Started an herb garden, any tips?


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Started an herb garden, any tips?

Postby Kalmal » May 26th, '12, 14:01

Hello all! I started a herb garden a few weeks ago (all from cute little seeds) and now they are starting to grow! I was wondering if any of you master gardeners have some good tips? I want to try to grow them inside because I live in an apartment. Anything helps! Thanks! :)
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Re: Started an herb garden, any tips?

Postby hopeofdawn » May 28th, '12, 11:15

Watch out for spider mites and scale. Both will attack any non-pest-resistant plants indoors, and you can't spray pesticides on something you intend to eat, unfortunately ... Powdery mildew can also be a problem, depending on your climate. I've grown quite a few herbs indoors--rosemary, thyme have both worked well and are pest-resistant. Basil is great, but you have to keep pinching off the flowers and watching out for scale. Anything that requires pollination--tomatoes, strawberries, and the like you'll have to do by hand or put outside for the summer.

I've also grown catnip, cilantro and a few other random herbs, and had mixed results. Oh, and mint! If you like mint, you can grow a pot of that with no trouble at all--that stuff will never, ever die, and most insects won't touch it ...
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Re: Started an herb garden, any tips?

Postby Kalmal » May 28th, '12, 13:28

I have a few spearmint plants I started from seeds that are doing great! My only problem mint plant is my chocolate mint. It only likes to grow stems with a few little leaves on it. But I got that one from the plant store a month or two ago.
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Re: Started an herb garden, any tips?

Postby Xell » Jun 1st, '12, 14:28

Did you plant parsley? I really like this herb and use quite often in cooking or add to ready food. Once it starts to grow it's really difficult to kill and you can cut off leafs continuously at least one year until flowers start appearing. Just be sure to cut older leafs first and leave at least 3-4 leafs at all times per plant. I had pots inside house, outside and in garden. Everything was growing well. It even continued to grow when temperature was close to zero. Don't remember varietals, but one with curly leafs and one with flat.

Some general tips if you didn't hear it already like don't add too much or too little water, earth should not be soaked all the time, good drainage is necessary. If you didn't add fertilizer during earth preparation i suggest to take a look at slow release "pills". Though this probably won't be needed for herbs with short lifespan. Check how much sunlight each plant needs to grow well and if they don't get enough on your windows need to provide additional lighting.

I'm also a beginner, though had some experience with gardening before. But i do mostly outside stuff. Eating stuff you grow yourself sure is fun and quite often it's also far more tasty, since you can collect when everything is perfectly ripe.
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Re: Started an herb garden, any tips?

Postby Kalmal » Jun 2nd, '12, 12:27

My parsley just sprouted! But right now all of my herbs live in pots indoors and get sun from a west facing window but sometimes I'll put them by an east facing window. They are growing quite fast. Still all pretty little. The hardest part is just being patient enough to wait until they grow to the point of using them haha

I haven't found a fertilizer I want to use. How often do you need to fertilize indoor herbs?

Also, has anyone had any success with growing rosemary from a seed? I can't get that one to ever grow :(
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Re: Started an herb garden, any tips?

Postby beecrofter » Jun 2nd, '12, 13:31

Just about every culinary herb except garlic and tarragon do best on rather poor soil that drains very well. Excess fertility will not only reduce flavor but also attract pests to weak new growth.
If you have sown your seed indoors then the plants will have to be hardened off to aclimate them to real outdoor conditions of UV light wind.
Rosemary is a slow starter, sow a few seeds in with your other herbs and forget about them until they appear. Compost tea might be a pretty good choice for feeding them but herbs don't need very fertile conditions.
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Re: Started an herb garden, any tips?

Postby Xell » Jun 2nd, '12, 20:29

To use or not to use fertilizers also depends on soil. Mine was quite cheap, but with really good drainage. I used something similar to this fertilizer http://www.tastefulgarden.com/store/pc/Organic-Herb-Fertilizer-Tablets-44p553.htm and my parsley was growing well over a year, only recently i replanted it. Since it started to flower. They last for about 3-4 month. But better not to overuse them, too much of fertilizer is worse, than too little.
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Re: Started an herb garden, any tips?

Postby tenuki » Jun 2nd, '12, 21:59

Most common beginner mistake is overwatering. So don't do that.

chives are another great easy to grow year round crop, between these and parsley you will never lack a beautiful garnish.
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Re: Started an herb garden, any tips?

Postby debunix » Jun 2nd, '12, 22:12

When I've grown herbs, it's always been outdoors, so I have no tips for indoors use. But I have always tried to focus on plants that are tasty in quantities I can easily grow, and that are hard to get from the market.

Basil was always a loser for me, because I like to eat it in such quantity that one batch of soup would take the whole plant or several plants' worth. Parsley & cilantro are both inexpensive and easy to get.

I like fresh sage, because it's quite distinct from fresh, a few leaves in a squash pasta dish make quite a splash. Rosemary is great for the same reason. And while I don't use huge quantities of savory, thyme, oregano or marjoram, it was easy to grow enough of it and to grow it in varieties that have distinct flavor and that you don't find for sale at the market.

My favorite herb of all to grow is pineapple sage--pretty plant, nice to pinch leaves and just sniff them, it's essentially not available at the market, and the red flowers are both dramatic and tasty--they make quite a splash in these poached pears if you bring them to a potluck, sprinkled with a few flowers while the pears cook with liquid steeped in stems and leaves. It's also terrific in soups, apple dishes (pies, tarts, cobblers, applesauce), and I'm sure many more things I haven't discovered yet.
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Re: Started an herb garden, any tips?

Postby Kalmal » Jun 3rd, '12, 21:25

Mmm.. Pineapple sage is lovely. I've heard you can also make an infusion and it tastes nice. Have you tried that? I'm always afraid to eat/drink new plants because I feel like I'll poison myself.. But another plant I have is catnip. I dried a bunch of it out to make an infusion but I still haven't decided it's ok to consume. Has anyone tried catnip tea before?
My parsley just started to sprout but now the little plants are starting to die off. Maybe too much water?
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Re: Started an herb garden, any tips?

Postby beecrofter » Jun 4th, '12, 08:28

Your seedlings are probably damping off, once they show you need to allow the top of the soil to dry and to water from the bottom otherwise they will be attacked by soil organisms and perish.

As for catnip tea, it was used for menstrual cramps and migraine headaches.
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Re: Started an herb garden, any tips?

Postby Kalmal » Jun 6th, '12, 12:26

I still have yet to try it.
As for my parsley, I let it dry out and then watered it a little less. It's doing good now.
Anyone know anything about borage?
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Re: Started an herb garden, any tips?

Postby TwoDog2 » Jun 7th, '12, 00:18

hopeofdawn wrote:Oh, and mint! If you like mint, you can grow a pot of that with no trouble at all--that stuff will never, ever die, and most insects won't touch it ...



Also, if you plant mint in a 4 season climate, it will come back every year
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Re: Started an herb garden, any tips?

Postby Kalmal » Jun 8th, '12, 00:40

I just got a sweet mint plant and it smells amazing. Except I heard that if you plant mint in your garden it will spread itself and take over. So I'm hesitant to plant it.
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Re: Started an herb garden, any tips?

Postby debunix » Jun 8th, '12, 02:01

Spearmint is notoriously invasive in congenial climates. I grew up in a spearmint infested yard and it took decades to clear it out. I'd be very cautious about letting it out of a pot.

Peppermint is trickier to grow--and thus less invasive--but even tastier and makes more interesting tea.
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