blackthumb
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Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:53 am
Location: Richmond, Va

Trying my hand at growing things

My dream would be to be able to grow, harvest, and enjoy my own food. Veggies, fruits, you name it. But of course, I've never really grown anything before and I live in a townhouse with a backyard that barely passes as a backyard. (will post pics as I want to know what I can do with that kind of space and sunlight once spring comes) I am mostly interested in growing things in containers since I live in a townhouse and whatever I grow I want to be able to take with me if I move anywhere.

I have four small pots with different seeds in each. Cilantro, Mint, Lemonbalm, and Rosemary are the four plants I'm trying to grow. I know its not best to grow them from seed, but thats what I'm trying to do. I planted them about two weeks ago and I just got my first sprout (Cilantro) a few days ago. Its already about two inches tall. The newest sprout (Rosemary) is barely in inch tall and I just found that one today. The other two have not sprouted yet.

I have pictures of the sprouts if it would help any. I'm really hoping these live and thrive but I have not the foggiest idea on how to keep them going now. So I have a few questions for you all.

How often should I water the sprouts?

How much?

What temps and humidity are good for them? (the apartment is around 70-75 at all times)

Should they be put outside if the weather is warm?

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Grey
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Hi blackthumb!

You're doing great so far. All of those will be happy to sit outside as the weather warms, just don't let them get too chilly. Amazed you got rosemary to sprout, I have the hardest time with that one, and for many people, rosemary is EASY. *shrugs*

Water when the soil is dry within an inch of the surface. Keep it moist, but not too wet. Rosemary especially does not like "wet feet" but prefers to dry out a little. Mint, I have found, will grow in anything.

Lemon balm will take a little longer to sprout, so don't worry. I actually grow a TON of this because I have developed a taste for lemon balm tea - take about 3 teaspoons worth of fresh leaves, chop them up, and steep them in hot water for 3 minutes. Lemon Balm has a history of being used to soothe nerves after a rough day, and has a tonic effect of reducing the effects from an overdose of caffeine. Made into a tincture, it is said to help boost the mood of people suffering from SAD (seasonal effective disorder) and other mild depressions.

blackthumb
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Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:53 am
Location: Richmond, Va

I once bought a lemonbalm plant that was already growing strong and used its leaves to add to my grandmother's black tea. It made it taste like it already had lemon instead of adding lemon juice to the tea. Very yummy that way too.

Its far too cold to put them outside tonight (36) but tomorrow's high will be 53. Sunday has a high of 59. Actually, all next week is predicted to stay above 50, with one day going almost to 70. O.O

Would it be ok for the sprouts to go outside tomorrow and next week?

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Grey
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If you have a sunny windowsill, at moment that would be better. They are more likely to sprout, and be happier, if the temperatures are warmer, like in the 70s. As our weather warms up this Spring it will be easier to take them outside during the day and inside at night, this is called "hardening off" so they get used to sunlight and wind and all that jazz.

When you do start taking them outside, don't put them in full sun, but give them a little shade for a few days, then a little less shade, until they are able to take the full sun conditions. With any luck, by the time you can leave them outside all the time, you should have some nice looking specimens going there!

blackthumb
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Location: Richmond, Va

I've put them near the sliding glass door where some sun in coming through. If these survive and grow I might be adding some more plants to my apartment, like lavender, basil, ect.

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Grey
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Lavender can be tricky to start from seed. I found Provence Lavender is the best for my area (despite all the other kinds I have tried that growers swear grows here, that one is reliable). I usually purchase them already started for me, as I gave up on them by seed.

Basil is wonderful. I grow at least five of the large genovese variety every year, plus two purple or cinnamon basils, and a holy basil, for fun. :) I love the smell of fresh basil, it is just the hallmark of summer for me.

blackthumb
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Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2008 12:53 am
Location: Richmond, Va

I love it in spagetti. Mmm. I got lavender to sprout once and it was growing well (got to be about 1/2 inch tall) and my mom had it outdoors. We got a huge downpour and it died.

There is a tea we serve at work called Yellow and Blue. It is chamomile, lavender, and cornflowers. I really want to grow these so I can make my own tea.

Also, are any of these poisonous to cats? I have three cats that get into everything so all my plants will probably be moved to a new room until spring.

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Grey
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To my knowledge none of that is toxic to cats. Happy gardening!

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