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Starting to grow herbs indoors - need help

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Starting to grow herbs indoors - need help

Postby Ryan_M » Sep 21, 2010 1:09 am

Hi, my first post here so I'll throw in a little back ground. I'm a technology/tools kind of guy so I know absolutely nothing about trying to keep plants alive, nevermind actually grow them. For some reason I've recently wanted to grow something - anything. I like food and I really like cooking (soups are my thing) and fresh herbs are so much better than dried so I thought it'd make sense to hit both nails at once and grow my own herbs.

I was planning on starting from seeds but luck had it that the wife found small potted herbs at the grocery store. I've since repotted them in bigger pots than what they came in, I put them in 6" clay pots. They looked pretty sickly to start off, they were wrapped in plastic and the dirt was more like dust. But after the repot and some water they've perked up and are starting to look pretty healthy. So I've at least succeeded in the first step and didn't finish the job of killing them.

I realize this is probably a wide open question but please realize I don't even know the basics so where do I go from here? Plants aren't just made out of water so I'm guessing they will need some thing more put into the soil to keep them going. And after I get them growing healthy what's the best way to get what I need out of them. Should I just take what I need when I need it or should I be cropping them only down to a certain level and freezing a stash?

The details - At the moment I have Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Parsley, and Chives, and will probably add a few more as I realize I need them. They are in 6" clay pots vs. the disposable ~4" pots they came in. We are in a new home and have lots of BIG widows around the kitchen, the pots are on a widow sill and they will receive mostly full sunlight throughout the day. I don't know if that's good or bad for them though I figure they each have their own requirements.

Sorry for the long obtuse post. I'm on a lot of forums and realize that some aren't very receptive to newbs. I don't mind doing my own homework but googling trying to find some info, I've found it's pretty generic and so specific to my situation. Again, I know nothing so if you could post a link of where I could do my own reading I'd be grateful. And some tips would be very much appreciated too!

Thanks for any help in advance,
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Re: Starting to grow herbs indoors - need help

Postby Eeyore » Sep 21, 2010 10:48 am

Welcome Ryan!

You'll need to use a fertilizer for your plants. Any houseplant fertilizer is acceptable just make sure to follow the directions. I don't grow herbs myself but you can either pick the leaves as you need them or you can harvest and freeze. You'll want to keep flowers from forming as once they do the leaves become bitter.
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Re: Starting to grow herbs indoors - need help

Postby B_BQ » Sep 21, 2010 11:19 am

Hi Ryan:

You don't say which zone you're in.
Some of the herbs you're growing can be planted outdoors, as they're perennials, but you can certainly try growing them indoors during the winter months:

Oregano, (this overwinters here in zone 5a/b), spreads like crazy!
Chives, overwinters here very well and spreads!

Rosemary is not a perennial in my area, and I either dig it up and bring it in, (although I have never been able to over-winter it indoors), or dry it.

Basil is a very tender annual, and will need to be brought in before frost. You can keep it going for a while indoors, but I find it gets very sparse and spindly after a while. Maybe if you keep on feeding it it will last a while longer. I often pick it all and make a quick pesto in the food processor with a little olive oil, then freeze into ice cube trays and finally, once frozen, into a plastic freezer bag. It's great pulling out a couple of cubes in the dead of winter to throw into a sauce!).


Sage is a perennial in my area, and over-winters very well. I do pick quite a few leaves before winter and dry them. This is a strong herb and you don't need much in a recipe.

Thyme, (regular, lemon, etc), also over-winters in my area, and spreads, but slowly. This is a great herb.

Tarragon is a perennial for me. Chicken pairs well with this herb.

Savoury is also a perennial here in Southern Ontario. This one is great in stews.

Go ahead and ask more questions as they present themselves. There's lots of people on this forum who have tons of knowledge and information and love to share.

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