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Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by craftynatalie, Jan 30, 2006.
How would I go about starting a small herb garden now? What will grow the best?:chef:
I love to cook with fresh herbs, about as much as I hate spending $2.99 - $5.99 for a small plastic box of fresh herbs from the store, that aren't always that "fresh"!
So, I bought a Klimagro. Actually I bought two Klimagros. I think the one in my Garden window in my kitchen is the Classic, and the big one in my back bedroom is the Majestic.
They have the following features:
1. Built in lights (not growlux bulbs, but special lights that closely mimic the real sunlight).
2. Build in adjustable timer for the lights
3. Sturdy metal and safety glass construction
4. Built in Humidity probe and humidity meter
5. Built in heating apparatus and adjustable temperature control
6. Uses ordinary dirt (we use organic potting soil)
7. Built in fan for air circulation
8. All glass top, front and back sides are fully slideable for easy access.
9. Optional adjustable height glass shelf for starters and hanging plants.
They're very beautiful, functional, reliable, and man, do the herbs grow like crazy. I keep the light timer at 18 hours so the herbs don't fruit (unless I want them too, then I change the timer to 12 hours).
I own no stock or other interest in Klimagro, but I met the owner and he is a very helpful, courteous, and knowledgeable fellow who has devoted his life to this product.
Thanks craftynatalie for starting this thread.
Deltadoc, thanks for showing us what must be the Rolls Royce.
Anybody have experience building go-carts?
I suppose I would be the other end of the spectrum. Nearly a complete newbie with marginal results. But I'll share my (in)experience as it is
So far I've only grown a few herbs indoors. The plants were just varieties bought from my grocery store. I've planted Basil, flat leaf parsley, rosemary, oregano, chives and thyme.
All I've done is plant them in containers (indoors).
Some mistakes that I've made is letting my basil grow too large. It would not only get to the point where it was pot bound (in a large pot) but also where it was growing much too high. At that point it would start to blossom at the top. The plant was also getting rather thick and "woody".
After ruining my first basil plant, I decided to keep it better pruned. Pruning the plant more regularly seemed to help. But I'd also like to know any secrets that there may be to keeping a healthy basil plant.
The rosemary also got to be quite thick. I'm not sure what the proper procedure is for the rosemary. But...I've gotten alot of good rosemary off of the plant before it had gotten to the extreme woody point. I have since bought another plant and replanted a small one. Until I figure out the secrets...this is what I'll end up doing.
I have since bought some seeds, which I'm getting ready to plant in a seed starter kit. My plans are to grow the plants in the starter kit until they could be planted in a small pot. Come spring I'll move the potted plants outside in the landscaping...maybe planting a few in the ground.
I wish I could help more...but my results, thus far, have been mediocre.
gonefishin - Thanks for the information. I think we are at similar levels of experience. My basil plants have lasted several months indoors on a window sill with 3 hrs. of direct sunlight (about half the light they say is optimal). As a result they grew taller (less bushy) than would be healthful for the root structure or the leaf area. I've had similar limited success with parsley and cilantro.
Like you, I found it helped to pinch back the tops to encourage lower branches and as the plant matured, prevent flower and seed development. If the flower fully develops it's history.
Just because the basil plant died doesn't mean we ruined it or have a black thumb. These are annuals whose destiny is to live one season, produce seeds and be regenerated next spring. The most we can hope for is to maximize the harvest during their season. Even if you buy fairly mature plants, the most expensive way to go, you'll surely harvest enough herb to make it less expensive than the grocery store.
Can you give us any more details on your rosemary experience? Rosemary and laurel were two additions I planned.
Thyme and oregano have been a bust for me - lack of light I think, which seems to be the major constraint of all indoor herbs. I'm hopeful the solution is as simple as a florescent light fixture. Again, if you're reading this, and have experience, please share it.
Like gonefishin, soon I'll plant seeds. I'm going to try starting them in egg containers. Expert lurkers, if that idea is fatally flawed, after you stop laughing please post a warning.
Craftynatalie - stick with us. You started this after all.
I'm here, I'm here,
Thanks for all your input everyone. I have decided to just buy a couple small plants and give them a go. But is there any special way you should pick or cut the herbs you arge going to use. Do they then grow back or once you use it all it's gone!
Rather than writing another "I'm no expert but..." post here are some helpful links:
Growing Herbs in the Home Garden
Growing Herbs Indoors
Seeding is Believing!
Gardening Newsletter Growing Herbs Indoors
I encourage you browse thru the existing threads in this forum. There are several that answer your questions. No more than one-third of the plant should be harvested at a time. There are perennial (come back), biennial, and annual (die after the first year) herbs. What herbs do you like to cook with?
Quite honestly, I am just starting to cook with fresh herbs and it kills me to buy the bunches at the grocery, a.) because they are not cheap, b.) because it seems that they tend to go to waste if I don't use them all which I normally don't and finally c.) if you notice my signature my family is not condusive to the type of meals I want to prepare so I am usually just making these for myself. Little boys are so picky!
But I do love
I think I like just about every other herb, but have never personally cooked with them myself.
I am a beginning home chef - yeah I have been cooking for my family for 10 years but I have a new intrest in more gourmet type meals. I have started taking cooking classes through "Cooking witt the Best Chefs" which is helping me to come out of the box by encouraging me to try lots of new dishes.
My Rosemary in my Klimagro grows like a bush! So, and you can do this with many herbs, even the ones from the store, is to add a little white sugar to a glass of water, and stick a main stem from your herb plant. Set it by the window and change the water every week. This way, you can trim back your main plant so as to help keep it from flowering, and also, not have to waste the herbs that you cut to keep the main plant trimmed.
You can also hang these stems in a dry area and let them dehydrate naturally, and then when they are totally dry, you can keep them in an airtight bottle like regular dried herbs. Frankly, I invested in a 1000 watt dehydrator and buy many fresh herbs during the summer, that I don't have room to grow myself all year long. I only grow the ones I use regularly in my Klimagro's, like the rosemary, basil, aloe vera, oregano, thyme, and french tarragon. Ah, fresh basil picked right from my own plant! Nothing like it!
Please browse this forum because it has been discussed in previous posts.
Thanks for all the info I've been seeing on various threads, and thanks to others as well. Looking into a Klima-Gro for my wife, actually.
Tell me about your experiences with dehydrating fruits, especially strawberries.
I know you were not talking to me, but I have a Harvest Maid dehydrater and it works so very well. Had it for 23 years. Try drying sweet apples in it and putting them in the kitchen whizzer so they go to powder. Good sugar substitute.
Chef Mike, please feel free to start a separate thread in the Food & Cooking Questions and Discussion Forum regarding dehydrators.
I am looking at growing indoors on a commercail scale, but the same company that has the tech that I am interested in has a unit that is about the same size as the one in the above link though I believe that it is quite a bit more efficient, they call it the Volksgarden seen at www.omegagarden.com
The egg box idea is a good one. You may be interested in an even cuter idea. I have raised many seeds by using the egg shell itself, which goes back into the egg carton for support and easy watering, moistening.
Save your shells as you use the eggs, and peel the inner membrane out while it is still moist. Much easier. Fill shell with appropriate medium and plant seeds in shell. Return to egg container. When it time to plant out just crush shell gently, and plant the whole thing, shell and all. Removal of the inner membrane gives the porous shell good moisture management properties, and makes it easier to crush at planting time. The crushing of the shell, if done gently will not disturb flegling roots, and they can more easily spread when planted. I hope this is of interest to you.