Garden · Personal

Gardening with Julia – My Little Herb Garden & Greenhouse

[Introductory Post]
[The Plan]
[Bucket Hunting]

Along with starting a vegetable garden, I decided I wanted an indoor herb garden, as well.

In addition to satisfying my impatience, this herb garden is kind of an experiment in getting plants to grow. I am able to test out pre-sprouting vs. seed starting in soil and whether my makeshift “greenhouse” will be enough to start some of the plants indoors. While I haven’t recorded this in video, I do have some seeds in all stages which I’ll be sharing.

For those who are more reading-inclined, here’s what’s happened:

I pre-sprouted oregano, cilantro, sage, basil, and thyme seeds, then put them in soil in my “greenhouse.” Oregano was the first to show signs that pre-sprouting was working for me, and the first to get into soil. Sage and cilantro were next, followed much later by basil. Honestly, I thought I’d molded and ruined my basil seeds, but I guess they were just taking their time. Despite the basil being the last to get into a pot with soil, it was the next to shoot up out of the soil, leaving me worried that I’d let the sage and cilantro get to dry and die. Not to worry, they’ve begun showing signs of growth as well. What about the thyme? Well, I bought it later, but it was the absolute fastest to pre-sprout. I put it on the damp paper towel in a zipper bag around noon on February 15, and by the time I placed them in soil the evening of February 17, they had ALL pre-sprouted, and I figure I’ll have some heavy thinning to do when they get growing.

Oreganosoil
Look closely! There’s one tiny little green beginning to poke through!

I also planted some seeds of the same type (except thyme) in soil, I’ve yet to see any action from these and don’t expect to for at  least another week the oregano, which was the fastest to pre-sprout, has poked its green little leaves up above the surface. I’ve been so scientific with this “experiment” that I don’t remember what day I planted the seeds in the soil (it wasn’t the same day), but it seems the pre-sprouting didn’t speed up the process for the oregano very much. I’ll do better at keeping track with the vegetables.

 

Speaking of vegetables, the time is upon me to start the early crops! Stick around!

My “greenhouse”

(Video coming soon!) 

Greenhouse2
Baker’s rack doing double duty as storage and a makeshift greenhouse.

I’ve found little greenhouses for around $20 in some local stores, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to invest in one yet, and anyone who knows me knows I don’t like to spend $20 on anything that I might not have to. I spent a while thinking about materials I had and HOW IN THE WORLD was I going to start my seeds indoors without the right stuff. While looking around my kitchen, an idea struck. We have a wire shelving unit in our kitchen that we use to store assorted things on. I realized it was going to soon be doing double duty.

I moved the shelves to where the second from the bottom was just above the windowsill, and the one above it to sit about  a foot above that. I moved the shelf in front of the window. I then lined the second shelf with aluminum foil, shiniest side up. I did the same on the above shelf, shiny side down, and covered some cardboard rectangles with foil, shiny-side up. I stretched foil, again, shiny-side to the inside of the shelf, between the second and third shelves from the bottom, and clothespinned them in place. I brought in a desk lamp that I no longer use for an extra light source. In essence, I created a really shiny box.

Inside1
Herbs inside my really shiny box.

What in the world was I thinking? I was thinking that indoors we keep the temperature fairly suitable, and the foil would help reflect the light back to the plants. Unfortunately, this is a north-facing window, so it doesn’t get many hours of direct light, but we actually don’t have a south-facing one that was appropriate for the use. I had to find a way to maximize potential light. If the forecast calls for a drop in temperatures I place another strip of cardboard between the blinds and the greenhouse shelf.

So far the “greenhouse” seems to be working fairly well for the herbs, although I may look at adding more light.

Inside2
The inside of my greenhouse.

Garden Graphic (3)

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