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Tue Sep 30, 2014, 11:06 PM

Growing herbs indoors?

I'll cross-post this in C&B too.

I'm rearranging things in the kitchen/dining area, to make use of a corner that has good windows facing E/NE and SE/S. It has radiant (floor) heating set at 66 in the winter, and it gets down to about 66-67 F at night, but with passive solar it's quite warm during the day (73-76 F.) This is the Southwest, so it's fairly dry, naturally.

I cook with gas, but the stove is a good 12-15 feet from this corner area, so there's not much direct exposure.

Given these conditions, what can anyone tell me about success with growing herbs indoors, in pots. I'll be wintering in my outdoor pot of lemon grass, to start with. What else might do well, given that we're talking comparatively warm night temperatures?

curiously,
Bright

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Arrow 10 replies Author Time Post
Reply Growing herbs indoors? (Original post)
TygrBright Sep 2014 OP
NRaleighLiberal Sep 2014 #1
TygrBright Oct 2014 #5
mopinko Sep 2014 #2
TygrBright Oct 2014 #6
KurtNYC Oct 2014 #3
TygrBright Oct 2014 #7
KurtNYC Oct 2014 #10
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Oct 2014 #4
TygrBright Oct 2014 #8
Erich Bloodaxe BSN Oct 2014 #9

Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Tue Sep 30, 2014, 11:26 PM

1. Howdy! I'll give you my two cents...

With anything growing indoors that are not accustomed to low light (house plants), it is as you mention about appropriate temperature, but, especially, sufficient light to lead to vigorous plants that don't get overly stretched (leggy) reaching for the sun. Herbs grown outdoors in direct sun use that intense light to help develop the intense, characteristic aromas from the various essential oils that develop in the foliage.

If you have decent sunlight for enough hours per day, you will get the plants to grow, but they probably will be weaker and less intensely flavored than those growing outdoors.

One thing you could do is ensure they can get some direct sun outdoors when the temperatures are OK.

The other thing to watch for is insect issues - I've tried some herbs indoors - and even brought some summer plants into the garage to winter over - and ended up with issues with aphids or spider mite.

Good luck - give it a try, and keep us informed as you embark on this gardening adventure! I think Chives, Basil, maybe Thyme would work well - Rosemary as well. You will want to stick to things that don't get crazy big, I suspect.

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Response to NRaleighLiberal (Reply #1)

Wed Oct 1, 2014, 06:47 PM

5. Thanks!

I'm definitely thinking chives, Italian parsley, basil, and mint, at this point.

If the weather cooperates, I'll have fresh lettuces in my raised bed by the south wall through November or so, and after that I might try a tray indoors.

I suspect, based on what you and others note in this thread, that I will be looking at a stand that offers the option of supplemental lighting for extending day length.

I've had some issues with scale insects in the house, so I'm anticipating needing to do patrolling for those, and that's usually an opportunity to identify and deal with other insect problems as well, but thanks for the reminder!

appreciatively,
Bright

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Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Tue Sep 30, 2014, 11:38 PM

2. agree w nrl and

 

you could also maybe grow some greens, lettuces and such if you had the room.
i think it is easier to grow from scratch- seeds or seedlings, than to move plants inside. not the time of year for seedlings to be widely available, and seeds you would have to find online.
(seed savers exchange is having an end of season sale.)

even in warmer latitudes than chi, the seasons are the seasons, and shortening days means dormancy, or at least slowing. if you add enough artificial light, on a decent day length, you should be able to trick than.

and i find that aphids are more of a problem when i over water.

btw, there are some nice little hot peppers out there that make pretty plants, and give you a nice little bit of zing.

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Response to mopinko (Reply #2)

Wed Oct 1, 2014, 06:50 PM

6. There's a local grower who does indoor herb starts in 2" pots in the Fall for just this purpose.

That was part of what gave me the idea. So I'll probably try those, and do my best to overwinter the lemongrass indoors as well. It's chancy, I know. Some years it's worked, some not.

The hot peppers are a good idea, especially if I can dry and flake them-- we don't like very hot food but just a few flakes of a hot pepper are enough to "wake up" some dishes.

cordially,
Bright

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Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Wed Oct 1, 2014, 09:01 AM

3. I have 2 Aerogardens and love them for greens and herbs

With a new pump they make almost no noise at all and stuff grows very consistently and quickly. By picking outer leaves you can keep romaine and lettuces going for months. Kits for your own seeds are on eBay as are used (and working fine) aergoardens.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/AEROGARDEN-CLASSIC-7-POD-HYDROPONIC-GROWING-SYSTEM-100705-BLACK-/201182180509?pt=US_Hydroponics&hash=item2ed764749d

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Response to KurtNYC (Reply #3)

Wed Oct 1, 2014, 06:51 PM

7. I've seen them in catalogs, but they look a bit pricey.

However, if I'm really jonesing for fresh lettuce, I might give it a try!

interestedly,
Bright

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Response to TygrBright (Reply #7)

Thu Oct 2, 2014, 07:53 AM

10. bought both of mine used on eBay

they were about $40 and $50, one included a 7-pod kit of salad greens. I like having a little extra light (and some life) in the winter so they have worked well for me.

I have baby bok choy in one right now (an experiment vs outdoor) and it seems a bit leggy but usable. Lettuces and herbs do great.

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Response to TygrBright (Original post)

Wed Oct 1, 2014, 06:34 PM

4. I've still got green onions growing on my windowsill.

Had them there for months now, just plunked into a mug of water that I change out every few days, not even dirt. Just hack some off every so often for omelettes or whatever.

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Response to Erich Bloodaxe BSN (Reply #4)

Wed Oct 1, 2014, 06:53 PM

8. Cool! When you say...

..."just hack some off every so often" you are talking about the green tops, yes?

Did you start the onions from sets or eating scallions?

curiously,
Bright

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Response to TygrBright (Reply #8)

Wed Oct 1, 2014, 07:00 PM

9. Yes to the first question.

I simply went to the grocery store and bought a rubberbanded group of organic green onions, six or eight or so of them. They'd cut the roots off to just a few millimetres, but they grew out quickly enough.

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