Indoor Garden?

I’ve become quite accustomed to having fresh herbs at hand- it is so nice to be able to just go to the fridge, pull out some basil that you have grown, picked, washed, and stored, and use it- no more going to the store and paying exorbitant amounts for fresh herbs. I’m thinking about trying to grow them year round inside.

What all would it take? Could I just use one of those window planters and a grow lamp? Is that all I would need? What size lamp?






71 replies
  1. 1
    Betsy says:

    Disclaimer: I don’t know what I’m talking about.

    That said, when I was in college in RI, my roommate grew herbs on her window all winter long with no lamp needed.

  2. 2
    geg6 says:

    John, I grow my own basil, rosemary, mint, and cilantro year round. I have a window with a perfect southern exposure in a nook in my living room and I grow them on a console there. No grow lights needed. And they look nice and lend a sort air freshener to the room.

  3. 3
    StonyPillow says:

    In addition to the window planter and a gro-lamp, please also purchase and install several concealed CCTV cameras and a dedicated DVR to record the armed intrusion by law enforcement, and document the planting of “evidence”. Also put a good lawyer on retainer. You’ll need one.

    Better to just grow ’em outside.

  4. 4
    Mr. Lettuce says:

    If you don’t want to think about it, get an Aerogrow. It comes with everything you need. We have two, one for herbs and one for lettuce. We can pick herbs every day and lettuce every two or three days.

  5. 5
    steve s says:

    Q: I have two nice basil plants outside, about 2 ft tall. tons of leaves, anytime I want. But If i pick them and wash them and put them on a paper towel to dry, they shrivel up to nothing within hours. How does one go about preserving basil without drying it, which I think damages the taste too much?

  6. 6

    Uh-huh.

    We all love a little fresh herb.

  7. 7
    Fern says:

    Depends on how much sunlight you get in winter – where I live the days are too short to grow most herbs indoors in winter without additional lighting.

    And I would invest in the grow-lights etc – if the cats hadn’t eaten everything I have ever tried to grow indoors.

    Anyone have any suggestions for a set-up that would keep the cats out of the herbage?

  8. 8
    cleek says:

    i’ve got a basil plant on my kitchen table that i grew from some (live hydroponic) basil i picked up at Whole Foods. it’s been growing like mad for over a year. i have to water it 2x/week, though.

    no lamp needed – just a nice sunny window and lots of water.

    and rosemary is trivial to grow (at least here in NC). we bought a little 8″ plant a couple of years ago, stuck it in the ground next to the back porch. now, it’s 4′ tall and would happily take over the whole back yard if we let it. i just took the shrub trimmer to it last week and hauled 5 lbs of rosemary out to the curb – just so the rest of the shrubs could get some light, too…

  9. 9

    @steve s: Freezing works pretty good.

    John, you don’t need a grow light as long as you can get about 4-5 hours of sunlight on them. I do have a questions, though. Are they currently planted in the ground? If so, transplant them into pots in early fall to give them time to acclimate. Next spring they can remain in the pots which can then be set outside or planted, pot and all, in the ground. Dig them up, again pot and all, in the fall and slowly begin the moving process. As long as your herbs are under a covered (not enclosed, just a cover will work) porch they can remain outdoors until temps fall below about 30F. After that you risk losing them to frost damage. Moving them indoors to outdoors, or out to in should take about 1-2 weeks of slowly getting them acclimated to the new conditions.

    ONe thing to be careful of is the water you use. If your herbs only get rain water outside the chlorine in tap water can be hard on them until they get used to it once moved indoors. Filtered water helps ease the transition but is not absolutely necessary.

  10. 10
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @steve s: I’ve never had good luck with basil in the fridge (other spices, yes, but not basil) but I have used a couple of other tricks that worked for me.

    1 – a glass of water. Trim the stems a bit and put them into a glass of water. If you leave them long enough they’ll root and you can plant them (grin). If you have cats who like fresh herbs, however, this doesn’t last so well. (I’ve two. No more glasses of water.) In that case I recommend:

    2 – Freezing. Pop off the leaves as though you’re getting ready to use them, spread them on a cookie sheet, and freeze. Bag them, pull out what you need when you’re ready. Be aware that there are tricks to bagging that will control the things that lead to freezer burn.

    2a) If I’m doing a lot of freezing, I’ll pick up some dry ice and put it in the bottom of a cooler. I put a metal bowl into that, and drop the leaves into a metal bowl. CRISPY frozen leaves in a flash. This can lead to another freezer burn control trick – bag the leaves in the cooler so they’re bagged without oxygen.

    2b) Another freezer trick I use is to make a thick puree of the leaves (with a little water) in the blender. Pour into ice cube trays (half-full unless you always want a LOT of that herb) and freeze. The blocks are easier to store and maintain.

  11. 11
    Keith says:

    I do the same myself (well, minus the storing of fresh herbs, because fresh-picked is part of the point). Although I didn’t get to tilling my garden before spring this year, I still got a MONSTROUS overgrowth of mint anyway that makes the yard smell great.

  12. 12
    Rex says:

    Basil will not happily withstand temperatures lower than 55 degrees Fahrenheit for more than one or two nights and it is an annual so I wouldn’t recommend trying to dig it up and replant, etc. Just grow it in pots. In my experience, it has to germinate at above 70 degrees with moist soil. If you are growing it under lights and you don’t want to run high-wattage lights, then set your light timer to give 18 hours of light. You can find plant bulbs at Home Depot for little 18 inch flourescent fixtures.

    Cilantro is an annual and is an aggressive self-seeder. If you buy cilantro seeds, dump like 20 in a pot every two weeks and keep warm, moist and well-lit. If you don’t want to buy seeds, let a couple of your plants go to seed and you will have more than enough.

    Rosemary and mint will most likely thrive year round in your climate and can remain outdoors.

  13. 13
    Robertdsc-iphone says:

    In addition to the window planter and a gro-lamp, please also purchase and install several concealed CCTV cameras and a dedicated DVR to record the armed intrusion by law enforcement, and document the planting of “evidence”. Also put a good lawyer on retainer. You’ll need one.

    This was my first thought, too.

  14. 14
    Starfish says:

    John, you live in WV and I live in MD, so I am assuming that our climates are similar. Rosemary will not die here. You can plant some and leave it outside. Winter will not kill it.

    With the basil, we brought it in around October. The husband put it out too early in the spring and killed.

  15. 15
    Andy says:

    Based on the prior replies this probably won’t be an option, but I grow lettuce indoors in a basic ‘raft’ hydroponic setup. Search on Instructables for full details, but you basically float some type of basket on a sheet of Styrofoam in a shallow container with nutrient solution. The roots sit in the basket and are submerged in the nutrient solution. You only need fluorescent light for plants that don’t fruit or bloom (e.g. lettuce, basil).

    Grown it in the garden for a while, but the cleaning gets to be a chore. I’m fairly certain that is how most lettuce / spinach and probably some herbs are grown commercially.

  16. 16
    Cat G says:

    Find a couple of plants of small leafed basil that will grow in pots. They’re not as dramatic as the big leafed basils, but they are very pungent, and will grow in a window sill or under gro lights. For example at
    http://www.nicholsgardennurser.....W3V7V9A5EB

    Nichols Garden Nursery is a great source for unusual varieties in both seeds and plants. I’ve bought from them for years.

  17. 17

    There are small, fluorescent, full-spectrum bulbs that are good for one or two plants. We hang the light over the grow window, which also gets about 4 hours of sun every morning. This winter, we’re going to go with three lights over the same window, and 6 plants (herbs, especially basil, cilantro, and parsley). Some herbs, like dill, are a little more shade tolerant.

    Oh, and the light helps chase away the winter blues.

  18. 18
    John Cole says:

    @StonyPillow: Christ, I didn’t even think about that.

    I hate this stupid damned war on drugs. I can’t stand pot, have no desire to smoke it or grow it, but now I have to worry about assholes barging into my house because I want to grow basil and lavender and cilantro in my place.

    Seriously need to nip this shit in the bud.

  19. 19
    Svensker says:

    Lots of light, lots of sun (supplemented, if necessary). Rosemary is really easy to kill by underwatering, because you don’t realize it’s dying of thirst…until it’s dead. And what Grand Pan said about moving from indoors out and vice versa.

  20. 20
    gizmo says:

    I was at a backyard birthday party last night, and chilled slices of watermelon were served with flakes of mint sprinkled on them. Best taste experience I’ve had in years…. Wow !

  21. 21
    evie says:

    You don’t need a lamp if you have decent light. Put the herbs in a planter and stick it in front of a window. Keep moist. That’s it.

  22. 22
    DemonDem says:

    I’ll give my vote for the aerogarden for winter herbs – I love mine, and have discovered through trial and error that herbs are perhaps the best thing to grow in it (tomatoes did not work so well.)

    You can get them at Bed Bath and Beyond for about $85 when they go on sale. In addition to getting great fresh herbs in winter, you can put it anywhere in your house and not have to take up a whole window with it. If you have limited “sill space” like I do, that’s a big plus.

  23. 23
    Martin says:

    You do it like this.

  24. 24
    grumpy realist says:

    Basil–put in fridge in water like bouquet of flowers. I also would put individual leaves in a tray in fridge on top of a water-soaked paper towel, which seemed to work.

    Otherwise, if you’re going to use the basil in a sauce/pesto, make the pesto and freeze it. Supposedly works pretty well.

  25. 25
    geg6 says:

    I’m with evie. There’s nothing to it if you have a sunny or southern window. Keep moist and get the dwarf variety for things like basil that tend to get big. Easiest thing in the world. And I know my climate is the same as his. In fact, mine is probably a bit worse in winter being a baby step north.

  26. 26
    The Other Steve says:

    Tunch will appreciate this greatly!

    Be sure to keep plenty of paper towels on hand to clean up the puke. :-)

  27. 27
    John Cole says:

    I just pick my herbs, then wash them, then roll them up in dampened kitchen cloths (the kind you buy at the store for 10 for five bucks) and then put them in a big tupperware containter. They keep for up to two weeks and are perfectly fresh.

  28. 28
    Davebo says:

    Oddly enough, my outdoor herb garden grows great all winter long but is nearly impossible to keep alive through the summer heat waves.

  29. 29
    Parole Officer Burke says:

    @John Cole: You’re not fooling anyone, Mr. Cole. Since you have become a Dirty Fucking Hippie™®, it is obvious that you are an abuser of marijuana. Also.

  30. 30
    freelancer says:

    Yeah here’s a little experiment done to catch police illegally using IR cameras to find grow lights, lying on an affidavid to procure a search warrant, and performing an illegal raid.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHmP_KtmcB4

  31. 31

    I agree with Kirk and Rex– Thou shalt not refrigerate basil. Basil is a tropical plant; it grows year-round in places with tropical conditions. In places that grow cold, it’s an annual. Which means it sickens and dies in winter. When you refrigerate basil, you are putting it in “winter” conditions, and it will wither and sicken an die pretty fast.

    I blogged about this, sharing the wisdom I gained at a class at the local arboretum. The bouquet trick Kirk mentioned, storing at room temperature –with stems in water–does the trick.

  32. 32
    Tim F. says:

    The wife and I use an Aero-Garden home hydroponic system for our herbage. Although it is more expensive than a window pot, we harvest more than enough basil, mint, parsley and dill to keep up with our cooking needs.

    However, seeing as how it comes with its own bright, automatic grow-lights, we set it near the window so that cops don’t need one of those bogus drug warrants to see that the most risque thing we’re growing is mini jalepenos.

  33. 33
    par4 says:

    @John Cole: They watch for change in electrical usage.

  34. 34
    Keith says:

    The bouquet trick Kirk mentioned, storing at room temperature—with stems in water—does the trick.

    I did that with lemongrass, and it eventually regrew roots. I wound up planting it outside and had fresh lemongrass for a while (eventually got rot at the base, but it grew terrifically for a while)

  35. 35
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    john gets the munchies naturally

  36. 36

    Step 1: Get one of these.
    Step 2: Set it up.
    Step 3: Wonder WTF you’re going to do with all the basil.

    The light is great too, especially in the dead of winter.

  37. 37
    ACK says:

    I’ve grown basil both in a sunny window and (now) with an aero-garden (that I picked up reduced 75% for about 25 bucks). While I was able to do okay with the sunny window set up — the aero-garden is great. I am hooked. Much less fussing, much faster grow time and much more prolific.

  38. 38
    central texas says:

    For simplicity, I would second the Aerogarden. I live in Central Texas and have a greenhouse, but for things like basil that are both cold sensitive and sun-loving, the Aerogarden provides as much as I can use all winter long. FWIW, I use it for cilantro in the late spring when all of the cilantro outdoors is already well into flowering and seeding.

  39. 39
    AhabTRuler says:

    OK, everybody, calm down on the “the cops monitor my “electrical usage” crap, cause it’s a little hyperbolic and paranoid. Do you know how large a grow system you need to alert the utilities and LEO’s? We are talking attic filled with high-powered halogen lamp, not I got a couple of fluorescent lights on a timer?
    I mean, can you imagine how many aquarium keepers would be busted if even a medium sized setup earned a visit from the cops.

  40. 40
    shelley matheis says:

    Umm, all this talk about basil… Just read a recipe for a basil-mint granita that I’m gonna try. The mint’s growing like crazy this summer.

  41. 41
    steve s says:

    Have to agree somewhat with Ahab. I think it’s much more likely you’d be busted by cops illegally using IR devices than by them monitoring your power.

  42. 42
    Mike E says:

    Ch-ch-ch-chia!

  43. 43
    R-Jud says:

    I just spent most of today making different pestos with our herbs (currently eating a fajita with the cilantro pesto in it–yum). Also harvested about 1.5 lb of raspberries from the garden.

    Agree with everyone else that a lamp isn’t necessary to grow herbs. Try to keep your cilantro in a coolish place or it will go straight to seed as soon as it can, without giving you much leaf. The seed is nice if you toast and grind it– use in chilis, curries, middle eastern dishes.

    Basil is best watered from the bottom (e.g., pour the water into a saucer under the pot, let plant absorb water through the hole in the pot and up through the roots). Don’t water too often or the stems will become soggy.

  44. 44
    AhabTRuler says:

    I think it’s much more likely you’d be busted by cops illegally using IR

    Even then, they wouldn’t even notice a single, small bank of lights, whether halogen or HPS or VHO Fluorescent. Cops would be looking for entire rooms flooded with heat from multiple banks of hot, hot lights. I have observed aquarium lighting setups that would be sufficient for growing good number of plants, MJ or otherwise, with absolutely no realistic fear of police harassment by power usage or infrared emissions.

    And, as others have pointed out, you shouldn’t need a lamp to grow herbs, also.

  45. 45
    Bvac says:

    If you’re going to use a grow light try looking up “led grow lights” on eBay. They don’t create heat and produce only the part of the spectrum plants need. The blue ones make plants grow fast as fuck and the red ones make them flower faster, not sure what that does for herbs though.

  46. 46
    Eddyed says:

    While you are at it, grow fresh catnip for your Kitty!

  47. 47
    used to be disgusted says:

    I grow orchids and cyclamen all winter long under a 400 watt metal halide bulb in an unheated room. Metal halide is probably overkill for a windowsill full of herbs — but it would work!

    Definitely don’t bother with ordinary incandescent “grow lamps.” Fluorescents are better, because they produce more light and less heat. Normally basil likes heat, but when light levels are low, excess heat can cause herbs to produce soft, leggy, and relatively tasteless growth.

    And, as people have said, you don’t really need to worry about law enforcement at this scale.

  48. 48
    Gina says:

    @steve s: I take basil or cilantro and chop finely (not quite puree) with some olive oil in a food processor. Then, plop small dollops on a cookie sheet, freeze them, pop them off and store in freezer ziplocs. You could also put them in ice cube trays, but I prefer not to have to wash them (oil, green left on plastic, bleah).

    I’ve found that this really keeps the flavor, and is a definite mood booster come winter.

  49. 49
    Dennis-SGMM says:

    First, Cole complains about his allergies (Red eyes, perhaps?). Next, he wants advice on growing “herbs” indoors. I’ll give him this much, when he decided to sign on with the DFH’s he went all the way.

  50. 50
    AhabTRuler says:

    I grow orchids and cyclamen all winter long under a 400 watt metal halide bulb in an unheated room.

    Fixeteth.

  51. 51
    Gina says:

    @Andy: I have wanted to try this for a while now. Is there a particular tutorial you recommend, or would you be willing to post details as to your setup?

    I also have an added problem of the Feline Destructors. The old man cat in particular is pretty heavy into chomping any greenery he can get to. I’m thinking some sort of screened box setup might work…

  52. 52
    JK says:

    OT

    Megan McArdle Jumps the Shark and Compares Matt Taibbi to Sarah Palin

    What I think, sadly, is that Matt Taibbi is becoming the Sarah Palin of journalism. He seems to deliberately eschew understanding his subjects, because only corrupt, pointy-headed financial journalists who have been co-opted by the system do that. And Matt Taibbi is here to save you from those pointy headed elites… He grabs whoever’s nearest to hand and builds them up into a gigantic straw villian, which he proceeds to bash with a handful of recently acquired technical terms that he clearly doesn’t quite understand. The result is something that’s not even wrong. It’s just incoherent. Ignorance leads Taibbi to ask the wrong questions, and provide no useful answers… The more dangerous thing is that Taibbi makes a lot of people feel like they finally understand how they were conned… Just because Taibbi, or Sarah Palin, has a legitimate grievance, it does not follow that everything they say is thereby legitimate.

    h/t http://business.theatlantic.co.....lin_on.php

  53. 53

    From Garden.org‘s Herb Guide:

    Plant basil in fertile soil in a spot that gets direct sun for at least 6 hours per day. Pinch the tip from the center shoot of basil after it has grown for 6 weeks to force side growth and prevent early flowering. If flower stalks develop, simply snip them off.

    Basil needs a steady supply of moisture and warm soil temperatures to produce well, so you have to play a balancing act with mulch. In cool areas, delay mulching until the soil temperature has reached the mid-60s. Where summer really heats up and soil loses moisture quickly, you can add mulch sooner.

  54. 54
    Stacy says:

    I’m planing on setting up my old ten gallon aquarium with compact florescent lights for winter gardening. But it’s more of a necessity here in Minnesota, where short days, lack of humidity indoors, and window drafts are a problem.

    I’ve heard of people that grow tomatoes indoors being busted becaues of the electricity use, but I think most of the ones I read about were intentional setups to highlight problems with the drug war raids.

    I’ve never heard of aquarium owners being raided because of electricity usage. But there was a local incident where a gas company employee went into a house with a giant-ass saltwater aquarium, noticed that the owner had bottles of chemicals and found is suspect (because obviously, they couldn’t of possibly been for the giant-ass saltwater aquarium), and the guy, who I think was in his 70s or something, got raided by police in the middle of the night.

  55. 55
    ImJohnGalt says:

    According to Alton Brown in his show, Good Eats, you can wrap herbs in damp paper towels, and put them in a mason Jar filled 1/4 of the way with water, and screw on the lid.
    We’ve tried this to great effect.

    Man, this thing looks awesome too, but the designer’s website appears to be down for me.

  56. 56
    colleeniem says:

    This thread is so awesome! I just potted a couple more herbs in my window garden about 5 minutes ago. I’ve got coriander, rosemary, and parsley, to go with the basil I planted a couple of weeks ago to test the quality of my thumb. One word of advice re: the basil, especially if it can get full sun…keep it watered. It will start to shrivel in an afternoon if they get too thirsty. I just have pots I keep on my balcony, and will move them inside for winter.

    And since I went to the farmer’s market today, I have a recipe for all my goodies:

    Simple Summer salad:

    Watermelon, cubed
    cherry tomatoes
    feta cheese
    fresh basil
    drizzled w/balsamic vinagrette

    Serve w/spicy stuff, or for a yummy snack.

  57. 57
    techno says:

    When I was much younger, I built several grow rooms for the cultivation of “herb.” If that is what you need, you should be overjoyed to know that there is now actually good information on the Internet. But there are three absolute basics.

    1) If you aren’t interested in being cleaner than a surgeon, don’t grow indoors. No bugs, no mold, no nothing can enter your grow area.

    2) Control of the air in and out of your grow room is CRITICAL. You don’t want bad things to get in and you don’t want the smell to get out. Yet without circulation, your plants will be pretty pathetic.

    3) Don’t get greedy. A 400 watt high pressure sodium light source will grow all the “herb” you can possibly consume and the electric company won’t get suspicious.

  58. 58
    qwerty42 says:

    @Kirk Spencer:
    2b) Another freezer trick I use is to make a thick puree of the leaves (with a little water) in the blender. Pour into ice cube trays (half-full unless you always want a LOT of that herb) and freeze. The blocks are easier to store and maintain.

    My brother does that, but uses olive oil, then removes the cubes from the tray and stores in zip lock bags.

  59. 59
    Andy says:

    @Gina Here is what I based my setup on.

    I have two 8ish gallon plastic containers, sold for mixing concrete in. For each, I cut a rectangle of sheet styrofoam just smaller than the opening of the tub. Cut holes just smaller than a plastic cup (I used 3oz solo drinking cups) and set the cups in them. I made small holes in the bottom of the cups to let the solution in, and then planted the seeds in rockwool cubes (sold in hydroponic shops or online).

    I further added an aquarium bubbler to each tub to oxygenate the water. Three weeks after dropping the seeds in I have more lettuce than I know what to do with, and the best part is there is no daily maintenance. Just a timer for some florescent shop lights and you’re all set. HTH.

  60. 60
    gex says:

    @John Cole: You forgot to add “shoot my dog” to your list of worries related to using a grow light.

  61. 61
    David Wonk says:

    A wonderful herb to grow: There is such a thing as a curry plant. Add a handful of the crunchy leaves (the size/shape of rosemary) to any curry dish. Easy to grow, too.

    Catnip needs a lot of water.

    I can’t for the life of me stop my cilantro from going to seed after a month or two.

  62. 62
    used to be disgusted says:

    Cilantro just goes to seed. That’s how it rolls. Maybe it would be slower if you could keep it really cold — I don’t know. There are varieties that are supposed to be slower, but I find not much difference.

    Succession planting, in theory, is the solution. In practice, I find that the supermarket makes a pretty good solution.

  63. 63
    Evolutionary says:

    The only good way to preserve basil for the winter (and this is a very good way) is to take your favorite pesto recipe and make it with every thing but the cheese (and leave out the butter too if you like to add that) then freeze it in what ever container size you like. Sometimes i make pesto ” ice cubes” and sometimes 1/2pint plastic freezer containers. (Chunks can be carved off with a stiff implement, I use an old apple corer)

    During the dreary season thaw the amount you want for dinner by letting it sit at room temperature or floating it in a little glass or metal bowl on warm/hot tap water. (Don’t overheat it or it will taste funny, so I don’t recommend microwaving because you get hot spots of cooked taste not the fresh basil taste you want.)

    After it is thawed add grated regiano parmesan, plus a little butter and a few tablespoons of hot water you just cooked you pasta in and mix. Serve on homemade semolins pasts and you have heaven all winter long!

    You can use this as basil flavoring in any soup, sauce or whatever recipe you want also the olive oil keeps the basil flavor very well for at least a year.

  64. 64
    Fern says:

    Lazy woman’s guide to freezing herbs:

    1. Put a bunch of herbs in the bottom of a suitably-sized ziplock baggie (the kind sold for freezing). Don’t bother picking the leaves off the stems, unless the stems are very coarse or woody. Scrunch the bunch of herbs snugly in the bottom of the bag, roll up the bag, and seal it.

    2. When you want to use the herbs – take the bunch of herbs out of the baggie and, working quickly, cut thin slices of frozen whatever off the leafy end of the bunch. Pop the herbs back into the baggie and into the freezer.

    This works fine for things you will use in cooked dishes. It is particularly useful for Italian parsley, dill, and summer savory. Also works for thyme and oregano. Probably okay for cilantro and sage, though I have not tried it. Basil not so much.

  65. 65
    Jay S says:

    Cilantro is just another word for coriander.

    According to Wikipedia
    “Coriander seeds are used in brewing certain styles of beer, particularly some Belgian wheat beers. The coriander seeds are used with orange peel to add a citrus character.”

    Maybe you can set up an exchange with Tim F.

  66. 66
    Spot says:

    Don’t forget the muzzle for Tunch.

    Unless you can keep Tunch away from your herbs, it is probably a lost cause. Unless you spray them with deer repellant, but then you can’t eat them either.

  67. 67
    pseudonymous in nc says:

    I’m a fan of seasonality here. Plant basil outside in spring, get shitloads of basil in summer, replant if necessary — there’s a difference between the early and late harvests — freeze pesto into autumn, and do without until next spring, because that first crop will be all the more satisfying for being grown when the sun is bright.

    (Currently not growing basil, because I might be relocating soon, but I’ve got mint that was planted from uprooted stems, epazote, thyme, rosemary, two kinds of oregano, and a slightly sad-looking chervil in window-boxes right now.)

    The big thing with herb-growing outside a garden is knowing which are the classic southern Med kind that really suck up the sun, and the ones that cope better with mixed sun and shade. Plant them in separate pots.

  68. 68
    Evolutionary says:

    @pseudonymous in nc:
    Doing without pesto from Autumn until the next summers crop is not an acceptable option in the northern states!

  69. 69
    Kirk Spencer says:

    Some folk mentioned freezing in oil instead of water. There are advantages and disadvantages.

    Oil’s got two huge advantages. First, oil is more resistant to the process that leads to freezer burn. Functionally freezer burn is freeze drying, where water migrates from the frozen item. Due to the way the process works, however, water goes back and forth. As a consequence flavor is taken from the frozen item, and those funky odors are carried into it.

    Second advantage is that many of the flavor compounds are long-tailed. Long-tail flavor compounds are oil and/or alcohol soluble, not water soluble. This means the oil carried basil (in this case) is actually going to be a bit more intense than ‘just’ basil – or basil in water.

    The advantage of water is that you can strain off the water and lose little to none of the flavor compounds.

    If I want to make ‘fresh’ pesto (as opposed to the very good suggestions of freezing, above) or perhaps a basil soup, the oil cubes are not a good thing. If on the other hand I’m going to season a sauce the oil cubes are great. Me, I tend to toss my ice cube into a small glass of alcohol (wine usually, sometimes vodka depending on various other factors) and after it’s melted toss that into my mix if I’m wanting the flavor intensified.

  70. 70
    NutellaonToast says:

    @Fern: Surround them with a bit of chicken wire.

  71. 71
    patty gann says:

    you don’t need a grow light, just a sunny window. put the herbs that don’t need a lot of water like rosemary in a separate pot and the ones that love water like basil and parsley together. i’ve grown herbs that way for years. if you want to grow cilantro be aware that it bolts (turns to seed) quickly so you won’t get the return from cilantro as all the others.

Comments are closed.