With the vegetable garden mostly shut down (I have some leeks that I will harvest later) and the fruits and vegetables frozen or stored, many gardeners think the growing season is over.

It doesn’t have to be. Even in frigid Maine, indoor gardens can provide herbs until the outdoor gardens can take over the task next spring.

On the same day, Gardener’s Edge and White Flower Farm sent me emails offering indoor herb gardens ranging in price from $80 to $250. All the gardens include potting soil and plants. The more expensive ones add things like grow lights and automatic watering systems.

I think it would take a long time to produce $250 worth of herbs in such a system, but you can do it on your own for a lot less.

Most herbs can be grown from seed, though it might be a little late to start that this year. That’s OK, as you can buy seedlings at many local garden centers.

The temperature in most Maine homes in winter will be fine for growing herbs. The problem might be light. Herbs want six hours of sunlight a day, so a south-facing window is needed – or you might spend a bit and buy a grow light.

Because the indoor air is dry in a typical Maine house in the winter, use a plastic or glazed pot to keep the soil moisture from evaporating too quickly. Put a saucer under the plant, but don’t let water collect in the saucer. Herbs don’t like wet roots.

Use an indoor planting mix, and water the herbs whenever the soil gets dry.

You can’t go wrong with Simon & Garfunkel (parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme), but chives, marjoram and lemon balm also work well.

Happy cooking.

— TOM ATWELL

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