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Indoor growing guide

April 23, 2008

Growing herbs inside is just as easy as outdoor gardening and requires the same conditions: plenty of sunlight and well-drained soil.

When growing indoor herbs:

· Mix two parts sterilized potting soil and one part coarse sand or perlite. Add 1 teaspoon of lime per 5-inch pot or a cut of ground limestone per bushel of soil to ensure soil sweetness. Place an inch of gravel at the bottom of each pot to ensure good drainage.

· Select a south- or west-facing window that gets lots of sun. "Grow lamps" or florescent lamps are good supplements.

· Mist and group plants on a tray of moistened pebbles to help them in humid conditions. Add water to the soil, but do not drench the herbs and avoid getting their roots soggy.

Other tips:

· Annuals, which live for one year, can spend their full life cycles in an indoor pot. Examples: anise, basil, chervil, coriander, dill and summer savory

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· Perennials, which live for more than one year, do better when placed outside during the summer. Examples: chives, fennel, lovage, marjoram, mint, tarragon, thyme and winter savory

· A light frost is helpful for mint, chives and tarragon because the chill tends to induce a rest period and make the resulting new growth firm and fresh.

- Source: Information provided by Annette Ipsan, Master Gardener coordinator and horticulture educator with the Washington County office of the Maryland Cooperative Extension

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