After returning from a recent trip from Upstate New York I was quickly reminded that fall is not so very far away. It is sometimes hard to be reminded of that way down here in the hottest month of August in Texas.
All the while I was enjoying the cooler temperatures while viewing the landscapes and countryside during my visit, I wanted to shout from the rooftops! HEY, its time to get those glorious herbs propagated and potted up! Why should the summer garden end here?
Although many herbs still grow in our winter garden outdoors in the south, many annuals will be lost when the first frost arrives. The only way to preserve the flavors are to dry them for the herb pantry. But many herbs can still be grown, including annuals by bringing them indoors to winter over. Why loose the green from the garden when it can simply be brought indoors to savor the freshness in pots and containers?
Herbs Success For Indoors
The best way to have success with herbs indoors is to keep in mind a sun loving spot for them to live in. You need to provide the herbs with at least 4 hours of direct sunlight each day and more if at all possible. You may supplement the light needs or offer even more light by using high intensity grow lights.
Just as in early spring when we acclimate our plants for the outdoor garden, we must do the same when bringing them indoors. Begin by adjusting the light after potting them up. Place the pots in semi-shade for a couple of weeks and them move them to a shadier location before bringing them in. It's an acclimation in reverse.
Well draining healthy soil makes a tremendous difference as well, especially during the winter months. It is important that you do not over water this time of year. Exceptional drainage can easily be achieved by using an organic perlite to the potting mix. Keeping your pH levels around 6 to 7 generally works well for most types of herbs.
As long as you notice active growth on your herbs indoors regular feeding and nutrients will be important for keeping your plants healthy. Look for liquid organic fertilizers like fish emulsion or seaweed emulsion. If you notice the herb go into a dormant stage where no new growth is evident, stop the feedings. This is a natural state some herbs take on during the winter months.
You may find a few problems with common insect pests when growing indoors. Gnat like insects, spider mites, aphids and even scale like insects and thrips can suddenly appear. Try to keep a close eye to catch the problem before it goes to far. Be sure to look over your plants well before bringing them indoors. There are several natural and organic remedies for such pests. A good hard spray of water will wash many problems away, but it might become necessary to do a little spray or even dip the entire plant in an insecticidal soap. Just be sure to keep it organic.Cinnamon Basil
Great Growing Herb Choices For Indoors
I'm so sure that many of you have your favorite potted herbs for the indoors and I look so forward to you sharing some of your ideas with others here in our comments section! It is what makes gardening so much fun for everyone!
My very favorite is Basil. I grow several varieties and they are the first to burn during the frost. They will stay and grow all the way to spring to begin their cycle again in the garden beds.They do require some warmth and as much light as possible. At the very least six to 8 hours, so a grow light might be necessary for my northern garden friends.
Lemon Grass is another I will not leave to overwinter in our garden ever again. We just never know in my part of the south what to expect in the winter. A hard freeze will take them down sometimes, even when well mulched. So digging some out or rooting some new ones keeps us growing all year.
Oregano is another herb that does quite well indoors. Although the Greek variety does wonderfully left out in the garden, my Cuban Oregano will freeze and die. So I must make sure to pot and root some new plants for a very sunny spot indoors. Most Oregano's require a long day in the sunshine of at least six hours worth.
Other herbs for growing indoors are Thyme, Parsley, Chives, Rosemary and Mint. I also enjoy fresh Sage, especially during the Holidays. Just be sure not to over water your herbs. Let them dry out completely before you water again and soak them thoroughly when you do. Happy Herbal Growing!