Looking for a distraction during quarantine? Many New Yorkers are turning to plants. Not only do they look pretty, but you can also eat them! Did you know that during the first and second world wars, Americans planted ‘victory gardens’ to grow as much of their own food as they could?

Today, you can follow in that tradition, even from the confines of your New York City apartment. If you’ve got some outdoor space, there are even more possibilities!

Summer is just around the corner so Stonehenge NYC is here to introduce you to some easy to grow spices that you can start planting today. 

Jalapeños:



A lot of people love hot peppers and they’re actually quite easy to grow, provided you have enough sunlight. You can start by planting seeds, but it’s even easier if you buy them as seedlings. If you have seeds, plant them about ¼ inch deep and put them in the sunniest spot in your apartment.

Unsurprisingly, jalapeños love the heat. They need 16 hours of light a day so they are best suited for sunny homes. Keep in mind that if your apartment is too cold they won’t reach their full potential. Try to make sure that the soil they are in is always around 75 degrees. You can warm up cold soil by placing a heating pad under the pot. Feel free to use grow lights if your home doesn’t have enough direct sunlight. 

Make sure that the soil drains when you water them. You want the soil to remain damp without becoming semi-permanently soaked. As your jalapeños grow, you may wish to transfer them to a larger pot. You can add fertilizer every 3 weeks. They’ll get to be about 2-3 feet high. Once the peppers grow large enough, be sure to harvest them. More will replace them as you harvest. 

Basil:



From pizza to pesto, basil is one of the most popular seasonings -, especially in Italian cooking. You can buy the dried stuff at any supermarket, but keeping fresh basil at home is surprisingly simple. 

Starting basil from seeds is possible, but you can pick up a pot of fresh basil just about anywhere these days. Simply put your basil on your brightest window sill. Try to avoid drafty areas where the temperature may suddenly drop. You’ll notice that your basil will start to lean in the direction of the sun as it grows. You can counteract this by rotating the pot once a week.

Keep your soil moist but not soaking wet and feel free to harvest leaves regularly. This will prevent the plant from becoming too overgrown and you can use that fresh basil in your cooking!

Thyme



Thyme is super easy to keep alive indoors. It needs only indirect light. You get the best results if you allow it to soak up about 6 hours of light a day and is perfectly happy in temperatures as low as 60 degrees.

Thyme does best in a clay pot, so it’s worth investing in one. A clay pot will allow the roots to dry out between watering. This is important because thyme does poorly in soggy soil. It’s okay to water thyme thoroughly, but be sure the soil is fully dried before watering again. You can simply touch the soil to feel how dry it is. 

Harvesting thyme is as simple as snipping off a stem whenever you need it. This will actually encourage growth and allow more to grow back. You’ll have a constant supply of fresh seasoning to add to your favorite dish.