Fineas_Ranch
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Setting up an indoor herb garden

I found a picture for an indoor herb garden while searching the net one day, but of course i can't find it now. Anyway, it basically looked like a window box that had 3 pots with different herbs, solid sides and a top that housed the lighting.

I am looking into getting together with my dad to build two of them, one for my sister and one for my mom. Both have kitchen windows, but neither get much light, let alone direct light.

So, i was wondering:

1) in your opinion, what size pots do most herbs do well in? The size of the pots will determine the number of herbs.

2) how tall do many of the herbs get. because the light is stationary, I want to stick with herbs that have a similar height.

3) any other ideas. Like what herbs (I was thinking Basil, Rosemary and chives or parsley)

thanks

a0c8c
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All herbs are gonna grow at different speeds and will be at different heights all the time. You'll also need a non stationary light, as you'll want to start it close and move it up as the plants grow. I'd start out with 3'' pots and move up from there.

You'll need a flourescent light hanging from above that can be adjusted.
Small pots for starting the seedlings.
Larger pots as they grow.
A small fan to keep air movement(prevents rot and strentghtens plants)
And if you're doing any side,s Mylar to cover them.
Home Gardener from Austin, TX; by way of Iowa.

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rainbowgardener
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But if the poster wants something simpler, there are ways to work with their suggestions.

If you don't want to have to change out the pots, start with a windowsill pot, at least 4" deep, 4" wide and a foot or more long. You can plant your seeds into it. Plant a bit more seed than you need and thin once sprouted.

For the fixed light you would want to keep to low growing herbs and things that are prostrate (would tend to drape down over the sides of the container). That would include thyme, chives, sage, Greek oregano, marjoram, maybe sage (though it might eventually outgrow the space). If you want basil, there are dwarf varieties that would work well with the rest of this. Jung seeds sells "balcony blend" seeds - mixed dwarf basil varieties for containers.

For this mixture you would want your light a foot or so above the soil. That will slow down the seed growth at first (as compared to having it closer) but will work. Plan to have the light on 16 - 18 hrs a day. Then eventually some of them will get too close to the light and have to be clipped back, but that is called harvesting! :)

Sounds like a great project! Have fun.

Fineas_Ranch
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Thanks guys. I actually plan on starting the seeds before giving the gift since my sister's B-day is mid May and the one for mom would be for Mother's Day.

Thanks again!

I think it will be a fun family project as well. My husband and I will be in charge of the plants. Picking them, planting them, then potting them. My dad, who is good with making things, will make the thing itself. And my brother, who is good at going to the store and buying what we need him too (or even better, just paying us back) will be in charge of the lights. Finally, the other one (so my mom for the one that will be my sisters and vice-versa) will be in charge of decorating it-or helping my brother with the lights and timer.

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applestar
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See I get these crazy ideas... :roll: What if you put those LED rope lights along the inside corners? You know, the kind that you see around license plates? (I'm assuming they can be made moisture-proof.) Not red though, probably blue since you're talking herbs. I would consider putting in red ones for a flowering plant box They might provide at least *some* supplemental light for the shorter plants, besides, if you put them on a separate switch, it would look kind of cool when the main light is turned off.

Don't forget to give them timers for the light(s). (or somehow make it a "built-in" timer -- I wouldn't know how to do that, but in case you do) :wink:

Fineas_Ranch
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Definitely LOVE the LED rope light idea. I'll see what I can do to make it work.

Fineas_Ranch
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this is kind of what I was thinking [img]https://www.tindaraorchids.com/images/supplies/herb_light_box_1003_4.jpg[/img] This one does raise and lower, but I don't know how or how to do it.

Also, since the plants will be about 3 months old when they go into the thing, will that make the raising a lowering a little less important?

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applestar
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Hang the light fixture from cup hooks with chains? (drill holes in the top to pull out the chains and put the cup hooks on top? One of my commercial lights came with what appears to be venetian blind cords strung through cord tightening do-jiggy (you know, cylindrical plastic thing with a thumb button used with back packs and stuff?), the other one is on bead chains with bead stops.

I would think the light in that particular set up is a bit too far up as it is.

Fineas_Ranch
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I do agree that in the picture the light seems too high. I was just showing it as a general picture of what I'm looking for. I wasn't sure if my description was very good, so I added a picture.

I'll definitely look into the chain idea as well. Thanks for the good suggestions. I really, really appreciate them. I would hate to have to go at this blind.

emerald7
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Hiya

As someone else already said, the heights vary by each plant, so you should research the height stats for each plant. But a lot of common herbs get to a max. height of 2-3 feet (English lavender, dill, basil, cilantro, and mint all fit this description), so that might be a good place to start as a benchmark height.

Size pots... I think it really depends on a lot of things, but I have read that if you put a small seedling in too big of a pot, it tends to create root rot because there is nothing to absorb the excess moisture in the dirt, so it may look like you need to water on top, but way down underneath there might be a lot of water, which leads to overwatering. so maybe if it is something that you can transplant you should keep the size of the pot proportional to the size of the plant, and transplant it later.

You mentioned rosemary: This is a woody shrub that can get quite big (if it is planted outside it can get to 3 ft. tall by 3 ft wide, easily), although it'll probably just grow to the size of the pot you put it in if it's indoors.

HTH!
Embarking upon the world of indoor organic container gardening

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