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Help Us Save Our Windowsill Herb Garden

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Calling all indoor gardeners, science enthusiastists, and herb-ivores! Follow along as we create our very own windowsill herb garden in the center of New York City. And please, offer the tips and tricks we need to keep these plants strong and healthy. 

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A lot has changed since we started our office herb garden.

We upgraded our plants to new (and larger) homes, opting for individual terra-cotta pots so that we could move each one separately throughout the office depending on its optimal conditions. We chose clay pots rather than plastic ones because the porous material allows for more movement of water and air to and from the roots.

When we repotted the plants, we tamped the soil using an improvised tamper constructed from a paint brush and a wine cork. Tamping the soil gets rid of any air pockets so that the roots are secure and surrounded by soil. 

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But despite regularly watering our plants (though only when the soil is dry to touch—we don't want to drown these helpless babies), some have prospered while others have withered. Our next step is to buy a grow light, which we hope will resuscitate some of our more desperate herbs, but for now, here is the current state.

The good:

  
Thyme has grown significantly since being repotted

  • Thyme's stems are standing upright and the plant has grown significantly since being repotted (compare the picture at the left—when first repotted—to recent the picture at the right).
  • Lavender is growing new shoots (you can see it peeking in the frame of the photo below).
  • Tarragon, which once had to be propped up with a chopstick (handy kitchen hack—see first picture, second plant from right) is now standing tall, all on its own. We're so proud.

Chocolate mint

  • Chocolate mint seems to be growing more outwards than upwards and some of its leaves are yellowing. The prognosis seems good, however, and the leaves are edging towards the window (a classic example of "phototropism," according to our memories of seventh grade science). 

 

The bad:

  
Oregano, left, and dill, right

  • We can't figure out what to do with oregano. When we cried out for help, most of you told us that we were overwatering, but since then, our oregano has shriveled and dried up. What's the deal?
  • Dill is similarly withered (the picture above shows the plant as we're watering it). Does it need more water? Less water? Is it too cold? 

 

The ugly:

  • Rosemary plant was doing well, but then it came down with a nasty case of white mold. We sprayed it with fungicide, which took care of the issue, but now some of the leaves are withered and black. Is our rosemary doomed?

Fragile sage

  • Sage looks healthy, but its leaves are on the dry and brittle side. More water? (And take a look at that sad, sad dill leaf peeking in at the botom left.)

  Parsley, left, and chives and tarragon, right

  • The parsley is green and vibrant, but it has splayed out towards the side, as if its trying to escape its pot. 
  • The chives also seem hardy, though they too, are falling over. (Perhaps gravity is stronger on this side of the office.) Should they be stronger? Should we stake them? 

Our next step is to buy a grow light. What else would you recommend? What are we doing wrong? Help us out in the comments below!

Tags: home, garden, windowsill garden, herbs, get your garden growing