Herbal Interests // Herb Garden Update

Hello! It's been quite a while since I first posted that I was starting my own herb garden. Wow! A lot has changed since then. Looking back, it seems like a long time since then based upon my herbs' growth, but I suppose it hasn't been that long. I thought it might be good to share their progress with you and some of the things I have learned so far when it comes to caring for my little indoor garden. 

So, the initial herbs I planted have been moved and replanted a couple of times since I first sewed their seeds. They all started in small clay pots, were replanted in large clay pots, and then transferred and paired together in metal tubs. These tubs were actually "party containers" sold at Menards, advertised to hold ice. They came with smaller metal tins inside to hold drinks or straws or whatever. Anyway. They were, like, 75% off or something so we bought all 19 sets of them. Yeah, I know. And we got them specifically for growing herbs and possibly selling tiny herb gardens in the future. How fun would that be?! That's why we need a greenhouse. Come on, dad!

Chinese Utility Scissors c/o Freckled Hen Farmhouse

The plant transfers definitely shocked the herbs. They all did really well with each move, which was awesome and surprising. It did take each of them a few days to readjust to their new homes, but each time they were moved to a larger container their growth took off. As far as growth goes, I feel like they're on a slow schedule compared to if they were growing outdoors. The windows they sit near are East and South facing, and I have read that West and South facing windows get the most optimal sun. You can tell that they're all really reaching for whatever sunlight they can get.
I am not sure if planting them outside might help with their growth... I'd have to read more into that. A friend of mine recently asked if she could replant some of her outdoor mint into a pot to bring inside the house, along with a few other herbs she had growing outdoors. I wasn't sure what that would do, though I can't imagine it would be harmful. I do know that if you are planning to bring any indoor growing plants outside, you need to keep them in partial shade for a few days before planting them in full sun. The sun will shock the plants, which are used to low levels of sunlight coming in through a window. Another issue with bringing herbs indoors is that they will already have established insects living on and around them. Not sure the best way to get rid of those critters, as a spray of any kind would not be good on a plant you are planning to consume.

After some research, I learned which herbs were best to pair together in a planter for optimal growth. Right now, I have four herb tubs (I had five) and one clay pot that holds my peppermint plant. The tubs are paired as follows:

  • Cilantro + Basil
  • Sage + Thyme + Rosemary
  • Lavender + Oregano + Chamomile
  • Chives + Dill
  • Chives + Parsley

I paired the herbs to the best of my abilities. The Sage + Thyme + Rosemary work well together because they are all Mediterranean herbs and do not require a lot of water. A lot of the herbs I'm growing are said to have roots that do not like to be overwhelmed by water or else they will begin to rot. Well, maybe I just don't give them enough, but all of my herbs LOVE water. I think they'd be totally fine if I watered them everyday. Lately, I have started to do a deep water once a week (I fill my measuring cup up and pour about half a cup into each of the tubs near the edge) and then spray them with a spray bottle everyday or every other day, if the soil looks saturated, in the morning. I usually test the soil, as the top will dry fairly quickly, with my finger and see how the lower layer of soil feels. If its not so wet, I water. Peppermint requires a TON of water - FYI.
Anyway, so chives is a little jerk. Every single herb I've planted with chives (i.e. dill and parsley) has met an untimely death. I know chives have a large root mass, but I was unaware that they would completely kill off any plants growing near them. Chives, you are being put in your own room without supper.

Speaking of watering, when I first planted these herbs I was told by so many sources that it's extremely difficult to grow certain herbs from seed (i.e. Rosemary, Oregano, Tarragon, Lavender). So far, the only herb I've struggled with is Tarragon. It hasn't popped up at all in a month, so I am guessing it's time to give up. Lavender and Rosemary have been very slow to develop, but there are quite a few sprouts growing. Rosemary only has three, but they do develop a bit more each day. I wonder if the roots of sage and thyme are too powerful, or if they are helping... still not sure. I cannot seem to find a decent resource that says when each herb reaches full maturation. This would be so helpful to me, so I could see if mine are struggling or not on certain timeline.
They all smell really wonderful; I have not used a fertilizer in quite some time... probably a month of two. I've actually just forgotten about it. It might be time to give them a little something extra. I've been using Jobe's All Natural Vegetable Plant Food. 

That's really about all that I have come to learn while growing my herbs. I find gardening and taking care of plants quite easy; I know that many people do not. Herbs don't really need much tending to, but you do need to remember to water them, or at least check up on them. Like I said before, my peppermint plants generally needs to be watered and/or sprayed every day. She wilts very easily, so I know when she needs a pick-me-up and always looks much more vibrant after a drink. I should probably trim her so she doesn't get too overwhelming. Along with the herbs, I've added several new succulents to the family, and don't ask me what they are because I really do not know. Most of them I bought on sale without labels; I need to figure that out - oops! 
So far, having the indoor plants has really changed the environment of our home. It's much more peaceful, and to me, it feels more complete. Before our minimal home seemed a bit drab, like it was missing something. The green makes me happy, fulfilled, and healthier somehow - in body and spirit. I really enjoy having them around. The only thing I don't enjoy is the little critters who come along for the ride. We have an old home with lots of inviting cracks for insects, so I often find a little spider or some gnats that have camped out in the basil. Ah, well! 

xoxo Kayla