PLEASE help! What is this fungus in my herbs?!

cfox248(3)October 6, 2013

Everybody says herbs are easy to grow. I've got a pretty good green thumb but I am having issue after issue of herbs - and it's autumn, so I can't keep replacing the ones I kill off because the local garden center stopped ordering more!

So over the summer I planted a herb box. A big old wooden peaches box with basil, rosemary, another basil species, chives, oregano. Cilantro was in there briefly. And it THRIVED. All summer it just grew and grew and I had so many herbs.

Now that it's autumn and I've moved back up to school, they're on a sunny windowsill... And they all start to wither and die! So I get to investigating and discover 1) a NASTY spider mite infestation. Oh great - I just fought those off my mint, now these?! Time to get some Mite-X. and 2) a strange white fungus like thing! It's growing on the leaves that have fallen off my plants, and the underside of the chives (which are in very poor health).

Attached is a picture. I have a new container ready to plant them into with fresh soil (the wood box is getting cracks) and I plan to root and wash the plants before replanting. But what is this white fungus, and how do I manage it? I'm going to wait to transplant till I get some input.

Also - I don't have quite enough dirt for the new container. Can I use some of the dirt from the current container if I bake it to kill any fungus/mites inside it and mix it in with the fresh soil?

Thanks for any help you can give me!

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florauk(8/9)

Sorry to say this but there is nothing in your picture worth spending any more time or money on. Everything there is dead or dying and unsavable.

Firstly, the mix of herbs you had in your box contains both annuals and perennials so some are doomed to die anyway in autumn. Basil and cilantro will die completely. Chives will die down to their roots and regrow in the spring. Rosemary is a perennial shrub.

Secondly, you have them indoors now which is not conducive to happy herbs in the long term.

If the rosemary is still alive (it's not in the picture so I can't tell) I would repot it in a container of its own and search some of the threads here on keeping rosemary alive in the winter.

If upon investigation the chive roots are still alive they could be potted individually or just planted in the garden back at home and they may come back for you next spring.

The basil and cilantro are goners.

If you ever use a wooden box again line it with plastic and make sure it has drainage holes. But wooden boxes are not good long term planters unless painted with a preservative. Even then it is best to use them just as a cache pot rather than plant direct into them.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 5:10AM
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cfox248(3)

Yeah, I read up a bit on annual and perennial herbs. I'll have to change it up next year and only keep the perennials in the box. I bought a brand new healthy plant of Rosemary and one of Sage that got planted into their own containers. The old herbs were rooted and washed, and are also planted in their own. (Mostly half gallon milk jug bottoms.) They fit into the new box while being in their own container so I can take them out if need be.

I figure the annuals will die, like the basil, so I'm just going to try to use it up. The Oregano is the one I'm going to try to keep alive - I use it much more than I do the others.

I planted everything in new soil. I'm running to get some mite spray today to kill whatever is remaining on them (I haven't seen any since I transplanted, but I bet there's still some on there). The Rosemary, Sage and Oregano are the ones I hope to make it through the winter. Hopefully them being inside won't BE long term, but we all know how nasty MN winters can be. I guess I'll remain hopeful and be vigilant against the mites and see what happens.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 10:17AM
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CA Kate

Have you tried watering the soil with Camomile Tea? I'd throw the old soil and then water the transplants with the Tea and hope that takes care of it.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 7:14PM
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florauk(8/9)

A view of the whole box would help but I see nothing in the photo which would respond to chamomile or any other potion.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 1:48PM
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river_city(7b)

cfox248 - A trick I use for overwintering herbs that are zoned higher than where I live, is to plant them beside the house, next to my foundation vents. There's enough heat leakage there to keep some pretty interesting plants alive here.

This post was edited by river_city on Tue, Oct 8, 13 at 19:49

    Bookmark   October 8, 2013 at 7:48PM
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