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Old 05-02-2012, 01:35 PM   #1
3boysforme
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Default What am I doing wrong?

My little herb garden is dying . I am not sure what I am doing wrong but I have some pics.











I water every other day, do I need to do it everyday? It has been warm here, around 90f. They are in regular potting mix.
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Old 05-02-2012, 01:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

Pardon me while I go convert that to Celcius ... 32˚C... ahh. That's waaaaay too hot for pots that small to be out in the sun all day. As far as how often to water, you need to feel the soil (we can't tell you X times a day or every X days because it varies by the weather). The soil should feel like a wet – but not soggy – sponge. If it's not, they need water. If it is, leave them be. You could use more soil in those pots, too. Fill 'em nearly to the top (take the plant out first, like you're potting on). Deeper soil = more room for roots and more medium to hold water reserves. What do you have there? It's hard to tell from the angle you took the photos. Basil, parsley and... ?
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:07 PM   #3
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Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

I have Basil, Lavendar, Chives (that seem to be doing ok) and Dill. I have Cilantro too, but it is beyond help I believe (it has already bolted).

Do they need bigger pots?
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

Can't tell because of the angle of the photos.
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Old 05-02-2012, 02:58 PM   #5
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Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

The pots are small. Six inches I believe.
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

It's really hard to tell. What kind of soil is it?
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:09 PM   #7
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Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

the smaller the pot, the more affected the plant is by heat. I learned that from my container garden experiment a few years back.

Cilantro starts to bolt once it hits about 80-85. I live in an area where its almost useless to grow cilantro (unless you're purposefully growing it for coriander seeds) You might get better results if you grow it inside the house in a window.

Besides that i'm not sure how to help you. Basil is usually really, really hardy. If it starts to wilt, you just water it and it usually perks right up. Perhaps in the heat, it should be shaded more? I'm not sure. I'm pretty new at gardening as well
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Old 05-02-2012, 03:13 PM   #8
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Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

That should be big enough for what you have in there, as long as you're keeping an eye on them. I think once you pot them up with more soil and start watering them according to need, they'll perk right up. You haven't put rocks in the bottom of those pots, right? They're not necessary as long as there are holes in the bottom (they take up space that could be holding soil) and your potting medium drains well. You need to feed potted plants regularly, too, but I assume you're doing that, right?
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Old 05-02-2012, 05:02 PM   #9
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Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabbit View Post
It's really hard to tell. What kind of soil is it?
It's just a regular cheap potting soil.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Macky View Post
You need to feed potted plants regularly, too, but I assume you're doing that, right?


What is this "feed them" you speak of?



Sam- my cilantro bolted really quick. Maybe I will try indoors with that one.
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:25 PM   #10
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i think the basil will do better in the shade.

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Old 05-02-2012, 06:26 PM   #11
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Default Re: What am I doing wrong?

Cheap potting soil is cheap for a reason. Drainage is usually poor, which means the soil gets compacted and the roots can't get the air they need, which can cause them to rot. It usually doesn't retain water well either. Occasionally, unscrupulous manufacturers will use contaminated ingredients as well. So yeah, not a good situation for the plants.

Some potting soil comes with slow-release fertilizer already in it (granules gradually dissolve over time, releasing multiple layers of fertilizer). Most doesn't, especially the cheap stuff. You need to fertilize them because there are essentially no nutrients in potting soil. In fact, there isn't usually any "soil" at all in potting soil. It's usually made up of: mostly peat moss (varies widely in quality), perlite (drainage) compost (varies widely in quality and can be from contaminated sources) and sometimes some vermiculite (water and nutrient retention).

Good potting mixes will use MUCH better quality peat (that won't compact on the roots), a wetting agent (surfactant), lime (to counter the acidity of the peat) and various micronutrients and other things you'd find in natural soils. Consumer potting soils often have gel beads that help retain water as well, releasing it to the plant slowly.

Back to fertilizer, though. You need to "feed" them regularly when they're in pots because otherwise they won't get the nutrients they need to grow well. Fertilizers you'll find in the stores have three numbers on the front: the first represents nitrogen (N), the second is phosphorous (P) and the third is potassium (K). Plants need other things, too, but you're just starting out, so let's stick with the basics. You tend to use more nitrogen on plants that you're growing for the leaves (herbs are in this category, lettuce, kale, etc.) Phosphorous is said to encourage root growth (thus often used for young transplants). Potash promotes health and fruiting.

We're sticking with the basics, though, right. Go get yourself a fertilizer where all three number are the same; it doesn't matter what the numbers are, just that they're all the same. If the numbers are higher, you just use less; if they're lower, you use more. When all the numbers are the same, it's called a "balanced" or "all-purpose" fertilizer. Then just follow the label. If they give you a range of frequency, err on the side of too little rather than too much. Over-fertilizing can cause "salts" to build up in the soil of potted plants and you don't want that.
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