Bathrooms get steamy, so why not treat them like a greenhouse?
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My old bathroom was steamier than a sauna. A quick shower yielded enough steam to crowd the room, and it didn’t help that the window got direct sunlight. My bathroom’s air turned thick with humidity, and I’d have to open the window so a cloud wouldn’t drift into the adjacent kitchen. It was winter, and I was itching to foster life. I wanted something to nurture in a low-key way, something that would appreciate the steam that annoyed me. Herbs were the obvious answer.

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In the beginning I wet a few paper towels and placed the seeds inside, each folded in half to protect what they cradled. (I’m pretty sure I learned that trick from a science fair project.) Within a few days tiny green limbs reached out, so I set up some small pots and even smaller peat pellets on the highest shelf, close to the window and away from the toilet—hygiene was definitely a priority. Weeks passed, then a month, and my project thrived. The plants graduated to soil and bigger pots. My basil and oregano stalks angled towards the sun, and I knew it was time to move them (to the kitchen, of course). Eventually I did cook with them, and they were delicious.

I know it sounds weird to grow something you’re eventually going to eat in your bathroom, but hear me out. It was January then, and it’s January now: If you want immediate results in your plant rearing endeavors, your best bet is to grow something in a greenhouse, and a steam trap bathroom that gets tons of sunlight is the next best option. Whenever you take a shower, you’re releasing just enough steam to hydrate the seedlings. Think of it as a nursery. A nursery that just happens to have a toilet in it (convenient!).

Starting with seeds is cheaper than buying a plant, and since you grow them yourself you know what’s gone into your plants. There’s also that rewarding factor that yes, you created life and it did last. (You are free to do whatever you like, but the bathroom steam trap works wonders on seeds and sprouts.) The air in a regularly showered bathroom gets moist and thick, and several herbs thrive in such atmosphere—better than they would on some kitchen windowsill. By the time spring comes around, your plants will be robust enough for life outdoors.