Q: I was wondering if anyone had advice on growing herbs indoors. I was thinking of growing them in the lower half 1/2 of a 2-liter bottle. I would also like to grow aloe. I would also like info on where is the cheapest and best place to get seeds or any other way to start growing these herbs. Which herbs grow best indoors?
Thanks for the help.
Hardiness Zone: 8a
Jeggie from Elberton, GA
I admit I'm a gardener geared toward instant gratification, so I always start out with purchased seedlings when growing herbs-especially perennial herbs.
Some fast-growing annual herbs, like basil, dill and cilantro work well when started from seed. You can also buy packaged seeds or obtain them cheap or free through an online seed exchanges.
To start them, push them gently into the surface of moist potting soil. Your bottle will work fine, just don't forget drainage holes. Cover them with clean plastic and put them in a warm dark place until you see them sprout. Remove the plastic and put them in a sunny window. Make sure they get plenty of air circulation and don't keep the soil too wet. Give them a half-strength fertilizer every two weeks during the active growing period. Most herbs prefer full sun and temperatures of 60-70 degrees. Turn the pots daily to insure seedlings get even exposure to light. Certain herbs like lavender, thyme, sage and rosemary grow more slowly, so you might consider buying young plants.
To start Aloe, simply ask around to see if any of your friends, family or co-workers has an offshoot they would be willing to give you. Place it in a windowsill with full sun in a pot filled with porous potting mix. In the summer, water as soon as the soil becomes fairly dry. From fall until spring, keep the soil moderately dry. A dilute fertilizer
solution may be used during the summer.
Yes, you can grow basil and parsley inside. You could start them from seed but personally I have had better luck with plants. Try your local nursery or garden center. Good luck! (09/03/2005)
I have had good luck growing basil from seed. I started it indoors, put it outside during the summer, and will bring it back indoors as soon as winter hits. (09/05/2005)
I have been reading so much about herbs. Our growing season is over in NY. Where would I find plants to grow in the house during the winter? Or something to start from seed? Could I grow basil and parsley?
There are plenty of herbs that can be successfully grown indoors. Bay, Chervil, Chives, Lavender, Lemon Verbena, Marjoram, Mint, Rosemary, Sage, Tarragon and Thyme are all good bets. You can start them from seed, or simple bring them in from the outdoors. If you choose to bring in herbs already growing outdoors, place them in pots and bring them inside before the first frost.
To increase their chances of success, use reverse "hardening off" over a 5-7 day period. Start by moving them to an area outside with less light. This helps get them accustomed to the lower light conditions they'll face indoors. Then slowly bring them in for short periods each day until they are acclimatized.
Herbs need at least 14-16 hours of light per day-6 of them filled with sun. You can use a grow light or fluorescent shop light to supplement natural light if necessary. If you're growing them in a south-facing windowsill, provide them with a bit of shade in mid-afternoon. Turn them each day to ensure even growth and treat them to an occasional dose of fresh moving air (can use a fan). Feed them a small amount of organic fertilizer every few weeks and avoid overly dry air by occasionally misting their leaves.
Ellen Brown (09/16/2005)
Ellen Brown is our Green Living and Gardening Expert. Click here to ask Ellen a question! Ellen Brown is an environmental writer and photographer and the owner of Sustainable Media, an environmental media company that specializes in helping businesses and organizations promote eco-friendly products and services. Contact her on the web at http://www.sustainable-media.com
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