Vanisle_BC
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Re: Indoor cilantro challenge

I'm late into this discussion; have little experience with container gardening and even less with indoor. Still I'm curious about a couple of things:

Akhnaten, (sun-worshipper? A friend has a statuesque dog called Anubis) - when I grow pepper, basil & coriander in the garden they all grow quite tall, especially the coriander. I call it that because I'm not very keen on the flavour of cilantro - likely it's an 'acquired' taste - but I love coriander; now there's a puzzle?

Anyway ... my coriander plants get 2 to 3+ feet high, skinny stems with very little cilantro foliage but lots of seed. I grow them in tomato cages. Peppers & basil are more like 1.5 to 2 feet and fairly bushy, specially the basil. So I have a couple of comments/questions; maybe for the forum since you yourself haven't grown them in the ground....

Aren't the plants in these photos relatively stunted by comparison with garden-grown specimens? And more generally: How is it possible to give adequate light from overhead, to tall plants? I'm used to raising early transplants under fluorescents where it's commonly advised that the lights must be only a few inches above the plants. But how well can a plant grow when all but the topmost leaves are distant from the light? It's something I've often wondered and this thread brings it up for me. Oh, and is there a particular variety of cilantro that makes lots of foliage? mine doesn't.

"Ak," (if I can be so familiar) you said 'sorry this is Europe, metricland'. I'm going to post a little ramble about metric/imperial back-&-forthing in the Non-Gardening Related Hoo-ha and Foo forum, just for fun.
The terms of political discourse are not models of precision. - (Noam Chomsky)

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Akhnaten
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Location: Göteborg, Sweden

Re: Indoor cilantro challenge

Vanisle_BC wrote:I'm late into this discussion; have little experience with container gardening and even less with indoor. Still I'm curious about a couple of things:

Akhnaten, (sun-worshipper? A friend has a statuesque dog called Anubis) - when I grow pepper, basil & coriander in the garden they all grow quite tall, especially the coriander. I call it that because I'm not very keen on the flavour of cilantro - likely it's an 'acquired' taste - but I love coriander; now there's a puzzle?
"Akhnaten" mainly because of the Philip Glass opera and being an ancient world aficionado. ;)

I have a supertaster friend who can eat coriander seeds/power but not cilantro leaves (tastes like eating soap). Cilantro leaves contain presumably some essential oil that is missing in the seeds, probably a pest deterrent that works on some but not all humans (I'm guessing without looking it up). However, you can't have real authentic home-cooked food of particular East and South and Southeast Asian varieties without cilantro leaves, among other cuisines -- they leave it out in many restaurants because of the supertaster problem.
Anyway ... my coriander plants get 2 to 3+ feet high, skinny stems with very little cilantro foliage but lots of seed. I grow them in tomato cages. Peppers & basil are more like 1.5 to 2 feet and fairly bushy, specially the basil. So I have a couple of comments/questions; maybe for the forum since you yourself haven't grown them in the ground....

Aren't the plants in these photos relatively stunted by comparison with garden-grown specimens? And more generally: How is it possible to give adequate light from overhead, to tall plants? I'm used to raising early transplants under fluorescents where it's commonly advised that the lights must be only a few inches above the plants. But how well can a plant grow when all but the topmost leaves are distant from the light? It's something I've often wondered and this thread brings it up for me. Oh, and is there a particular variety of cilantro that makes lots of foliage? mine doesn't.
The entire reason for this thread was that my plants were stunted. I had much better growth in the summer, but I think the issue is soil more than light. The cilantro I was growing seems to be (when working right) of the "lots of foliage" variety rather than height, but I was also strategically harvesting in the summer, which leads to a bushier plant.
"Ak," (if I can be so familiar) you said 'sorry this is Europe, metricland'. I'm going to post a little ramble about metric/imperial back-&-forthing in the Non-Gardening Related Hoo-ha and Foo forum, just for fun.
LOL

imafan26
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Re: Indoor cilantro challenge

I so use the MG potting soil, not the moisture control one. It is mainly peat moss and perlite with a tiny amount of fertilizer which I consider negligible. I usually do make my own potting soil and do 50/50 peat lite (peat moss and perlite). In my SIP i add 1/2 cup general purpose fertilizer which I mix into the soil when the SIP is set up.

The first time I made a SIP from a rubbermaid tub, I had a 5 gallon reservoir and 10 gallons of soil. The original directions called for 2 cups of all purpose fertilizer (banded) or 3 cups organic fertilizer. The tomato did fine in the SIP, but at the end of the season I had a lot of unused fertilizer still banded in the SIP. That is why I switched to 1/2 cup of fertilizer mixed in. I supplemented with 1 tablespoon a month of additional AP fertilizer once the tomato started flowering, and continued until the tomatoes were done. I ended up using about 2 cups of fertilizer in all, but there was not a lot of fertilizer left in the SIP that way.

I have also put miracle grow fertilizer in the SIP when I used organic soil (which was a mistake). The organic soil was about 50% dirt and rocks. It was not only heavy, it was hard as a rock. It drained well but the plants were not happy. There was not enough fertilizer in the organic potting mix and the plants were very stunted so I had to add the miracle gro. It did better but not as good as when the fertilizer was put in from the beginning.

I have added miracle gro to the reservoir and it does work. It worked better with a granular fertilizer, but I only put a small amount of miracle gro in the reservoir since I did not want to over do it.

Some of the reasons why your plants are so small may be because of the crowding. Your basil is very closely planted and will need to be thinned.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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Akhnaten
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Re: Indoor cilantro challenge

pepperhead212 wrote:It's been my understanding that for SIPs, potting soil is not a good thing to use. You want a peat based mix, as it is superior for wicking, and keeps the wicking ability; coir seems to lose this in a couple of years, as it decomposes faster. Think about how long peat sits in those bogs. Add some vermiculite and/or perlite - about 15-20%. Supposedly worm castings are one organic fertilizer that can be added - about 15%, without affecting the wicking. Compost, potting soil, and similar items, are not good, though you may get a decent crop the first year. I use Promix BX, but have also made my own mix, with a base of peat, plus a little bit of coir (before I found out that it wasn't the best for this).

I fertilize with a granular 10-10-10 fertilizer, and I put it in a piece of brewing sock - fabric designed to hold flavorings in beer while it is brewing, which can be removed easily. I put 2 c fertilizer (in a new box) in one of these, and stretch it down the middle of a 2 cu ft SIP, if it will have plants on both sides, and I put it on one side, if it will just have 2 or 3 plants on the other side, as with tomatoes, peppers, and egg plants.

I have had SIPs produce well for 2-3 years, but after that, they needed at least a 25% change, adding more peat to the mix. All those old roots composting in them I guess added too much organic matter - good in the garden, but it messes up the wicking and aeration of an SIP. However, I never found much deposit in the reservoirs. The only fertilizer I have added, besides, the granular, is calcium nitrate (a good boost for tomatoes, every couple of weeks) and some hydroponics micro-nutrients, which I add in the beginning of each season. And a couple of times I have added a soluble "bloom" fertilizer, to trigger some determinate tomatoes or peppers to bloom again, after the first harvest, though most do it on their own.
Alas, I probably won't get around to doing anything better than potting soil this time around. The potting soil I've been using seemed to have no trouble with water uptake (is that what you mean by wicking?) from the reservoir, however, but I now see how it is not a long-term solution. However, I have a choice between getting something started now, or doing a lot of research I don't have time to do now and getting started in the spring, as I have to buy all this stuff in Swedish, which I don't yet speak well. Plus putting together mixes in my apartment is a complex operation, it was already a big mess to get rid of the old soil, and it's wintertime and dark most of the time. In the summer, when I will probably have to start again, it will be more feasible to think of complex soil operations.

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Akhnaten
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Re: Indoor cilantro challenge

imafan26 wrote:I so use the MG potting soil, not the moisture control one. It is mainly peat moss and perlite with a tiny amount of fertilizer which I consider negligible. I usually do make my own potting soil and do 50/50 peat lite (peat moss and perlite). In my SIP i add 1/2 cup general purpose fertilizer which I mix into the soil when the SIP is set up.

The first time I made a SIP from a rubbermaid tub, I had a 5 gallon reservoir and 10 gallons of soil. The original directions called for 2 cups of all purpose fertilizer (banded) or 3 cups organic fertilizer. The tomato did fine in the SIP, but at the end of the season I had a lot of unused fertilizer still banded in the SIP. That is why I switched to 1/2 cup of fertilizer mixed in. I supplemented with 1 tablespoon a month of additional AP fertilizer once the tomato started flowering, and continued until the tomatoes were done. I ended up using about 2 cups of fertilizer in all, but there was not a lot of fertilizer left in the SIP that way.
Again, I'm still not entirely sure how this "banding" technique works. I will mix in an equivalent quantity of fertilizer (once I've done conversion to metric 8) ) into the soil as I put the soil in however, this seems doable.
I have also put miracle grow fertilizer in the SIP when I used organic soil (which was a mistake). The organic soil was about 50% dirt and rocks. It was not only heavy, it was hard as a rock. It drained well but the plants were not happy. There was not enough fertilizer in the organic potting mix and the plants were very stunted so I had to add the miracle gro. It did better but not as good as when the fertilizer was put in from the beginning.

I have added miracle gro to the reservoir and it does work. It worked better with a granular fertilizer, but I only put a small amount of miracle gro in the reservoir since I did not want to over do it.
I don't think we have miracle gro here. I have been using the supermarket formula. I'd post a link to it but it's in Swedish and the supermarket wants you to put in a Swedish zip code before it shows you any details.
Some of the reasons why your plants are so small may be because of the crowding. Your basil is very closely planted and will need to be thinned.
Well, it's all gone now. The basil and chili were a sideshow, the main point was to get a lot of homegrown cilantro so I didn't have to cross town to get it from specialty stores, since it's a niche product in Sweden. The issue for me was the stunting of the cilantro. I did exactly the same thing with it as I did in the summer, but indoors and with the old soil. In the summer, it grew beautifully. On the second round, badly. I'm hoping that the problem is the reused potting soil.

If I had kept going with the old soil, I would have replanted the whole thing with basil spaced out more widely, because the basil for the most part seemed to succeed except a few plants developing purpling. Then as you say, I might have gotten bigger basil plants. But, it's all gone now. New soil.

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Akhnaten
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Re: Indoor cilantro challenge

So it is done. I replenished the container with new soil, about 15L of (sorry) storebought potting soil, which seems quite "peaty" here in Sweden but there is definitely also compost in it. I put it in in two layers, after each layer adding a capful of storebought "växtnäring", liquid fertilizer, and breaking up the soil and mixing by hand (done in my shower stall so easy to clean up).

Then I planted 18 coriander seeds in three rows, 5 chili seeds (that's all I had left, it turned out), and 9-ish basil seeds in 3x3 formation, although sometimes my planting tweezers picked up more than one basil seed, they're so small. This is considerably more thinly planted than my previous attempts. I have watered them from the top and in a couple of days, I will fill the reservoir halfway. The grow lamps are attached and in formation again. I expect to see some shoots in 2-3 weeks.

imafan26
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Re: Indoor cilantro challenge

There are different methods of applying fertilizer. The instructions in th postoilsolutions link for the earthbox says to band the fertilizer and to use potting soil. It specifically says not to use water soluble.

Banding fertilizer puts the fertilizer at the root zone, especially phosphorus which is relatively immobile and can become bound to the soil if it is spread out. It is often used in no till and by commercial corn growers since it is more cost effective to band fertilizer, rather than spread it out over and entire field and they have machines which can band and plant at the same time.

Water soluble fertilizer are probably the most expensive fertilizer you can use. It is good if you really need a quick boost, but probably not the best as a maintenance fertilizer. Water soluble fertilizers have higher numbers and are high nitrogen, so they can potentially burn plants if they are too concentrated. High nitrogen is not desirable when you are seeding since high nitrogen levels in the soil can prevent seeds from germinating properly and promote dampening off.

The albopepper link describes setting up the soil mix and fertilizer for the SIP and also discusses how you can reuse your soil.

I still think your plants are too close and that contributes to the stunting. You need to get better air circulation. A fan might help.
I don't know if the LED lights are enough. A fluorescent fixture may be better.


https://albopepper.com/setting-up-sip-po ... year-1.php
https://courses.cit.cornell.edu/css412/ ... m5_pg4.htm
https://www.postoilsolutions.org/documents/Earthbox.pdf
https://www.cals.uidaho.edu/edcomm/pdf/cis/cis0757.pdf
https://agritech.tnau.ac.in/agriculture/ ... appln.html
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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