Puny indoor herbs

barb_roselover_inJanuary 15, 2014

I brought several of my herbs inside which I have in a south window . I have pelleted fertilizer on the tops of the pots and keep watered. I have chives, parsley, thyme and marjoram. I keep them watered, but right now they are not looking too good, except for the chives. I have a great big pot of rosemary in a 55 degree garage under light which is doing great. Any advice? I figure they need a sort of dormant period before making the transition, but am disappointed. Thanks Barb

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gjcore(zone 5 Aurora Co)

It probably would've been better to leave the the chives, parsley and thyme outside. They should make it through your winter. Marjoram I treat as an annual. That said now that you have them inside the best you can do is to keep them in the brightest light that you can and don't over water. When winter starts breaking up first try to get the thyme and chives back outside. Later you can try getting the marjoram outside but not much before frosts end. Mature parsley doesn't transplant well so it's probably somewhat shocked by the transplant and low light level.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:28AM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

A little clarification--the chives, parsley, and thyme will easily survive the winter outside, but probably not with harvestable leaves, so it depends on what you're looking for--just to overwinter, or to have on hand for cooking. A freeze will kill the leaves, but they'll regrow quickly.

I do have my pots of herb indoors under lights (no good window) and they do okay. Marjoram and oregano are thriving, but the thyme and chives are just hanging in there. Any of my potted chives tend to be on the limp side, but I attribute that to temperature and low light. They're still useable and great to have for potato soup especially.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 4:58PM
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Thanks so much for answering. I wanted to have some herbs to be able to use in cooking, but can't say that they seem to be thriving enough so that I could use them. For instance could have used some fresh thyme in my mushrooms tonight Forget that. -- Where do I get the little bags that I can put the herbs in and take the whole thing out ; therefore just having the taste? I should have put that first but hope someone reads the whole thing through and sees this question. I don't like to have the leaves in what I am eating. Crazy, I know. Thanks Barb

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 11:41PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

If you have any sort of spice shop where you're at, they usually sell the drawstring muslin bags. If not, I'd just use a little cheesecloth--cut a 6x12" or so length, place the herbs in the middle, fold the edges over or roll lengthwise, then pull the long ends together and tie for a nice little pouch. Then, you just make what you want for the size herbs you have--the little muslin bags can be a bit small sometimes for 'sticks' of herbs.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 11:49AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I have a big metal ball with a chain and hook on it. It kinda looks like a big tea ball.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 5:31PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

While herbs like parsley, thyme, and chives do survive winter weather, I wouldn't move them outside in the middle of winter. You are always better off letting the plants go through the progressively cooling temperatures of fall leading up to winter rather than sticking them outside now. Better results. Move outside in the spring (hardening them off first) when more moderate temperatures arrive.

And yes, tea balls and cheesecloth plus kitchen twine both work well.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 5:44PM
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I don't have any cheesecloth and the metal thingie doesn't work in the microwave--it spit at me, and I don't have the other things. Would a coffee filter work? Thanks Barb

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 9:09PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

I don't know how you could seal a coffee filter for a long boil time. If you have some clean muslin type cloth, you can use that in place of the cheesecloth. I would possibly choose to boil it first as they recommend with jelly bags, and you'll want to make sure it's all organic type material (cotton) rather than a poly blend.

    Bookmark   January 22, 2014 at 10:51PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

barb_roselover_in - I know you said you don't like having bits of herbs in your food but this seems to be getting overly complicated. If it becomes a project you will probably be less likely to experiment and make cooking with herbs an automatic process.

The herbs you name fall into two groups as far as usage goes. Thyme, rosemary and marjoram, ie shrubby herbs, are generally put in early in the cooking and can be removed at the end. You can simple tie the stems with a clean piece of twine and remove them by the string at the end. These types of herb are good fresh or dried.

Parsley, chives and basil are generally use fresh, since they don't dry well. They are added to the dish at the end and not actually cooked at all. Warming through is as far as it goes or the flavour is spoiled. They are meant to be eaten, not removed. And since they soft and fresh - I can't see any reason not to. You can view them as miniature green vegetables.

Tea bags, tea balls, etc. stop the herbs circulating and infusing freely around during cooking and I don't believe they work half as well as a tied bundle.

Eventually you probably won't even bother with the string. Once you are a hardened herb user you will be perfectly happy picking out twigs!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2014 at 4:41AM
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It seems the thyme is dying . It is simply drying up even though I have kept it watered. Not overwatered at all.. I wonder if it is just not choosing to become dormant. I have thyme outside that simply renews in the spring. Maybe just can't grow it inside. Barb

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:39AM
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