The Q&A Archives: Indoor Herb Garden

Question: I am interested in starting a nice indoor herb garden. <br>I have a table near a small window in my basement, and I<br>have some florescent lights on timers hung nearby.<br><br>I would like to grow basil, parsley, rosemary, sage, and chives. Any advice for containers and fertilizers? <br><br>Is it possible to grow tomatoes inside under the same <br>conditions?

Answer: First of all, unless you have at least 5 hours of direct sun, you'll need to rig up your fluorescent lights so they can be adjusted to stay just an inch or two above the tips of the plants. They need to be close to provide adequate light intensity.<br><br>Start seeds in a commercial soil-less seed-starting mix. Don't use potting soil or garden soil, because these tend to be heavy and hold too much water; also they can contain various soil pathogens. I would start seeds off in small containers--nolarger than 4" but smaller is OK. (Parsley can be difficult to transplant, so start in at least 4" pot.)<br><br>Basil - likes warm temps; germination takes 7 - 10 days<br>Parsley - soak seeds in warm water for 24 hours before sowing; germination takes 9 to 21 days at 70-75F. Once up and growing, likes cool temps, 60-65F. <br>Rosemary - needs good drainage; be sure not to overwater, but don't let dry out completely. <br>Sage - germination takes 14 - 21 days; or you can grow from tip cuttings <br>Chives - germination takes 10 - 14 days.<br><br>Tomatoes can be grown indoors, but don't expect the harvest you get outside! But you may be able to get a few tomatoes. Choose bush-type, or, better yet, tomato varieties developed for container growing (like Burpee's 'Tumbler'). Remember you'll want to be able to adjust the lights to accomodate the different heights--the taller tomatoes and the shorter herbs. Perhaps 2 separate shelves (with 2 light fixtures).

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