New to growing herbs

WhisperinWillowZ(7)August 18, 2013

I have always wanted to grow my own herbs. So I now have basil, parsley, thyme, oregano and mint. I now realize they need anywhere from 4-6 hrs of sun but what do I do if I don't get that much direct sun in my yard. I mean I may get about 2-3 'direct' sun on my patio. I have alot of trees that hover over my yard so alot of my yard is shade and I'm now concerned that my herbs may die. I purchased these really great windows a couple years ago to help save us money on energy by blocking the strong UV rays so that's why I have to put my herbs outside every day, but will they end up dying anyway if I'm not getting enough direct sun? I'm thinking of planting them in the yard, but I wonder again if that be wise given the amount of sun required to keep them healthy. I would prefer to keep them in pots but again it can be kind of tedious once I transfer them to larger pots,taking 5 large pots out to the patio every day and then remembering to bring them in at night. Or would it be ok to leave them outside all the time? We have been getting alot of rain here in GA so I'm a bit reluctant to leave them outside for fear they will be washed out of their pots. Geeez you know my friends all said it was so easy to grow your own herbs cuz they basically take care of themselves, but I'm finding the more I research how to care for them the less I understand and the less I feel I made the right choice getting what? Any tips would be great. I was hoping this would be an enjoyable experience but it seems to a bit overwhelming. I'm concerned I may have bit off more than I can chew.

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Not only would it be all right to leave your herbs outside - they will be a great deal happier if you do. Plus they either need MUCH bigger pots or they need to be planted in the ground.

You have a mixture of annuals, biennials and perennials there. Thyme, oregano and mint are perennial. They will die back in the Autumn but reappear next year.

Parsley is a biennial - it will either die this winter or, if it survives, it will flower next year and then die. You need to sow parsley seed afresh every year.

Basil is an annual and will die at the first frost. You will need to resow every year.

Regarding the amount of sun - only experiment will tell you if it is enough for your herbs. But there will always be more light outdoors than in, unless you have grow lights. All the herbs in your picture are showing signs of insufficient light.

Parsley and mint can cope with fairly low light (outside). Oregano and thyme like plenty. Basil loves a baking. You'll just have to wait and see how your plants do in your particular situation. Top priority is to give them larger pots and keep them outdoors.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 3:41PM
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ty florauk

but what about when there are heavy rains? i'm concerned about them being outside when we have thunderstorms and such, which we've been having alot of lately. i'm planning on transferring them to bigger pots. i have a few 8" pots and i want to get a couple hanging planters to hang by my back door for the mint... and maybe the thyme? i just got these herbs this morning from krogers near us so i imagine that's why they look like they haven't had good light.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 3:53PM
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WhisperinWillowZ(7) leaving them in the larger pots, how often would i have to re-pot them? i thought that herbs would just keep growing all the time but it seems as though i'd have to keep buying new plants down the road and even if i did plant them outside, which i'd rather not do, then i'd have to buy new ones to that right?

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 3:56PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Bigger pots.Leave them outside. It has rained hard here to all summer in Georgia.Herbs did fine. Grow them on the sunniest window you have in the winter.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 6:32PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

I agree with the leave outside, unless you want to invest in a grow light for indoors, but plants are just happiest out. The rain will be okay for them as long as the pots can drain out the bottom. Basil, mint, and parsley will be okay with extra watering. Oregano and thyme are more arid and will require the soil/pot to drain well, and then they should survive rainshowers as well. If you've had rain--make sure you stick a finger in the soil and it should be dry before you water them any more.

The basil you will have to start new every year. Parsley, for your beginner stage I would grow as an annual and just start new every year as well (it's actually biennial, but do some research if you want more details).

Thyme, oregano, and mint you will not have to buy again--they will come back even if they die off for winter. I do keep oregano and thyme indoors for winter, but it does go into a dormancy period and doesn't grow much, so you have to limit how much you can harvest for use at that point anyway.

A little quick googling on each would probably help you--learn a little about each herb and how they grow.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2013 at 10:00PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

There is something about the fresh air, breeze direct sun, that most herbs love. Also, most of them need very little water, well drained sandy soil. Things like basil, cilantro (annuals) are a bit different(in terms of water and fertilizer needs)

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 3:01AM
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WW - don't worry about rain. As long as the pots drain well it is not going to be a problem. How do you think we manage to grow all these herbs in the UK ;-) ?

8 inches is still too small a pot. A mature perennial herb, ie your thyme, oregano or mint needs at least a foot diameter pot. You would make your life a lot easier if you just planted them all in the ground (except the mint - it spreads) Reread what I said above for which ones are annual, biennial and perennial. You only need to resow the annuals and biennials. Google these terms if you are still not sure.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2013 at 4:25AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Can you thin out the tree branches to get more sun?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2013 at 11:13AM
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