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The herb garden is doing great! At this point at least two of each type of herb we planted has sprouted, so that’s awesome! I think I can tell the difference between the spearmint and the rosemary, but I’m not 100% sure. Once they grow a little bigger I’m sure it will become obvious. 🙂
|It’s almost time to transplant some of these babies!|
I’ve learned a ton and I’m pretty thrilled with how the garden is turning out so far, but there are definitely some things I wish I had known (or paid more attention to) as I was starting out. So I’m going to share these with you in the hopes that if you want to start your own garden you can learn from my mistakes.
- Seeds need warmth and water to germinate, not sunlight: This is like gardening 101, and all of my research told me this. Plants don’t actually need sunlight until they have leaves that can soak up the sun. But my instinct was still to put the seed trays in the window where they would get sunlight as well. The problem was that our weather was still a bit chilly, so the seeds weren’t actually that warm. If I could do it over again: I’d put the seed trays on top of our refrigerator (the heat output makes it super warm up there, just ask the cats!), and then I’d move the trays to the windowsill once they had sprouted.
- Follow instructions: On a related note, the little seed trays we purchased are designed to keep the seeds warm and watered. They came with a full set of instructions on how to use them, but I got freaked out and didn’t follow them 🙁 The instructions said to leave the clear lids on the trays until the plants touched the lids. About 5 days after planting, a few tiny catnip seedlings germinated and then immediately turned brown and died the next day. I did a bunch of research and got totally freaked out that I had over-watered them (catnip likes to be fairly dry). I thought that the lids were doing too good of a job of keeping warmth and water in the trays (remember from the first lesson, this is EXACTLY what they’re supposed to do) so I took the lids off. At this point all of the plants have sprouted, so it turned out okay, but if I could do it over again: I’d follow the instructions and leave the lids on until the plants grew too big for them. (Which, by the way, is right about now, five weeks later. The dill is just tall enough that it would hit the lid if I’d left them on.)
- Choose the right size pots: I got really excited about growing this garden, so I bought pots before the seeds had even sprouted! Silly, I know, but I was excited to have six pretty pots of the same size, all decorated the same. I have learned since then that, just like with thinning your seedlings, your plants need ample room to grow in whatever pot or container you put them in. These 6″ pots will work fine, but instead of being able to plant 3-4 seedlings in each like I had planned, I will only be able to plant 1-2. Unless you have a 10″ or 12″ or larger container your seedlings will crowd each other if you plant (or transplant) more than one or two in each. If I could do it over again: I’d wait to see how many seedlings sprouted and grew strong, then I’d choose containers and pot sizes based on how many I wanted to transplant.
- Don’t freak out! The most important thing I’ve learned since starting this garden is that plants are pretty hardy. Not that you couldn’t kill them if you tried, but they do really have a desire to keep on growing, and if you don’t purposely mess with them they’ll probably be fine. I read a ton of research that said basil needs at least 6 hours of sunlight every day, or that catnip likes to be fairly dry, or that the pH level of the soil should be 6.0 to 7.5 for growing dill. But I’ll tell you right now that the south-facing window we put our plants in only gets 2 hours a day of direct sunlight (a few more hours of indirect sunlight as well), we water all of the plants together the same way, and I have no idea what the pH level of the soil is! If I could do it over again: I would save myself some of the stress and stop freaking out about the plants being perfect. They are doing just fine even though I’m not being careful about the pH levels 🙂
I hope some of this helps you if you start your own garden. Best of luck!
This post is part of a series about growing herbs indoors. You can see the rest of the posts in the series here.
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