Living or traveling in an RV shouldn’t preclude you from growing your own herbs for personal, culinary, medicinal or therapeutic uses. These indoor herb garden ideas will give mobile travelers ideas and legalities on how to grow herbs in an RV while traveling from state to state.
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How to Grow Herbs in Your RV – Portable Herb Gardens for RVs
You really don’t need a green thumb to grow herbs. Savory and spice plants are generally sturdy and fast growing plants. They can be used for a variety of uses.
All you need is a good garden base, sunlight or artificial light, water and fertilizer.
Once you get planted and established, in no time, you’ll have fresh herbs and spices for your salads, cooking and even just to add a little greenery in your small space.
Remember, incorporating plants in your RV, boat or tiny home increases oxygen that cleans their air inside your RV or small space. Herbs absorb the carbon dioxide and rids your interior rooms of toxins.
And, the best part, herb plants can provide medicinal and holistic aromatherapy.
So, roll up your sleeves and let’s dig in to see how you can grow herbs in your RV, boat or tiny home.
What herbs can you grow in your RV?
Regardless of how big or small your space is, herbs are easy to grow and maintain even when you’re mobile. Depending on what you’re going to use your herbs for will dictate which plants you wish to grow.
For example, I love to use fresh herbs in cooking; especially in salads, salsas and sauces. So, I lean towards, what I call my salsa herbs; basil, oregano, chives, parsley and cilantro.
You can incorporate these easy-to-grow herbs in most any culinary dish.
However, be careful when selecting which herbs you pair together. Some are more powerful or may be more pungent than others.
But, if you want to expand into more intense culinary herbs, you can also grow dill, lemongrass, marjoram or rosemary and thyme.
If you enjoy freshly made ice tea or lemonade, you may want to include flavorful herbs in the mint family. But, remember, since herb plants are fast growing, be choosy in selecting your herb garden containers.
And because these herbs are fast growers, you’ll need to have a place to put them as well as transport them.
Herbs that grow well in indoor herb gardens, flower pots or containers:
Can I transport my herbs from state to state?
If you are mobile or intend on taking your herbs on your RV trip, you will need to be conscious of the fact that you may not be able to transport your herbs from state to state or even country to country?
In the United States, some states have agriculture inspection stations. They may not allow you to carry your homegrown herbs because they may carry pests.
California Border Protection Stations have 16 checkpoints maintained by the California Department of Food and Agriculture along the state’s land borders with Oregon, Nevada, and Arizona.
Another key part of protecting Texas agriculture is the operation of inspection stations on the major roadways into Texas. At these inspection stations, Texas Department of Agriculture requires inspectors to physically examine inbound agricultural products for invasive pests or diseases and check to ensure all state phytosanitary laws are met.
And, according to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ Office of Agricultural Law Enforcement, the state operates 23 agricultural inspection stations to protect Florida’s agriculture and ensure a safe food supply. There’s a station on every paved highway going into and out of the state.
And this isn’t all of the states but it gives you an idea of what you may face transporting your personal herb gardens.
If you have your herb garden sitting in the open by a window as you’re passing through a AG state, be prepared to be inspected. Even if your herbs are only for your own personal use, you can still have them confiscated.
If you want to chance it, that’s up to you. If asked, just be truthful and say ‘I eat them’. The worst that may happen is you lose your herb garden.
Can I grow Cannabis in my RV or Boat?
Speaking of transporting herbs, you knew this question would come up. Cannabis aka marijuana is considered an herb, right?
I’m putting this disclaimer here that if you’re thinking you can grow your own marijuana in your RV for personal medicinal, holistic or recreation uses while being mobile, DON’T!
You AND those in your RV will get in big trouble for growing and transporting cannabis plants into a state that has strict 420 laws. You AND all of your passengers will be subject to arrest, jail time, and/or huge fines!
According to Cannabiz Media (2020), cannabis is NOT LEGAL in any form (medical, holistic, or recreational), including home growing, in these states:
|North Carolina||South Carolina||South Dakota||Tennessee|
It’s important to know the current marijuana laws of each state and abide by them.
Can I take my herbs outdoors?
You can definitely take your herb gardens outdoors! Herb plants love to be outside but under certain environment conditions.
Subjecting your herb garden plants to excessive or long term direct sunlight will scorch the leaves and dry out the soil; depleting the roots from getting the necessary nutrients from the soil base.
Also, plant fungi are spread by wind and water splash, and through the movement of contaminated soil, animals, workers, machinery, tools, seedlings and other plant material.
Another thing, if you set your herbs outside, you may subject your plants to pests like aphids, caterpillars, fleas.
Aside from those, if the conditions are right, you still should take your herb containers outside to get some fresh air and sunshine. Just keep an eye on how long and where you place them.
For example, the air is much dryer in the desert regions. And in other regions, you may get water saturation from the rainy northwest.
Can I plant all of my herbs together in one container?
It’s best to research which herbs you can grow together in the same pot. Some herb plants are more invasive than others while others thrive living in the same soil.
Just make certain your indoor herb garden allows for ample drainage so your herb plants don’t get root rot.
Some herbal plants require steady moisture together while others may need warm and dry soil conditions.
For example, you should not plant rosemary and parsley in the same container. Parsley requires steady damp soil while rosemary requires dryer soil conditions. Other herbs shouldn’t be combined for various reasons.
So, before planting your new herb together in the same pot, find which one’s are compatible and which herbs that detest community soil.
Caring for your herb gardens in and out of your RV
As I have grown many herbs in different kinds of container gardens, I’ve come to learn that they really are quite simple to care for. One thing to remember is most herbal plants need full sun or direct light; at least 6-8 hours a day.
Also, know that some containers may actually dry your herb plants or even bake them on a hot day. So, during the hottest part of the day, get them out of direct sun.
Another herb growing tip is to not use too much fertilizer. Herbs have been around for thousands of years and survive growing wild without foreign chemical fertilizers. You don’t want to overfeed your savory or spice plants.
However, it doesn’t hurt to see which herbs prefer plant food or fertilizer. Some plants actually grow much better without much attention. Do realize overwatering or too much plant food can ruin the potency and taste of individual herbs.
Tips for growing herbs in containers
There are just a few things to remember when growing herbs in container gardens.
- Know which plants are compatible to grow together in the same container or pot.
- Select containers and pots that have good drainage.
- Find a good sunny location but pay attention to how much direct hot sun they will receive.
- Feed and water your herbs accordingly.
- Know when to harvest herbs to get optimal flavor. But also so they can reproduce.
What kind of containers are best for growing herbs?
When you do decide to chance growing herbs in your mobile lifestyle, you’ll need to consider your herb garden containers.
Self-watering herb containers are great because they offer constant moisture; provided you keep water in the reservoir.
Certain herbs such as those in the mint family, parsley, chives and marjoram are great choices for self-watering containers.
However, you may want other herbs that thrive better in dryer conditions or containers that allow the soil to dry out. Those herbs that do better in that type of environment are culinary herbs; basil, rosemary and oregano.
Here’s a great compilation of our favorite Amazon Picks of portable herb garden containers that can apply to different size RVs, boats and spaces.
Our top picks for indoor herb gardens for RVs
Top 3 Simple Small Herb Gardens for Small RVs and Campers
Top 3 Countertop Herb Gardens with Grow Lights
Our Top 3 Portable Herb Gardens for Big Rig RVs or Campsites
Harvesting your herbs
Knowing when the right time to harvest your indoor herb garden is defined by individual plants. Harvesting herbs helps to provide optimal flavor and healing properties. But also, proper harvesting promotes fresh growth.
Herbs are harvested for:
- Seeds – Anise, Coriander, Dill and Fennel
- Leaves – Basil, Chives, Cilantro, Dill, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, and Thyme
- Flowers – Borage, Calendula, Chamomile, Chives, and Lavender
Indoor herb garden harvesting tools:
You don’t need a bunch of elaborate tools to harvest your non-woody or stalky herbs. Sometimes, just using your fingers or fingernails are all that’s needed to pinch off fresh sprigs; basil, chives, cilantro and parsley.
Now, if you’re wanting to harvest bigger quantities of herbs to freeze or dry, a good pair of garden pruners are great for herbs with hardier or woody stems like chamomile, rosemary, sage, greek oregano.
All of that said, before you go pinching, snipping or cutting your herb plants, do your diligent research on each herb to know when the best time to harvest your herbs. You don’t want to damage your herbs or interrupt their most important growing times.
Wrapping up how to grow herbs in your RV
As you see, you don’t need a green thumb to grow herbs in small spaces. Just a little herb research and education on how to grow herbs in your RV will provide healthy seasoning to your dishes, medicinal and holistic alternatives and a great breath of fresh air in your motorhome or camper!
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