Herbs in January
On the first day of the new year I fed all my house plants! The hours of daylight get a little longer each day and the plants love it and will use a mild dose of plant food.
I just noticed that the herbs in the shop plant room are sending out lots of new growth, but the ones not as close to the the windows are a bit spindly. I will have to rearrange so all get more sun and give them some food.
Everyone wants to grow herbs indoors, but it is not always easy during the dark days of winter. I have found that some herbs do better inside than others. There is a large sage in my dinning room bay window, the sunniest spot in our house and it is doing real well so far. Although it needs to be watered when dry, it is one that does not like to sit in water.
The marjoram plants in the plant room have held up real well and are starting to send up a lot of new growth. They smell so good I plan on adding some fresh as a garnish to a corn chowder I just made. It think the new growth needs to be trimmed to keep the plants stocky. A mild drink of organic Plant Nutrient and a dash of time release food will also make the plant lush and healthy.
Of course parsley is probably one of the easiest to grow in a sunny window. We found a lot of parsley pots still out in the nursery and gathered them up to grow in a sunny spot indoors. Parsley roots get long so be sure the pots are deep and feed it every couple of weeks now that the days are getting longer . Liquid food works well, but a sprinkle of osmocote in addition is an excellent way to keep this plants full and lush .
Sage will do well indoors if it is in a clay pot so it drains well and if it is in the sun . I soak it and let the water run through the pot and then dump the water from saucer to another plant. Sometimes I push the sage right up next to window glass unless the nights are below freezing.
Bay leaf is a great indoor plant, probably the easiest of all to grow. I have had them get so large over the years that we have decorated them with cinnamon hearts and dried apple slices for Christmas. Then added more hearts and Cardinals for Valentine's day. We have two big ones now, but they are in the greenhouse as there were too many other plants vying for window space. Actually all of these large ones including citrus trees stand in front of the sliding doors.( Being far back from the road we have never had drapes or curtains and love to let the light in.) It is nice to pick a fresh bay leaf for a stew, sauce or soup. They can also be picked to put in with flour or rice to ward off the moths that lay their eggs in them and then turn into worms that eat and then become moths too! I love the fresh smell of bay leaves. Make cooked chocolate pudding and stir in a bay leaf or two as it cooks, then always be sure to remove it before serving. I also like to craft with bay leaves. We use them for wings for our herb angels and in fresh herb wreaths.
Thyme does well also in a sunny place. Put a couple in an old but clean hanging pot and they will flourish. Light is the secret for their health. Snip them often and they will even grow more sturdy. Yesterday my son Teddy chopped some thyme and parsley and made the most delicate homemade ravioli with these herbs in the cheese.I am sure as the days get warmer this tropical gem will flush out and get more green.
Another one that needs some attention, is the long stringy nasturtium. I started to feed it and it seems to be greening up. I think I will trim some of the long thin vines off since the longer hours of daylight will encourage buds and blooms. I love it when this one blooms, its orange and yellow blooms light up the whole area and they taste good too in salads. Some of these small plants could also be placed in a hanging pot with fresh potting soil and they will flourish.
Yes, it is a challenge to grow herbs inside. Good sun, cool temps at night and a mild food plus some time release will all help. Fresh potting soil and a new pot is in order if the plants are pot bound in tiny pots.
And it is important to remember that each herb is different. For instance, rosemary likes it cool and bright and hates to dry out. Basil likes it hot and bright. I have one basil in the bay window, but can see it wilt on cold nights. It you must have basil either start some seeds now in a warm spot like on top the refrigerator or buy the rooted kind that is sold in the fresh produce section of the store. I have had luck growing this, but it must be warm. The year I did it I had it in a window near the fireplace insert that we heat from each day.
Let me know which herbs grow well indoors or you and how you keep them healthy. email me at [email protected]
Visit me at the plant loft for a complimentary plant talk on February 1 at 9:45 AM . RSVP 856-694-4272 or at above email. view calendar at www.tripleoaks.com