Becoming a Gardener: Growing Herbs

Shout out to my gardening friends for consult: having never grown herbs, I have no idea how big these are supposed to get. I think they are coming along nicely, but when are they ready to pick? Two or three inches? Five or six inches? More?

5 thoughts on “Becoming a Gardener: Growing Herbs

  1. You’ve got a ways to go yet! When you plant from seed, there is something called “thinning out,” gently pulling out some of the starts from a full cluster, so the other ones have more room to grow. I’d especially try this with the basil now. At certain stages (maybe a bit larger) you can transplant to another pot if the roots are strong, or you can just toss. Sometimes you have to thin at several stages. The dill will get heads and the basil and cilantro will get leaves. Parsley will start looking like parsley. You’ll be able to tell when they start looking like a usable plant. The plant most likely to take over is the basil, because they bush out. At some stage you may want to take them out of the box and plant in another pot. Good job so far – these look good!

  2. Not much to add here other than I like to eat the thinned little plants. It’s partly my ingrained reluctance to waste anything, but mostly, I think, it’s admiration for the ambition of these tiny plants — but thinning is really a must. And yes, good job!

  3. for Phyllis and Jeannie: Well I’m glad I asked!!!!! And glad for the specificity of the answers. Nothing is obvious when doing it for the first time.

  4. You got great advice from Phyllis and Jeannie!..the herbs look nice and healthy and each one of them will get considerably bigger over the next few months. The heights vary a lot depending on the variety you planted: Dill 10- 48” tall; oregano 8-24″ tall, basil 16-30” tall; parsley 12-18” tall, and cilantro 12-18″ tall. As to when to harvest, once they have gotten big enough, I tend to pick leaves as I need them to cook with throughout the summer. You can also decide to dry them at the end of the season for winter use. You can pull the whole plant, brush the dirt off the roots, hang the plant upside down to dry or place upside down in a brown paper bag.

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