Culinary Herbs: Indoor window, or small space, plantings.

Well we must be on track for as I sit to write Prairie Home Companion  is running their Spring Time Planting Show! If it is springtime in Minnesota it must be springtime, or moving into summer, pretty much everywhere here in the USA! So I write and I listen…

The Plan for the week is Culinary Herbs, for it mixes the Art of Food, ( blogged here on 5/18 ) and the Art of Gardening (blogged  here too many times to count) and to us that is a Great Combo! Our featured Spokes-Creature will be Milly since she is the grower from our Herb Seed Contest.   As you may remember, Milly and Tilly are the greeting committee for Botaniumus therefore, it also seems perfect that Milly is greeting the new cycle of plants called Springtime. In honor of this week Milly went shopping, naturally she wears “Eco” clothes, check out her original Basil Skirt (A Birdelli Original) . You gotta luv those stores in Botaniumus!

Milly in a Birdelli Original "Basil Skirt"
Milly in a Birdelli Original "Basil Skirt" and Flower Flip Flops

Herbs are wonderful; you can plant a glorious garden using exclusively Herbs. You can grow your garden on window sills if need be, or you could do a vast vista of grander as far as you can see! Each day this week we will think and chat about a “venue” for your Herbs. Herbs by Wiki definition.” A herb is a plant that is valued for flavor, scent, medicinal or other qualities. Herbs are used in cooking, as medicines, and for spiritual purposes…Culinary use of the term “herb” typically distinguishes between herbs, from the leafy green parts of a plant (either fresh or dried), and spices, from other parts of the plant (usually dried), including seeds,berries, bark, root and fruit. Culinary herbs are distinguished from vegetables in that, like spices, they are used in small amounts and provide flavor rather than substance to food.”

Today, Monday, We will start at the most contained versions of Herbs, i.e. potted herbs on your indoor window sill (or an edge of a Fire Escape, a corner of a balcony, any small space.) Tuesday: Out Door Potted Herbs. Wednesday: Herbs in the ground. Thursday Fresh Herbs in the Kitchen (yum) and naturally, Friday is Fun Fact (Herb) Friday. Before we venture any further you may ask: Why bother with growing your own Herbs? Milly and I love to cook when we can share the food with others. Guess what? We think the pleasure of growing our own,  nurturing them as they grow is grand in itself. Then, that they nurture us back by being beautiful for our visual sense and likely a delight for our nose sense (scent) makes the process a near perfect synergistic grow. So get your Grown Going and let’s get to it!

How to start:
Select the herbs you enjoy the most.  Pick your sunniest window sill, South (or South West)  facing is ideal if possible. If you live in a dark home, use grow lights.  Herbal plants prefer at least five hours of sunlight per day and keep them from enduring drafts.
•Start with a grown plant, grow from seeds, or buy a kit, which you can find pretty much at every garden center or big store this time of year.
•If you start with a potted herb, be sure to put a saucer under it to protect your sill. If you are doing the seed thing, be sure to thin out when you have a bunch of little shoots so the roots of only a few have a good start.
•Water: Be careful about the amount of water you give your herbal plants. They don’t do well in damp soil, so water sparingly, but don’t forget all about them and leave them parched.

In a few weeks time…

♥ You have now added color and fragrance to your room.  Now your window may inspire new and wonderful creations in your kitchen. How great that!   Have some fun and enjoy.♥

Organic  “A windowsill kitchen garden: Grow great tasting herbs indoors.

You can grow herbs indoors during the winter and add that just-picked taste to your meals, even when snow is drifting up against the kitchen window. You don’t even need special lights—herbs fare just fine in a bright window. Here are the best herbs for growing on windowsills and the smart techniques you need to keep them happy and healthy until you can plant outside again.

Smart Techniques for Growing Herbs IndoorsRooting a cutting. 
Many herbs—including oregano, thyme, rosemary, and sage—are best propagated for indoor growing by taking a cutting from an existing outdoor plant. To do it, snip off a 4-inch section, measured back from the tip. Strip off the lower leaves and stick the stem into moist, soilless mix, such as perlite and/or vermiculite. To ensure good humidity, cover with glass or clear plastic, and keep the growing medium-moist.”

Transition to indoors
Before the first fall frost (while the weather is still on the mild side), start moving your potted herb plants toward their winter home. Instead of bringing them directly inside, put them in a bright, cool “transitional zone,” such as a garage, entryway, or enclosed porch, for a few weeks.

Once they’ve acclimated, move them to an area with lots of sun (south-facing windows are brightest, followed by east or west views). But protect them from heat and dryness. Most herbs prefer daytime temperatures of about 65 to 70 degrees F, although they can withstand climbs into the 70s. It’s especially important that night temperatures drop at least 10 degrees—down into the 50s would be better—to simulate outdoor conditions.

With the exception of basil, they’ll even do well with occasional dips into the 40s. (So turn that thermostat down when you go to bed.) Place them outside on mild days, and give them regular baths to wash off dust.

Water, light, and temperature
Most herbs like to be well watered but don’t like wet feet. That’s why good drainage is important. Water when the top of the container feels dry, or learn to judge the moisture in the soil by the weight of the pot. Add sand or vermiculite to the potting soil to ensure good drainage.

Learn to juggle water, light, and temperature. A herb in a clay pot in a south-facing window will need more water than one in a plastic pot in an east, or west, facing window. If the light is low, keep the temperature low.  page 2 of the article is pest control .. page 3 is

Ten Best Herbs for Indoors ( Milly adds – “Only if you like these flavors, use your favorites”)

Basil: Start basil from seeds and place the pots in a south-facing window—it likes lots of sun and warmth.

Bay: A perennial that grows well in containers all year-long. Place the pot in an east, or west, facing window, but be sure it does not get crowded—bay needs air circulation to remain healthy.

Chervil: Start chervil seeds in late summer. It grows well in low light but needs 65 to 70 degrees F temperatures to thrive.

Chives: Dig up a clump from your garden at the end of the growing season and pot it up. Leave the pot outside until the leaves die back. In early winter, move the pot to your coolest indoor spot (such as a basement) for a few days, then finally to your brightest window.

Oregano: Your best bet is to start with a tip cutting from an outdoor plant. Place the pot in a south-facing window.

Parsley: You can start this herb from seeds or dig up a clump from your garden at the end of the season. Parsley likes full sun, but will grow slowly in an east, or west, facing window.

Rosemary: Start with a cutting of rosemary, and keep it in moist soilless mix until it roots. It grows best in a south-facing window.

Sage: Take a tip cutting from an outdoor plant to start an indoor sage. It tolerates dry, indoor air well, but it needs the strong sun it will get in a south-facing window.

Tarragon: A dormant period in late fall or early winter is essential for tarragon to grow indoors. Pot up a mature plant from your outdoor garden and leave it outside until the leaves die back. Bring it to your coolest indoor spot for a few days, then place it in a south-facing window for as much sun as possible. Feed well with an organic liquid fertilizer.

Thyme: You can start thyme indoors either by rooting a soft tip cutting or by digging up and potting an outdoor plant. Thyme likes full sun but will grow in an east, or west, facing window.”

Gardening for beginners and the magic of gardening.

If your neighbor’s garden has you green with envy, it’s time to dig in and play dirty by planting your own garden. Celebrate the Earth, after all Earth Day is tomorrow!

“If spring has sprung and you’ve just decided to plant a garden, start with the small ready-to-go plants at the store and look forward to the joy of starting your own seeds for next season.

One of the biggest decisions you’ll make is where to plant your garden. Choose a spot with sun and shade, and away from tree roots and large bushes. Once the area is defined and the soil is fertilized and loose, you can draw lines to mark off where each item will be planted. Use the stick and string method to help you keep straight lines and an organized well-kept garden. Root vegetables grow nicely in rows; other veggies, fruits and herbs can be contained in square spaces.” mother nature network – check her out- tons of great stuff!  The above is from

We here at The Botanical Beauties and Beasties garden are focusing on Herbs this year. We love containers for what we have is a deck, a bit of soil area, and some windows. No big yard here to grown on/in/from.

Today myself, and the Beauties, decided we would talk about the magic of gardening. Besides the little elfin like Beautie who has shown up each day this week, there is much more magic in gardens to be discovered. Being in the Boston region, I have decided to use a quote form John Quincy Adams. “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

I doubt he wrote this about gardens but it does epitomize the magic! When you garden, you get to use all parts of your body, brain and soul. That alone is like magic.  The body part: Obviously  it can be hard work and you may indeed you may have tried and soar muscles from the prep and the planting. The brain part: What fun to sit and dream in the winter what your garden will be, the cliché of looking at garden catalogues and seed packages! The brain makes up the plan, the brain makes up the dream of all the good things to come from your garden no matter how big or small it may be.  The soul:  Beauty of a flower, the satisfactions of your crops, the sheer simple joy of a single bloom – that’s soul food!   Need I point pout that a garden takes enormous patience and perseverance? I think not!  The piece you may be missing out on is: A garden, all the planning, the work, the caring and watching over, all that indeed can take over your mind and not only can the gardens difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish, but some of life’s other ones may too due to your new focus and creation.  Now, that’s Soul food X10!

Elf peeking out from the Herb of Rosemary