March is a month of in between which can make it really hard to keep focused on herbal studies in your house.

Right now is a time of planning, and possibly even sowing seeds, but nothing is really growing. Often there is still snow on the ground or it’s just too cold to plant anything outside.

Luckily, we have plenty of medicinal plants we can bring home from the grocery store, or if you’re like me, you already have them sprouting away in your pantry!

These plants are a great way to grow a few medicinal herbs indoors in pots while you wait for the weather to warm up more.

And, once it gets warmer, you can set the pots outside to let them continue to grow, or you can transplant them into the garden.

Another great thing about these four plants is that they are all ingredients to fire cider, which is a great herbal tonic to have on hand any time of the year to help you fight off various illnesses.

What are these four plants that I am talking about? Onion, Garlic, Ginger, and Horseradish!

These four plants are easy to grow as they often sprout when left too long. And they are all great medicinal plants as well. Let’s take a closer look at each…


Onions tend to start sprouting in their bags when they’ve been sitting a bit too long in the pantry. I’ve even noticed them sprouting in the bags at the grocery store. Which is great if you don’t have any sprouting onions at home and you want to jump start your project. Just select a bag of sprouting onions and you are set.

I have seen people plant them whole but I like to carefully peel away the layers and will usually find 2 separate onions growing. I carefully separate them and plant each one individually after letting them sit and dry up a bit for a day or two.

Plants each onion right to where the greens start to emerge from the body. Plant them about 4-6 inches apart in a container.

You can also set the whole onion in a jar with water on the bottom to help roots develop as well and trim off the green shoots for use in cooking.


Garlic is a longer season plant that does best when planted in the fall but you can get a jump start if they are sprouting and plant them in early spring. Similar to onions, they often start to put up sprouts if they sit too long in your pantry (or again at the grocery store).

Separate each clove from the bulb and each one can be planted. You can plant them in a pot together. If you plant to put them all in one pot, plant them about 2-3 inches apart so they have room to grow and spread.

Plant each clove so that the entire clove is buried and a small bit of the green is exposed to the top.

Garlic is ready to harvest when the green tops die back. Typically that is in July. Some varieties put off scapes, or flowers. If your variety does that, trim it off before it blooms. You can sauté the scapes in a bit of butter or oil and serve as a topping on your favorite meat or vegetable. They are delicious and taste like garlic.

Pull your garlic, wipe the soil off with a cloth, and let them dry before storing in a paper sack.


Ginger is a favorite of mine to grow. It does take up to 10 months to get enough growth for harvest and if you start it too late in the year, it will die back in the fall. If this happens, it has gone dormant but it is not dead! Simply put it in a cool location that doesn’t freeze and water it every 3-4 weeks until the days lengthen again, then return it to a warm location and start watering it more. Before you know it, you’ll have Ginger that’s ready to harvest.

To plant Ginger, look for the nodes that have buds on them. If you have several on one root, cut off a 1 inch section and set them out to harden. Once the cut ends are dried (hardened) they are ready to plant.

Plant about an inch below the surface and start watering. Ginger needs longer days so you can encourage extra growth by placing them under a grow lamp. If you are lucky enough to live in the southern states, you might even get some blooms from your Ginger!


Have you ever made fresh horseradish sauce? It’s easy to do with fresh roots, a blender, and some vinegar. If you get a root from the grocery store, examine them to look for a crown that has some sprouting buds or leaves on it. Once you get it home, Cut off the crown about a half inch to an inch.

Horseradish can grow really deep so it’s best to plant this in a tall container such as a 5 gallon bucket. You can fit 2-3 crowns into one bucket.

Place the crowns about 1/2 to 1 inch below the surface and water regularly.

Horseradish is a perennial so if you plant it out in your garden, you can dig it up each fall and replant the crowns to continue its growth each year.

Hopefully this will inspire you and your kids to continue your herbal studies even when the weather outside is not great for growing plants. It’s a lot of fun to learn about plants that double as food and medicine, especially when we can grow them ourselves!

All of these plants with the exception of Ginger are pretty hardy plants and can tolerate being planted outside in the early spring. Growing them indoors, however, will give them a jump start so they grow bigger, faster.

Regardless if you plant the outside from the start, eventually plant them outside, or keep them in a pot for the entire growing season, they are great fun for kids to grow as they learn about the medicinal uses of each.

Here are some other articles I’ve written about some of these herbs: