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3.5 Growing herbs indoors.

> I love cooking with fresh herbs so I tried growing my own. I planted basil, chives, dill, and parsley in June. The chives are doing fine.

From: Catherine A Hensley <hensley.lims1.lanl.gov>
I have bad news. The chives will eventually begin to look sickly, because they will become root-bound and they will also be expecting a cool spell. When this happens, remove them from the pot, break off a chunk of plant and roots, and move these to a new pot. Then put them in the refrigerator for a week or two, and then back out on the window sill.

> The basil is OK; however, it is not growing as tall and thick as I had imagined. I suspect that it needs more sunlight.

Basil that needs more light tends to get leggy--long spindly growth and few leaves. Is that the problem? Another possiblility is that the basil is root-bound. How large is the pot, compared to how large the
plant is? If the pot is in danger of falling over from the weight of the plant, or if the plant is dropping leaves, move the whole thing to a larger pot.

> My parsley looks like it is dying a slow death. It is not really growing, and the leaves near the bottom have yellowed and sort of mushed into the soil! Did I overwater? Is it the temperature? I keep the AC on.

Parsley in the soil grows a long tap root, like a carrot (same family). In a shallow pot, it can't do that, so the root splits into many thinner roots and go around and around the pot until it runs out of soil. Yup, root-bound again. Next time try to find a narrow but deep pot.

> My dill looks about the same as the parsley. I know I should not have planted it in the summer. It went to seed almost immediately. Should I throw it out? Is there anything I can do?

Going to seed immediately is a sign of stress, although I don't know if dill usually has a tap root too. Anyway, as an annual herb, it's now past its prime and can't be made to get young again. <g>

> Should I not be growing these herbs inside? Are there any herbs or peppers that are good to grow indoors? If so, what are they, and when should I plant them? I am especially interested in cilantro, mint, and jalapeno peppers.

In spite of its problems, many people grow parsley inside, so that's okay. Dill grows to about 3 ft, so that is probably not a good choice. Basil is good, but it is an annual, so expect to sow some more as the seasons pass. I grow rosemary inside successfully, but before I gained some experience I killed three in three years. Peppers can be grown inside, but they like bright light, and in order to have fruit the flowers must be hand-pollinated (not as hard as it sounds, sometimes you can just thump the flowers with your fingertip to encourage self-pollinating). I also grow lemon-scented geranium and ginger inside over the winter, although they live outside during the summer.



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