• Jennifer Lumpkin posted an update 2 years, 2 months ago

    Container Gardening Class Notes for DCECOWOMEN!

    Select the proper soil. Some herbs grow better in poor soil, as they
    can develop a stronger flavor. The oils in herbs make them special.
    Very fast growing herbs often grow plain leaves and stems more quickly
    than they can produce tasty essential oils. Often you will hear,
    “Basil grows better in poor soil,” or, “Your basil will taste better
    if you don’t fertilize”. What is really meant here is, “Don’t grow
    your basil too fast.” (Basil is an example to which this applies).

    Correctly set up your containers. When growing in a container it is a
    little different. The plant still needs some food to grow, and when
    that food runs out you will need to fertilize. However, as you will
    see next, this is all taken into consideration together with the
    growth habits of your herbs:

    To keep initial growth rates in control, use a soil mix with just
    enough nutrients. Mix 2 parts coir (coconut fibre) compost to 1 part
    perlite, and then add 20 percent worm castings. Test the pH of any
    mix, and if it is acidic, add one gram of hydrated lime for every
    litre of soil mix. Or, you can substitute with vermiculite, which does
    not need pH adjusting. Finally, add 1 tablespoon of kelp meal for each
    gallon of soil to add plant hormones and to give beneficial
    micro-organisms something to feed on. Use this mix whenever you

    Know when to water. If the surface of the soil feels dry, you need to
    water. Another way to tell is to pick up the container and check how
    heavy it is. Your herbs like their soil to drain fast. You need to
    have containers with holes in the bottoms, and you need to add a layer
    of broken roof tiles (slate is ideal) or other small flat stones, or a
    centimeter or so of perlite or gravel to the bottom of each container
    as you transplant. It is best to water thoroughly but less often.
    Water the container until some water comes out of the bottom, but
    don’t over-water.

    Start feeding your plants after 10 or so days. When the herbs have
    been in any container for ten days or more, you need to begin feeding
    them. In a container, the roots are stuck in a small space and will
    quickly mine it free of any nutrients, especially if you have been
    going easy on the nutrients to begin with. Feed every two weeks with nutrients of your choosing. Seawood or home made tinctures from root cuttings work well!

    Give an additional boost to your herbs. If you really want to keep
    your plants healthy, it is recommended to use 10 ml/gallon B1 plant
    mix and liquid seaweed in every drop of water you give to your plants.
    The B1 consists of vitamins and root hormones, and the seaweed is
    trace nutrients and plant growth hormones. This will help with
    essential oil production. Finally, water basil from around the base;
    it does not like water on its leaves.

    Use your herbs when they’re ready. As soon as the herbs have grown
    enough leaves to be pinched without affecting their growth, you can
    begin using some of the herbs. This usually takes about 4 to 6 weeks,
    depending on the herbs. Herbs like basil are best when harvested
    before flowers open. You will get your highest essential oil levels
    when you harvest at the end of the dark period, assuming you do not
    leave the lights on 24 hours a day.

    Ten Best Herbs for Indoors

    Basil: Start basil from seeds and place the pots in a south-facing
    window—it likes lots of sun and warmth.

    Thyme: You can start thyme indoors either by rooting a soft tip
    cutting or by digging up and potting an outdoor plant. Thyme likes
    full sun but will grow in an east, or west, facing window.

    Bay: A perennial that grows well in containers all year long. Place
    the pot in an east, or west, facing window, but be sure it does not
    get crowded—bay needs air circulation to remain healthy.

    Chervil: Start chervil seeds in late summer. It grows well in low
    light but needs 65 to 70 degrees F temperatures to thrive.

    Chives: Dig up a clump from your garden at the end of the growing
    season and pot it up. Leave the pot outside until the leaves die back.
    In early winter, move the pot to your coolest indoor spot (such as a
    basement) for a few days, then finally to your brightest window.

    Oregano: Your best bet is to start with a tip cutting from an outdoor
    plant. Place the pot in a south-facing window.

    Parsley: You can start this herb from seeds or dig up a clump from
    your garden at the end of the season. Parsley likes full sun, but will
    grow slowly in an east, or west, facing window.

    Rosemary: Start with a cutting of rosemary, and keep it in moist
    soilless mix until it roots. It grows best in a south-facing window.

    Sage: Take a tip cutting from an outdoor plant to start an indoor
    sage. It tolerates dry, indoor air well, but it needs the strong sun
    it will get in a south-facing window.

    Tarragon: A dormant period in late fall or early winter is essential
    for tarragon to grow indoors. Pot up a mature plant from your outdoor
    garden and leave it outside until the leaves die back. Bring it to
    your coolest indoor spot for a few days, then place it in a
    south-facing window for as much sun as possible. Feed well with an
    organic liquid fertilizer.