Smoked Glass Garden Grown Kit - Long-term Option?

I was wondering if the Smoked Glass Garden Grow Kit was a long-term option for my herbs. i.e. after a certain point, do I have to transfer them to new pots or can I keep them in these smoked class containers forever (as long as they last and I maintain them)?

  • 410 views
  • 3 Comments

3 Comments

Smaug June 5, 2019
They really need to put a link for shop questions somewhere that people can find it. However, as you're here, and horticulture isn't particularly a strong point for the F52 staff (at least that I've ever seen), I'll try to offer a bit of insight. It will not be very practical to transplant out of these containers, as hydroponically grown roots do not adapt well to soil. This sort of planting is in the cruel, if not unusual, territory for most herb plants, but they're mostly tough and with reasonable care you should be able to get small harvests for some time. The common herbs fall broadly into 3 classes; the soft herbs, such as basil, parsley, chervil, cilantro etc. are annuals or biennials (which isn't as different as it sounds)- their nature is to flower, produce seeds, and die off. You can manipulate this to some extent, but it's best to replace them with new seedlings regularly- these pots are evidently designed to germinate seeds, so it shouldn't be too hard, and seeds are easily come by. Another group is the shrubby perennials- the thymes, rosemaries, oreganos etc.- by nature these plants are fairly long lived and will produce to some extent all year in a benign climate- there's no obvious limit to their life span, but I think you'll find it best to replace them from cuttings at least once a year- they all propagate quite easily. They can be grown from seed, but cuttings produce strong plants much faster and are more dependable for consistent quality. The third category is herbaceous perennials- tarragon, epazote, mint, wormwood- that by nature die down to rhizomes (ground stems) in winter and produce new green growth in spring. I'm somewhat curious how these will responds to hydroponic growing- they'll probably stay evergreen but are likely to overcrowd their pots fairly fast. In the garden they are generally divided in the fall by digging up and dividing the rhizomes (they reroot very easily) and you should probably do this with your plants occasionally. In short, you'll probably have to- or at least it will be best to-do some plant replacement on a regularbasis, but-as with people- the little ones are more fun anyway. If you have a space, I would strongly recommend an outdoor herb garden for much more production and higher quality; not to say don't grow the indoor ones- they're nice to have around, and convenient, particularly in bad weather. The plants are generally pretty cheap and grow quickly- nursery plants are grown in soil and won't transplant to hydroponic happily. For a few (dill and cilantro come to mind) transplanting tends strongly to trigger their flowering cycle and they are best grown by seed in place, but most will present no problems.
 
Customer-Care June 5, 2019
Hi Katie! So glad you reached out. Yes—these are a great long-term option, so long as you prune the herbs and are mindful of their size (i.e. something like basil, which tends to grow a bit bigger, could wind up requiring a transfer).
 
Smaug June 5, 2019
I'm sorry- I have tried, but I can't ignore what is at best a deceptive statement. Of the common herbs, basil (other than African blue basil, which is perennial) is probably the smallest growing. I've known rosemary bushes to grow to 5' high and 4' across- even things like parsley and cilantro, in full bloom, may be 3 1/2' high and 2' across (if you want to grow your own coriander seed- outside- you'll need a lot less plants than you might think). What basil does is to complete it's life cycle very fast- once the seedlings have a couple of pairs of true leaves the plants will grow very rapidly until they go into their flowering cycle- outdoors I usually grow 3 crops a year. The cycle may be somewhat delayed- the low light and high water of this kind of setup will slow it down, and you can manipulate nutrition, light spectrum and other factors to delay it, but like any growing thing reproduction is its overwhelming priority and it will not be stopped. You can pinch off flowers and get some new leaf growth, but it will get increasingly weak and once the plant enters the flowering cycle the internal chemistry changes and the flavor tends to get a bit rank. Annual and biennial plants really can't be thought of as permanent, but they're generally quite easy from seed. Also, basil is probably better suited to hydroponic culture than most herbs. There are a large number of varieties of basil, some smaller than others, and in this age of reduced spaces and container gardens breeders are working hard on smaller varieties of many plants (miniature sun flowers?)- hopefully the makers of this product have selected their varieties with some care.
 
Recommended by Food52