I'd like to grow basil, parsley and scallions indoors. Is this possible? I'm not a green thumb but love fresh herbs and of course paying 21.00 for a kilo of basil.
Any help is appreciated.
Sure, you can. Growing herbs indoors is relatively simple.
We've had several disucssions about this on the Chef's Garden forum. Best bet would be to go check those out, and then if you have additional questions we'll be glad to answer them.
The herbs are ready, Kirsten, whenever they have leaves. Obviously, the longer you let them grow the more leaves you'll have, and the larger (in general) individual leaves will be.
Cilantro is a cool weather plant, however, and won't do as well as the basil, indoors, unless you have a cool area to keep it in. Both plants benefit from being pinched off, as that promotes bushiness.
The cilantro is probably trying to bolt because of the heat, Kirsten. Think of it as being a hardy plant, like lettuce, spinache, arugula, etc. You might be able to grow some new in the fall, but it's more often grown as a spring plant.
As to aroma, most herbs do not give off their aromas until they are touched. Witn some, just brushing them will do it, with others you actually have to crush the leaves to release their essential oils, and, thus, their small.
Try it with your basil. Actually plant your nose right into the leaves and sniff. Then crush a leaf and smell it. You'll immediately note the difference.
EJ, house-grown herbs, like any other plants, need to be hardened off before transferring outdoors. Reason yours died was because of the sudden shock of bein sun and wind.
It's like when you're first exposed to the summer sun. Do it in stages and you're fine. Do it all at once and you'll have a miserable burn.
Supplemental lighting will have no effect on the plant's ability to adapt to the outdoors, dcarch. All it does is help assure good, strong plants.
Most of the time, especially during the winter months, supplemental lighting is necessary for good plant growth. Otherwise you get spindly, weak plants, often with stems unable to support their own weight.
But you want to use flourescent lighting, not incandescent.
Again, let me recommend that anyone interested go over to The Chef's Garden forum and look at the several threads we've had on this subject. No sense repeating what's already to be found there.
They may slow down in the chill, but they won't stop growing entirely.
If it really gets too cold you can get plant heat mats that will help. These are usually used for seed starting purposes, but no reason they won't work with your herbs.
Alternatively, get a foam cooler and rig a socket so you can keep a lightbulb (regular incandescent) of a bout 15-20 watts burning. Rest a tray over the top of it and put your herb containers on it. That'll provide all the warmth they need.
Scallions can be grown like any other indoor plant, except the container needs to be deeper. You want at least four inches under the bulb (six would be better), and it should be buried to the point where the tip barely breaks the ground.
For growing things like scallions, radishes, greens, etc. indoors I use an oversized window box as the container, and put it in my grow stand under a bank of flourescents.
That's a whole different class of things, though.
For instance, the light requirements are different. Herbs, because we are growing them for the foliage, do not need a lot of red-spectrum light. But ripening fruit does. So that's where the grow-lights come into play for most people attempting it---particularly in the off-season.
Are you growing types other than cherries?
Sorry, it was hard to tell, even with Carolyn's book in the lower pix.
Have you seen Amy Goldman's new one? If so, what'd ya think?