Indoor container herb garden questions

kilojkiloMay 6, 2014

I'm growing Oregano, Thyme, Sweet Basil, and Cilantro in containers in my house, or at least I will be very soon.

I'm planting the herbs in EarthGro potting soil that has from the label: "This product is regionally formulated from organic materials (primarily derived from one or more of the following: Hypnum peat, forest peat, forest products, or compost), sand and perlite."

My first question is, is it acceptable to start the seeds directly in the soil of the pot, or should I use the little peat pellets and the dome?

My second question is, should I fertilize and when should I fertilize? Through my research, I've read that you should not use fertilizer, you should use fertilizer designed for flowers as that will help develop the leaves, use liquid kelp, or fish emulsion, some say to use fish tank water etc..One site says to use a 10-5-10 liquid fertilizer at half strength. Some say to fertilize every 2 weeks ranging up to every 6 weeks, some say only during the winter. - It's all so conflicting. I've seen a few sites refer to Neptune's Harvest Organic Fish and Seaweed Fertilizer as well.

This year we will not have a compost pile, but next year we will. This year, we do have access to dried manure from my girlfriends parent's farm. (if any of this info helps)

What I'm interested in is what you've personally done and what has worked for you. I live in Wisconsin by the way.

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johns.coastal.patio(USDA 10b, Sunset 24)

It is possible to start seeds in EarthGro, and I just did (peppers and eggplants). I misted the top of the soil with a weak chamomile tea solution, which is rumored to help against damping off. To my eye the EarthGrow is very water retaining, and so worry more about over watering than under.

I don't know when to fertilize herbs, but I wouldn't think you would need to worry about that early. Perhaps others can help here.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 4:12PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Basil and Cilantro should start nicely from seed for you. You can try directly in your potting mix, or I've started in pots with 1/2" of seed starting mix on the top of the potting mix too. Oregano can be more difficult to start from seed, and if you're looking to get a harvest from the plant this year, I would recommend purchasing a starter plant instead of seeding. Thyme grows a little faster than oregano, but again, you'll get a harvest much faster with a start over seed. I am not familiar with that type of soil, but you'll want to make sure it drains well for the thyme and oregano. I mix a succulent or bonsai soil into my potting soil for those, plus rosemary, lavender, and bay.

As far as fertilizer, with fresh potting soil, you shouldn't need to fertilize right away. I wouldn't fertilize cilantro at all-it's rather short lived, and I let mine seed into coriander. The basil you might choose to fertilize after a couple months if it's still going. Oregano & Thyme after about 3 months. I use a liquid fish-based fert on my herb pots-I think it's a 4-3-3, and I mix it on the weak side. I go monthly during the growing summer on those that have been potted for a while, then every 2-3 months during the winter when they're more dormant. When I have worms again for vermicompost, then I top dress the compost, or make tea and alternate with fertilizer.

manure will have to be properly composted before use.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 9:23PM
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I am a firmly devoted user of peat pellets but they don't seem to work as well as other media with teeny tiny seeds. I don't know why.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 9:41PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK containers in my house....

So far no one has addressed the 'indoor' part of your project. This, imo, is the most pertinent and problematic factor. Indoor herb growing is not easy and you make no mention of supplementary lighting. Without it you would do a lot better growing your herbs outside.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 1:51PM
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