Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Should You Transplant or Sow Seeds?

Should You Transplant Herbs or Sow Seeds?
If you want a faster harvest choose small plants rather than sowing seeds. I usually purchase seeds and start my own plants in containers rather than buying live plants to transplant. 

Most seeds germinate within 5 days. Before you know it, you have a lovely row of seedlings reaching for the son. Starting seeds at home is easy. You're just needing a warm well lit space to do so. 

Growing plants from seed is cost efficient and there is usually a better variety of seeds to choose from at stores and nurseries than live plants. It's fun to grow seeds indoors and within a month, you have a plant ready to be transplanted outside or re-potted into a larger container. 

Live plants are convenient. You'll get a head start on your growing season because, nurseries start seeds months before the actual planting season. 

Purchasing live plants also give you a bit of an idea of what the plant will look like at maturity and how much space it will take up in your garden plot.


If you have patience, give growing your own plants from seed a try. 

There's a benefit of purchasing plants or seeds from brick and mortar retailers as like Lowe’s, Walmart or Home Depot verses purchasing from online auctions is that stores often guarantee plants and seeds. 

Before making a purchase, be sure to consult your store’s purchase policy just in case your plants die after a few weeks of transplanting them. I recommend holding onto both your store receipt and container. Most retailers don't want the actual plant returned to them. Home Depot and Lowes are are very considerate to backyard gardeners. Their garden centers usually lead to bigger sales inside the stores. If you going to plant simple seeds.. you're going to need tools, right? 

Seeds are available and cost from a few cents to a couple of dollars. I've found 20¢ seeds at Walgreen's in their garden aisle and at Walmart in their garden section located at the end of aisles. There's a seed company called American Seed Co. that are well known for their quality heirloom seeds which are the 20¢ found at Walgreen's or Walmart seasonally.



I've never understood why retailers located in America's sunbelt don't carry seeds all year round. As you and I both know, we can pretty much grow seeds throughout the entire year with an exception to a few months. January and February are my garden prep months and I grow seeds indoors for Spring planting. I've actually sent letters and ask store managers to stock seeds all year long. They usually tell me that their isn't a demand for them. Okie Dokie. Radish, lettuce, cabbage and some root vegetables can be grown indoors all year long. 

Remember, the larger the plant the more expensive it is. Did you know that plants and seeds can also be ordered by the store’s manager or customer service? If you're looking for a particular of variety of live plant or seeds, just ask. You may just get it.  if not, you can order via postal mail or internet. Many times you can avoid the cost of shipping by asking your local nursery or garden center to order it for you. The next time they place an order from their supplier, it's put on the truck and they'll give you a call for pick-up.




You can also ask your local grocery store, hardware or pharmacy to keep a stock of vegetable seeds. Grocery and pharmacy stores actually like to keep a little hardware and garden section within their store as a convenience to their shoppers. Plus it's often an impulse item which is a money maker for the stores. Win-Win 

Vegetable seeds are considered edible and can also be purchased with food assistance programs as like WIC Program (Women Infant Children), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) and EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer). I learned that live fish can also be purchased with most of these programs. 

*Remember, if you purchase heirloom plants or seeds, you can collect and save seeds for a few years. Visit my vegetable page for more information on how long you can actually store seeds before the germination ratio begins to fall. 

There are many factors in deciding if you choose live plants over seeds. Consider if convenience, cost efficiency or time is important to you and you'll have your decision on whether you should transplant or sow seeds. 

Happy Gardening!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

How To Use Eggshells In Your Vegetable Garden - Calcium Supplement For Your Plants and Soil


Calcium From Eggshells Supplies Well Needed Minerals to Your Vegetable Plants

Maximize the use of the everyday eggshell that’s usually thrown away in the trash. The amazing calcium rich eggshells can really help produce some really big, healthy and high producing plants as like tomatoes and peppers who thrive on calcium. 


Mary, Mary How Does Your Garden Grow? 
With Eggshells of course!

If you grow vegetables in a container garden and use egg shells, you’re going to be wowed at the fertilizing benefits of eggshells mixed into your soil. If you want to save a lot of money on buying calcium additives to add to your garden soil, you're going to love using eggshells. If you want beautiful looking tomatoes, you're going to absolutely keep using eggshells in your garden routine!




Why Use Eggshells?
Eggshells have a lot of calcium in them. They're an unused and unapprecaited souce of calcium. Crushed or pumelled eggshells will greatly increase the calcium level in your soil which will be used by your plants as plant food. All plants particularly fruiting and vegetable plants need minerals for health benefits. Some plants need more calcium than others. Healthy plants produce better tasting vegetables and fruit.They're stems and leaves will be stronger. Plants will live longer and they'll look better too. 

The reason why calcium is important to your vegetable plants is because, calcium helps with a plant's cell wall structer and aids in building a stronger immune so that a plant can defend itself against disease and common plant ailments.


These plants benefit greatly from adding minerals as like calcium to your garden soil: apples, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cherries, citrus, conifers, cotton, curcurbits, melons, grapes, legumes, lettuce, peaches, peanuts, pears, peppers, potatoes, tobacco, and tomatoes.




I used to take eggshells for granted too until I decided to try using them in my tomato beds. I dreaded having to clean, crush and save eggshells. The worst was having to actually remember to take them outside and use them.

After a month of using finely crushed eggshells in my tomato gardens, I was absolutely amazed and convinced that my plants were healthier and green. Besides looking healthier, my plants lived longer. I was able to a get a hardy bumper crop from plants that originally looked like they were diseased.


Eggcellent Calcium Supplement For Your Tomatoes!

Using eggshells is easy. I rinse my eggshells and place them on a paper towel to dry. Once they’re dry, I crush them with a mortar. I try to pulverize them into a powder.

I recommend keeping a separate bowl, basket, mason jar, Rubbermaid container or what have you just for storing your eggshells. I make a salt sash out of an unused tea bag. Simply remove staple on tea bag, remove dried tea and add salt. Re-staple teabag.



Eggshells can be dried in the sun, oven or air dried. 


You can crush them into small or medium bits but, I find a powder consistency much more effective. 

The point is not to put hole eggshells directly into your garden.



You can toss eggshells hole into your compost bin, but not onto or into your garden soil. It’s more beneficial to crumple the shells first. The calcium in the eggshells slowly dissolve into your soil. By breaking up the shells, it helps to release the calcium much quicker. 




I promise you that crushed eggshells will make a complete difference in your vegetable and flower gardens. You’re going to toss them out anyway, so why not give them a try? 

I know.. . you don’t want the hassle of cleaning, crushing and saving your shells for your garden. Once you see that the calcium from your eggshells actually improves your vegetable garden soil and plants, you’ll want to continue using eggshells to amend your soil.




Calcium is important in growing healthy and great looking tomatoes. Tomato plants that are low in calcium are prone to bottom rot and other diseases.
Have you ever noticed that some of your tomato plants are a bit yellow? That may mean that your plants are lacking nutrition. To prevent this, add crushed eggshells to the soil. Don’t add whole eggshells. They just take too long to break down into the soil, may attract unwanted pests or cause soil rot. 

Eggshells release calcium slowly over time. You won’t see an immediate effect. It'll take about a month. That’s why the smaller you crush your eggshells, the faster they calcium will be released into your soil.


You can use a blender, knife, hands or even a mortar. Wet eggshells may cause mold in your soil.

Mix the crushed eggshells in your garden soil or potting soil. Apply eggshells in the Spring and throughout Summer.

Master gardeners don’t recommend using eggshells during the Autumn or Winter months in cold prone areas because, most plants go dormant and you can actually apply too much calcium for when the plants awake the following Spring.




If you reside in the Sunbelt in the southern states and grow vegetables all year long, it’s fine to use crushed eggshells as a calcium supplement to amend your soil.



Another idea for using eggshells for gardening is using the eggshell halves as seed starter pots. Seedlings are also cute sitting in the half shells. Be sure to save the egg crate container to hold the shells.

Be sure to poke a small hole into the bottom of the eggshell with a needle or nail so you’ll have proper water drainage. This will allow water to flow through the shell without losing any soil.

Using eggshells for its calcium benefits and using them to start seedlings is a good re-purposing idea that it’s as green as you’re going to get.

Did you know that eggshells also make great worm food? If you’re trying to attract more red worms to your garden plots, or have a worm compost bin, put crushed eggshells in your worm binds or directly into your garden bed. Remember, always used dry eggshell.


Oyster shells have also been used for a lot of years as a calcium supplement in garden soil. Ground oyster shells are also used in the vitamin industry as an over the counter calcium supplement.

Calcium pills can also be ground up and mixed into soil. 

You can also buy calcium fortified products at your local nursery that will work much quicker and have a higher calcium content. These products come in liquid form, powder, sprays, granules and even sticks. Try to find a product that is plant based (algae). 

I should also mention that besides using eggshell to add calcium to my garden soil, I also use a product called Vigoro Tomato and Vegetable Plant Food Plus Calcium from Home Depot. It works great. My neighbor uses a different product by Miracle Grow called Shake and Feed. It seems to work well too. 

Almost all nurseries and garden centers at the big retailers carry calcium fertilizers.


If you think using eggshells in your vegetable gardens and flower beds is odd, well it’s not. Folks have been using eggshells on their farms or in their backyard gardens for years and years. It’s not a new discovery at all.





And the next time you see a chicken, thank it for your great tasting tomatoes! 

Friday, July 25, 2014

How to Make Homemade Authentic Italian Tomato Sauce - Best Spaghetti Sauce Ever!

So your wonderful tomato plants are finally producing tomatoes and you'd like to make some tomato sauce. Listed below is an instructional video that I think is perfect in all ways. The Youtube video will show you how to make tomato sauce from start to finish. It's a great video for folks who have a lot of tomatoes to try to get rid of. 

Tomato sauce should be simple with just a few ingredients. The more ingredients you put into your spaghetti sauce, it can actually taste bitter or blah. Tomatoes should be the highlight of the sauce, not the layer after layer of ingredients that most people put into a rague. 

Pasquale Sciarappa shares his love of food and cooking with the world.
You're going to love this man. 

Pasquale Sciarappa is a Youtube.com sensation from Long Branch, New Jersey. He's the real deal when it comes to making the old authentic fresh Italian food. He's originally from Orsara, Orsara di Puglia in southern Italy. 



Be sure to check out Pasquale's Youtube channel: Osara Recipes. His stories about his life experiences and his family recipes are absolutely wonderful. I'll have to admit, when he speaks of his family and growing up in Italy, it most of the time makes me laugh but can also bring a tear of nostalgia to my eye.  

He's going make your day brighter and you ever the bit wiser. 


Follow Pasquale Sciarappa's method on how to use your very own backyard summer tomatoes for a wonderful and easy spaghetti sauce. It's authentic Italian cooking made easy. 

This recipe is also great for folks who like to can or those homesteaders who preserve food on a bigger scale.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

How to Store Fresh Herbs in Your Refrigerator - They'll Stay Fresher Longer!



A Fresh Garden Right In Your Refrigerator!

I hate it when I've bought fresh herbs and they wilted before I was able to use them. There’s nothing worse than putting out good money for pricey herbs and they turn into a black soggy wilt of a mess.
Here’s how to keep herbs fresh without having to buy special refrigerator produce bags as seen on TV or particular containers that burp when your press them but, take up too much room in your kitchen.
Fresh herbs are what make a dish pop and taste fantastic. Here’s a simple guide on how to save fresh cut herbs. It’ no fuss and you’re going to save money

How to Keep herbs such as basil, cilantro or parsley fresh for up to 10 days:
1. Pick off any leaves around the base of the stem leaving about an inch.
2. Using a sharp knife or scissor, cut the ends of the stems off. Make sure that it is a strait cut and not jagged. All the stems should be about the same length. Cutting the stems will allow the stems to absorb water just like a cut rose.
3. Place the herbs in a good weighted cup like a coffee mug so that it won’t tip over in the refrigerator.
4. Fill the coffee cup with only one inch of water. Make sure that there are no leaves touching the water.

5. Put a produce bag loosely over the entire thing and keep it in the refrigerator. The bag will keep moister and excessive cold from effecting the leaves. 
6. Occasionally check water level.
Herbs make a wonderful hostess gift for a dinner party or house warming gift. Small vases or pretty coffee mugs make the best containers. 

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weed Killers Safe For Dogs, Cats and Chupacabras! Safe Herbicides



Keep Your Pets Safe!

Use Only Pet and Human Friendly Herbicides to

 Kill Those Persistent Weeds


My definition of a weed is any plant that is invasive (dandelion, crab grass, sand and grass burs, etc.)

If you’re a pet owner, you’re going to have to ask yourself at some point is how important is it having a completely weed-free lawn?

If you don't mind a few stray dandelions or a mallow patch here or there, you may not even need to spray for weeds. Good old fashion elbow grease may do the trick. If you are persistent about pulling or mowing weeds, they eventually stop growing or at least decrease in population.

If you have a typical yard and not a high maintenance ‘show yard’, you may be able to keep weeds at bay just pulling them out of the lawn and placing mulch in your plants beds to prevent future weeds from growing.

There are those low growing weeds that are a pain to pull and you just need a bit of help to get rid of them. For me, the worst are sand burs and thistle.



Gardeners Who Won't Pull Weeds

So, you absolutely hate pulling weeds, you have animals and you want an alternative to getting on your knees and giving the ol’ heave hoe. I would first recommend a good dousing of boiling water or full strength vinegar. Both will kill most weeds.

The only downfall to using boiling hot water and vinegar is that it can also kill desirable grass and flowers growing around the weed. Some people will add a bit of dish soap to the boiling water or vinegar so that it will be a bit thicker and not spread as much. I really don't think it works.


Get an old coffee pot or pitcher from Salvation Army or your local thrift store
 to use only for gardening.

Always be very careful while pouring the boiling hot water and what type of vessel you’re using. I recommend a pitcher or a pan with a lip on it so you’ll have better aim. I have an old aluminum pitcher from the 40’s that I use. Any good spray bottle will work with vinegar. 

If your lawn has a lot of tough weeds like ones with burs or needles that are damaging when stepped on, you may have to use a herbicides even if your anti chemical. Some weeds are so invasive that they can wipe out a lawn and next a community. 

Junk bird seed bought at discount stores are known to have invasive weeds like musk thistle, cockle burrs or what have you. Always read the labels of bird seed and know your plants; otherwise, you and your neighbors will regret buying cheap bird seed.

Herbicides are considered man made chemicals that will aggressively kill weeds.

I recommend spot treating weeds with the non-selective herbicide glyphosate (Roundup or Milestone). Non-selective in the weed killing industry means that it will kill a variety of weeds. 


Besides using a spray bottle to administer weed killer, you can also use a  paint sponge, spoon, syringe or straw. Always wear gloves. Don't let your skin come into contact with chemical herbicides.


Be sure to aim carefully and you should be good to go. Spray the bottle first against a wall or something so, you can get a good idea of how the stream will come out.

Whether you use boiling hot water, vinegar or a herbicide, be sure to pull the weed after its dead just in case it has seed pods on which will eventually replant itself. I always pull the weed, discard it and drench the ground a bit.



When To Apply Weed Killer Spray?

 Spray plants during the hottest part of the day or when the sun is high in the sky for maximum results.

It's a really good idea to keep your kids and pets away while treating weeds. Both are curious creatures and most likely will want to see what you were up to. 



Read the Labels and Know How To Spray

*Always remember that chemicals as like Roundup are easy to use but, those chemicals will also kill grass, flowers and can damage trees and shrubs through their roots. 

Most trees and shrubs have rooting systems that sprawl out, away from the actual tree or shrub. Be aware of where those root systems grow because, they can be damaged just like a weed. Always use weed killers with caution. 

If you use herbicides right, they are extremely effective, save you time and a backache. You'll want to keep at least one bottle of a good herbicide product in your garden shed.

Most people don’t like pulling weeds because, it really is back breaking work. We all usually forget the proper way to bend or reach in order to avoid injuries. I keep a bottle of herbicide on hand mainly for reoccurring thistle. I hate thistle. I have a bottle of Milestone and Roundup in my garden shed. Both are good products.



Have A Good Aim

Be Careful When Spraying Chemicals!

Here's an example of why you should know how to properly use weed killers. My new neighbor had used a harmful brand of weed killer on our fence line to kill weeds on her side. I think it contained alot of ammonia or something. She thought you just aim and shoot. Boy was she wrong. She over sprayed the entire area which bled into my yard. It pays to read the labels.

Not only did my lovely neighbor kill the crab grass and other weeds but, she also killed the beautiful heirloom rose bushes (Baron Girod de L'Ain) that had been growing there for years and she killed my St. Augustine grass that was growing on the other side of her fence. It’s been one year and I still have trouble with the grass not re-growing like it did.



How Herbicides Work

According to researchers, glyphosate doesn't stay in the soil. It evaporates and dissipates when watered but, it will stay in the plant. I recommend keeping your pets out of the sprayed area until the foliage completely dries. Then pick the weed up the next day and toss it waste bin. As long as the dogs avoid exposure to the liquid itself, they're safe.

I don’t recommend tossing weeds affected by chemicals into your compost or green waste. You just never know what it will do. Unless I’m pressed for time, I don’t mind pulling weeds. Gardening is also a form of exercise, relaxation and stress relief for me. I like to reward myself with a lovely cocktail after a day of pulling weeds.


Types of Weed Killers - Herbicides

I have noticed after time of having a regular practice of pulling weeds that they eventually de-populate .. . that's until the California Santa Ana winds decide to blow the next batch of weeds seeds onto my property.
Safe organic herbicides are now called “Sustainable Viticulture”. It’s basically organic herbicides made from acetic acid like vinegar, citrus or corn gluten meal. They rob plants of its fatty acids and flash dehydrate them.
Corn gluten meal comes from processing corn syrup and corn starch. It’s commonly used as a safe “Weed and Feed” and it’s edible accept for folks with Celiac Disease (gluten issues). When sold as a herbicides it will usually have a bit of lemon juice in it for extra killing power. Corn gluten is safe around pets and it’ll also fertilize the ground. 
There’s a book titled “The Lawn Bible” by David R. Mellor who has a lot of good ideas about using organic ingredients as like vinegar or corn gluten, hot water in lieu of dangerous chemicals.

Organic Weed Killers That Are Pet Friendly
Other pet friendly herbicides to look for are herbicidal soaps, essential oils as like eugenol, corn gluten meal, clove oil, d-limonene, lime, borax, Milestone, Tordon, corn starch, vinegar, lemon juice, salt, dish soap, corn meal, in some cases sugar spices, household Clorox bleach, or even citrus oils. Different methods for different weeds. Planting more grass will also choke out most weeds.
Amazon.com has many organic herbicides listed or you can find these at well stocked garden nursery or home centers. Some mom and pop nurseries will be glad to order products for you.
When you go to buy a pesticide that’s safe for your pets, I recommend asking a store employee, read labels and do your research! 
When it comes to your pets.. . Safety first! Look on the label to see if it has EPA - Environmental Protection Agencies seal of approval. I'm not a big fan of chemicals imported from other countries as well. I think it's best to use chemicals manufactured in your own country as so consumer laws can protect you, your family and pets.


Thursday, July 17, 2014

Easy Herb Planting Guide



Starting Herb Seeds Indoors

Starting your herb seeds indoors will guarantee a productive herb garden. Your favorite herb seeds will quickly germinate under the right conditions and will make transplanting your herbs to the garden easier than trying to get those little seeds to germinate directly in the soil. Your plants will thrive if you introduce your plants early in their plant growth. This is called hardening off your plants.

By first setting your plants outside in their growing containers for a few days before actually putting them in the ground will slowly introduce your plants to their environment. The air temperature and variable weather can shock a container plant no matter the variety.

After allowing your plants to sit outside for a few days before directly planting them in the ground will not only give you a better chance for almost all of your plants to actually survive but, hardening off your plants will also extend your plant’s life because the plant will get used to the new environment and the leaves will strengthen.


Save Money.. . Grow Your Own Herbs!

Almost all herbs are easy to start from seed. You’ll sure save a lot of money by starting your own plants compared to purchasing herbs plants at your local nursery. I’ve  seen a simple 4” basil plant sell for $3.99. Heck, you can buy two packets of basil seeds for that price!

There are a lot of varieties of herbs that will grow easily indoors. You can choose to plant indoors to ready for outdoor planting or simply grow your herbs indoors for easy access.
Indoor herb gardens are pretty, bring warmth and lovely aromas into your home and they’re down right cool if you happen to be a foodie or beginning gardener.

By growing seeds indoors, you’re also going to find a wider seed selection available to you than actual plants varieties available.  That’s always a benefit.

I enjoy using Burpee, Territorial Seed Company and Home Depot's varieties.  Both Burpee Seed Company and Home Depot guarantee seeds. I think Lowe's does too. Be sure to hang onto the original seed package and receipt. I've actually purchased junk seeds before and wished I would have saved the seed envelope. 

You can totally enjoy fresh herbs all year long by either growing them indoors, drying or freezing them or if you happen to live in the sun belt knowing which herbs grow best in your hardiness zone. 


*Here are a few herb varieties that I grow successfully indoors all year round on a kitchen window sill or somewhere else in your home where at least 6 hours of sunlight shines through.

Angelica, Basil, Barrage, Cilantro, Chamomile, Chervil, Chives, Fennel, Lemon Balm, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Parsley, Rosemary, Sage, Stevia, Thyme, Winter Savory


Herb Leaf Identification

How To Plant Herb Seeds

Plant seeds are a plant embryo. A seed’s initial food supply is stored within a protective coating. Seeds remain dormant until a combination of moisture, temperature, air, and light triggers germination. Simple moisture and warmth with dissolve the protective coating to allow that energy in the seed to sprout and break through the soil. It will then reach for the sun and its roots will seek out a water source.

Planting seeds indoors or out of doors is easy. Follow the planting guide on seed packet. I've been taught to plant seeds twice the depth of the actual seed size. I've been successful by doing so with almost all seed varieties.

Many herbs don’t like rich soil. It’s best to mix a bit of your soil found on your property (pesticide free) or mix in some sandy loom. Too rich of potting soil can actually rot the seed or a plant’s roots.

Remember to place a few rocks, marbles, or pieces of broken pottery on the bottom of your planting pots. This will ensure that the bottom holes of the pots won’t clog with soil and water can easily flow through.

Keep your seeds moist but not wet. Containers often dry out quickly so, check your plants often for moisture levels. If you stick your finger in the pot and no soil sticks to your finger, you should most likely add a bit of water to the pot.

Sunlight is essential for growing plants (natural or artificial light is fine) but, heat is more important. Most seeds need a ground or soil temperature of 65F – 95F.

In my experience, if room temperature is about 70˚F, you may need to place containers in a warm spot, such as near a kitchen stove, heat vent, or on top of a refrigerator. Some people will place a heating pad under a seed starting container. After the seedlings are up, 60˚ to 70˚F is fine.

 Most herbs like to be clipped often to stimulate growth. I keep scissors in my garden shed and in my kitchen for just that. If you don't clip herbs often, they'll want to bolt. The stems become wood like and the plant will slowly begin to stop producing.

Herbs can be dried or frozen. Most people bundle herbs and hang them upside down so that the leaves look pretty and are dried in uniform. I like to freeze herbs. Simply spread the fresh cut herbs on a cookie sheet and freeze for a few hours to overnight. Then I place them in a freezer bag. If you don't separate and spread the herbs out on a cookie sheet first before freezing and just stuff some in a freezer bag, you'll have a herb ice block on your hands. 

You can take a poor man's soup (stone soup) and make it taste like a meal made for a king with a teaspoon of any herb. Herbs are wonderful in soup, breads, casseroles, pasta, meat, poultry or simple potato dishes. Be adventurous with herbs. I decided to grow herbs myself one day when I decided to change up my macaroni-spam-pea-cheese salad. I  put a few tablespoons of fresh dill in my macaroni-spam-cheese- pea salad was amazed how a tablespoon of dill can pack a punch of flavour. 



Watering

Most herb plants plants don't need much water. I usually play it by ear.. . or rather by finger to determine if I need to water. Simply stick your finger into the planter or pot. If your finger comes out dry with no soil on it, give your plant a good soaking. 

If you watch your plants moisture level, a simple misting of water should be sufficient enough. Simple tap water is OK but, I recommend allowing your water to sit for at least 15 - 30 minutes to allow the chemicals in the water to settle or evaporate. 

If you're going on vacation for a week or so and you have no one to water your plants, I recommend putting all of your house plants including herbs into your kitchen sink, bathtub or Rubbermaid containers. The pour a few inches of water into the container. The plants will slowing absorb the water from the roots up. It's a hydroponic technique.

Potted plants usually need more water than plants in the ground. Keep an eye on your plants or you'll be sorry. Dry or arid climates can really zap the soil moisture from a potted plant overnight. 

   


Fertilizing 

My favorite fertilizer even for indoor potted herb plants is manure tea or compost tea. I like to place each pot into my kitchen sink and give them a good soaking of manure tea that has been strained. I sometimes spray the leaves as well.

The plants do have a bit of an organic smell for about 30 minutes but, it's tolerable. It's absolutely ok to also use Miracle Gro, Vigoro or Jobes liquid or crystal fertilizers. I've used both Jobes and Miracle Gro's plant sticks. You simply push them into the pot for slow release fertilizing. Fertilizing sticks are great if you're going on vacation.



Soil


Many peat-based seed-starting mixes repel water when they dry out completely. Pre-moisten the mix by putting some in a container or bag with a small amount of warm water and stirring it well. Allow the peat-based starting mix to completely absorb the water before placing it in a pot or container. Always keep the peat-based starting mix moist otherwise, you’ll regret it. Your seeds or plants will be truly affected. 

I usually mix 50/50 potting soil and my outdoor yard dirt. I've noticed over the years when I use too rich of soil, my herb plants are harder to take care of. The soil doesn't seem to drain as well will pure potting soil, the plant leaves seem a bit yellow. I think herbs actually don't like rich soil.

My herbs outside are planted in sandy loom that's been enriched with cow manure. Nothing fancy and varieties as like Italian Genvieve basil to dill bouquet does just fine. 

It's a good idea to know the difference between soil and dirt. Soil has been enriched using organic material. It's usually darker and richer than your ordinary yard dirt. 

And dirt.. well, it's ordinary dirt that sometimes needs to be amended. My yard dirt is more like sand. I can pretty much grow anything in it but, my potted plants need soil or amended dirt for good drainage. Since their growing space is limited and their roots aren't allowed to spread and seak out water.. . you have to help the plant along by giving it a bit of extra nutrients and water. 



Have Fun With Herbs!

Herbs are a great addition to cooking and their fragrance bring joy and emotion to any table, room or yard. Have fun with growing herbs indoor or outdoor. Herbs don't mind growing in whimsical pots, wheel barrels, boxes, shoes or re-purposed containers. Grow them on a wall, a pathway, window box or what have you.