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Questions about Soil & Transplanting for Herb Starts

So i took the plunge and sowed a bunch of herb seeds and i now have little green sprouts. I used the burpee greenhouse style starter. I have about 6 types of basil, thyme,sage,marjoram,dill,borage,chives, and maybe something else i can't remember :D
My final goal is to get these into pots to grow both indoor and outdoor. I also have a small 18" x 72" (raised?) bed 20" tall rock walled area attached to my front porch that i could use. It is south facing and gets full sun.
My question is about soil and transplanting. I had some 3" peat pots given to me that i could use for seedlings.

Are peat pots good for seedlings?
What do i need for soil mix?
Is megamart potting soil ok to use?
What is a good size of pot to use? I was thinking 8" ?
What herbs would do best in the full sun bed?

Thanks for looking

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Super Green Thumb
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Location: TN. 50 years of gardening experience.

Several herbs will come back every year and they do fine outside all winter in the snow. If you plant in red clay pots you can put the pots in the ground all summer then pull the pots up and take them inside in the winter. Basil gets pretty large it may be a bit too large to take inside unless you trim it down small. My Parsley and Savory did fine all winter in the snow. Herbs like it hot and dry, well drained sandy soil, full sun, they grow great in desert like conditions but they do need water but not much. I have a 1 gallon plastic milk jug that I poked a hole in the side near the bottom witth a small needle. I fill the jug with water and set it next to the herbs. Water pribbles out very slow.

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Gary350, I like the idea of burying the herbs in clay pots. How do you clean them off when you bring them inside?

I have about 6 types of basil, thyme,sage,marjoram,dill,borage,chives, and maybe something else i can't remember :D:
First thing to do is to sort these herbs by the kind of conditions they like.

• thyme, sage, marjoram -- limey, well-drained soil, drought tolerant, full sun
• basil, dill, borage, chives -- average garden soil, average moisture, less sun is OK

It would really help to know where you're located, but typically, thyme and sage are winter hardy and can stay outside if planted in the ground. Containers can freeze soild, plants often don't survive. Marjoram is only hardy to USDA Zone 7 -- in my area, they won't survive the winter outside, and I generally have trouble overwintering potted Zone 7 plants indoors, so I haven't grown marjoram very often, but I've treated them as annuals in the past.

Thyme is small and can grow well in 8" pot. Sage can grow about 18" tall and wide. I don't have experience with Marjoram.

Basil, dill, and borage are annuals. Basil can be potted up and brought indoors and they can live through the winter, given good care, but they're prone to indoor insect pests like red spider mites and I haven't been successful in keeping them much past December, so I always collect seeds in the fall to plant again in spring. Dill and borage typically will self-seed if you allow them to go to seed and sprout in the same area next spring. Borage, in fact, is almost too prolific. You'll need to control the seedlings in the spring and weed them out or transplant them.

Basil can grow in an 8" pot, though I think it would do better in a larger container. Dill is related to carrots and has a long taproot. I think it would be happier in a deeper container and it will grow taller, though it doesn't take up much width. Borage grows HUGE comparatively speaking. 3 feet high and 2 feet across -- 8" pot is much too small.

I only have Garlic Chives so I'll leave Chives for someone else to discuss. :wink:

Susan W
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I like to put several basils in a pot, 12" across or so. Med rich soil, and watered daily if no rain. They are tender, the last to put out in spring, and the 1st to go with fall cool nights. I got new starts late August and potted them for inside.

The sage should do well in the planter by porch. Thyme tends to spill over a pot, and for me a short lived (3 yr or so) perennial. I need to start anew this spring with mine, have several in one pot, or on the edges of a couple of others.
I stay far away from borage. From what I have heard, likes itself, and in my mid-south climate would take over! Chives can be stuck in here and there. Mine (in a pot with other stuff) is greening up now real pretty. The garlic chives in one bed got thinned out some last fall.

If you have enough starts, try them in different situations. Trial and error, and I do lots of both!
Have fun!

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Thank you for the quick replies.Some great suggestions! I live in a cold zone 3, maybe bordering 4.
I got most of my seeds from Seeds Trust in Idaho that specialize in high altitude herbs. You reminded me of the ones i forgot, summer savory and garlic dill. Just wanted to give them all a try to see what worked best for me.
How does this sound?
Plant the seedlings that i intend to put in pots in the 3" peat pots, and the ones that are destined for the bed, i can put in some 5" square pots my uncle gave me. I would guess the less transplanting the better.
I am still ignorant to soils.


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I picked up 60, 18 oz. plastic cups and drilled holes in the bottom for drainage in plans of transplanting sunday. I bought some miracle grow Organic potting Mix and some perlite to mix in for drainage.
Is this a good soil for the seedlings (not much of a selection in my small town) ?
Do i need to mix the perlite, and if so, in what ratio?

Thank you in advance


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Location: Houston, TX

Couple of things

Beware of peat pots... they are a haven for mold. I have sworn off them forever for that reason. Use plastic ones with holes in the bottom instead.

Dill apparently doesn't like being transplanted... So you might want to plant this directly in the pot you want it to live in. It also has a long taproot... so a pot that is vertically long would be good.
Embarking upon the world of indoor organic container gardening

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