty and very invasive, meaning that it can quickly choke out other herbs. Keep in mind that a lot of spearmint is required to produce the same minty effect as peppermint, so if you’re growing it indoors, where space is limited and harvesting is frequent, peppermint is the better option. Start your peppermint plant with seeds—not root or leaf cuttings—in a small pot full of potting soil. Peppermint will thrive in shade, but make sure it’s in a spot where it gets at least a little bit of light each day.


photo by imgarcade

Why grow chives? Chives have antioxidants which help the immune system and helps fight cancer. They are known for their large amounts of vitamin A and B-complex vitamins. They have also been known to reduce high blood pressure. Chives are a part of the onion family. So they add great flavor and crunch when eaten raw.

What to Know: These are one of the easiest herbs to grow indoors, as they do not require much light and are prolific in their production. Chives are easiest to start from an already-established plant. Just pull up a bunch from the established plant (including the roots), place it in a small pot half-full of potting soil, then cover the roots up to the crowns with more potting soil. Cut about one-third of growth off the top to stimulate new growth.

– Zana Faulkner/blogger


Start growing these plants in minutes after you pick them up. They’ll give your apartment a nice touch of decor and add complimenting flavors to your meals. They’ll also make your house smell rather nice.