Have herbs, will (not) travel

Thursday, March 29, 2007
This is the collection of herbs I started from seed in January. I have marjoram, Russian tarragon, Thai basil, summer savory, calendula and parsley.


What I meant to say was: I had all of these herbs, until I transplanted them to a new pot. I thought they would look smashing nestled all together in this brand new terra-cotta pot -- at least until I could move them to their final destination outdoors.

The marjoram and Thai basil settled into their new digs immediately -- clearly the adaptable ones -- but that wasn't the case for the rest. I lost about half the tarragon and calendula. And almost all the summer savory bit the dust within 24 hours. Lesson learned by novice gardener: Some herbs don't travel well. Sow them in a permanent location from the start.

11 Comments:

Blogger Ed Bruske said...

Christa, I've had no luck at all transplanting savory either. From my experience, it's a pretty tender plant. You can't hardly kill marjoram or oregano. But I'm wondering, what do you plan to do with the Russian tarragon. The tarragon we use in cooking is French tarragon, which cannot be planted from seed. I've always heard that the Russian version is pretty rank.

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

It may be a matter of hardening. Did you move them gradually outdoors? Not hardening plants is a sure way to kill them.

I usually harden my plants over the course of a week, 15 minutes outside the first day, 30 minutes the second, etc. I also move them gradually from a shady area into full sun in the process.

8:02 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

Ed,
We grew wonderful French tarragon (from a transplant) last year and this year we just wanted to see what Russian tarragon was like. I'd read that its flavor is inferior to the French variety, but I wanted to try it anyway and see for myself. It doesn't seem to have much fragrance at all and the leaves taste to me kind of like...parsley. I am not sure what we're going to do with it. I am hoping our French tarragon suvived the winter outside. It looks like it's starting to show signs of life again.

Patrick,
Do indoor plants have to be hardened before transplanting, too? I was just moving them from one indoor pot to another (bigger) indoor pot, so I didn't think it was necessary to do the hardening step. That poor summer savory looked miserable as soon as its roots touched the new soil.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Genie said...

Christa, that's interesting. I'm sorry the transplanting didn't work, and wish I could offer some advice...I think you were brave to transplant! I probably would have just wussed out.

I learned something today though -- I never realized there was French and Russian Tarragon. Now I know. :-)

By the way, congratulations on your Best of Blogs finalist status! Best wishes in the voting -- I'm cheering for one of us to win, since we're the gardening reps in the bunch!

Genie

2:00 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

I'm sorry, I misread your post. I saw terra-cotta and thought outside. No, hardening wasn't the issue of course. It's really strange they died that way...

2:25 PM  
Blogger Rosengeranium said...

I'm almost as lousy at transplanting plants as I am on watering (self watering pots forever!!!). I know how it feels. My plan is to try again and transplant the plants when they are bigger than I think they need to be - this might work.

2:52 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

What a pity that you lost a part of your herbs. Okay, I learnt this lesson and should sow my hearbs direclty at my little herb border. By the way, I just did a post about herbs, you are more than welcome to pass by my blog!

Have a great Sunday, Christa!

4:05 PM  
Blogger Ed Bruske said...

Instead of transplanting, you might try starting herbs in a peat pot indoors, then just plant the whole pot when you move it outside. We did this successfully with numerous herbs (vegetables too) when we built the huge container garden at my daughter's charter school last year. The roots grow right through the peat pot and into the surrounding soil. Eventually the peat pot just dissolves into the soil and the plant never knows the difference.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

Ed,
The peat pots sound like a great idea. Homemade newspaper pots would probably do the trick, too, now that I think about it.

9:08 PM  
Anonymous Sandy said...

Christa. thanks to you, the rosemary on my windowsill is beautiful. I read one of your posts a month or so ago about over watering them, so I am careful now, not to drown it.

Some of my hardiest herbs were started from seed, and I guess flowers as well. Did you keep the ones you started under a grow light?

11:38 AM  
Blogger Christa said...

Hi Sandy,
That's great news about your rosemary! I feel so badly about killing mine, but it's nice to know that my experience was at least helpful to owners of rosemary plants elsewhere. I hope yours continues to thrive. I am trying to grow new ones from seed; I have three tiny plants -- so far, so good!

I started all of my herbs under grow lights and now I have them on the windowsill. Eventually I want to move them all outside... when it gets warm. I can't believe we have snow in the forecast tonight!

7:40 PM  

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