Culinary herbs

sholaOctober 17, 2013

Hi Everyone,

I'm new to planting herbs in pots but a local store close to my little herb farm has approached me to grow them potted herbs in 3'inch lightweight plastic pots which I will put in a clear plastic sleeve before delivering to them.

My questions, how can I grow basil, coriander and parsley to have very long but very thin stems with about 5 small leaves on each stem.

Please see the pics of potted herbs attached.

Thanks guys.

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Just my opinion but if I was buying herbs I wouldn't buy any of those examples because of the long pale stems and paucity of leaf. If you actually want that effect it is produced by the plants being grown fast with too little light and too much warmth. Or grown well by the grower and then kept on a supermarket display too long. I never buy herbs but if I did I'd want them to look more like this.

Here is a link that might be useful: Supermarket herbs

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 12:15PM
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CA Kate

I agree, I wouldn't buy something that looks like your examples either.... and I have been known to buy grocery supplied herbs when I need a lot.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 2:35PM
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Thanks for the advise guys. I would like to know what you recommend. It's important the stems are somewhat long and not "woody".


    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 5:00PM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

Why the long stems? With the exception of stock with parsley stems or smoking/grilling with dried basil stems you don't use the stem. A serious cook should be looking for the leaves to be healthy. Or grower for that matter since I think these are meant to plant? As previously stated, the long stems are probably a result of forced growth and insufficient light.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 8:04PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Shola, I agree with the others. I don't have a clue as to how these little plants are to be used. They are too etiolated to be used as a plant.....those stems will never stand up on their own. And their usefulness as a culinary ingredient is practically nil.

What is that store owner thinking? Do you know how these are going to be marketed?

Anyway, you'll need a good soilless potting medium, without the moisture crystals in it. Seed each pot pretty heavily, as overcrowding is the key to those poor quality seedlings. If you look at those pots, each is crammed with individual seedlings.

Place the pots in your flats and put them on heat mats until they are germinated....then pull the plug on the mats. The greenhouse should be kept coolish, around 60ð F. If too warm those crowded plants will die in about two days. IT'S THE CROWDING THAT WILL MAKE THE SEEDLINGS TALL AND SLENDER but still rather sturdy.

You also need good light, very lightly shaded direct sun. Or, if growing under lights, a good bank of plant lights suspended low and raised periodically as the plants grow up up up for light. Fertilize, but sparingly.

I'll repeat my concern about the owner's intent. Have you shown him/her what a normal, healthy herb plant should look like?

Let me know if you have any questions. I've coached a couple of professional herb farm growers through the transition of field growing to container culture.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 2:08PM
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I too agree with the others- as well, I believe the low light conditions would also interfere with the strenght of the oils in the leaves, resulting in weak flavors.

    Bookmark   October 23, 2013 at 9:55PM
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