Monday, 29 March 2010

What to do with the coriander and basil...?

The herb pots have been on the go for about a month now but I'm getting a little worried about the coriander and basil pots. I think that we might need to thin out the coriander as it has gone a little haywire and the stems are all very floppy and unable to support the weight of the leaves. I was wondering whether anyone had any advice on whether it will be possible to pull out and repot some of the individual plants or if that is likely to be tricky - they were grown from "seed mats". Are seed mats usually designed for the seeds to be spaced far enough apart that they shouldn't need thinning or not?

As for the basil, it just seems to be looking a little on the yellow side rather than the bright green that I was expecting. Might this be because the compost is running out of nutrients? I wasn't expecting that to happen so quickly so am thinking that probably isn't the case but can't think what else it might be unless it is also an overcrowding issue.

Any thoughts?


  1. Welcome to Blotanical Amy! I have not used seedmats before but I do grow basil every year. It seems very early if you have started them from seed - I don't usually start mine off until the middle of April :)

  2. I know that coriander does not mind a little cool air, so if you could get the seedlings out, you might be able to just plant them outdoors. I've never tried to transplant coriander as I always just throw the seeds on the ground in the fall and they come up in the early spring on their own (and I live where it gets really cold!). It will be interesting to know how that goes for you.

    Basil for sure can be transplanted. As for the yellow - perhaps too much water? I rarely have to water my basil, and I know that yellowing can be a sign of either over-watering or low nitrogen. Maybe your compost was not balanced and does not have enough nitrogen.

    Just some ideas :)
    Good luck!

  3. I'm with Anna on the basil - i haven't started mine yet - it does sound as if the light levels may be a bit low and the watering a bit high - but good luck.

  4. Thanks for all the comments guys. I think that overwatering might have been it with the basil as following on from the sunflowers all wilting I've been watering all of the seedlings every day but I'll try cutting down on the amount of water I'm giving the basil and see how I do...

  5. You might be able to move the corriander, but bear in mind that it's really not keen on having its roots disturbed. Last year I got a pot of corriander from the garden centre and grew it in a spare spot in my strawberry planter (which will probably be repurposed as a herb bed this year) - I broke the root ball into 2 so I had 2 plants with a bit more space and it sulked for a good few days... the pot my girlfriend put into her garden without breaking up the roots did a lot better.

    It couldn't hurt to try, but I think if I was growing in such a confined space I'd probably be really brutal and keep only the strongest looking plants when it came to space.

    I'm just about to put a link to your blog over on mine (I see you've already put up a link - thanks!) I'll definitely be keeping an eye on yours - I'm looking forwards to seeing how you get on when the plants start to get closer to their mature sizes (tomatoes, sunflowers (obviously) and corriander can get pretty big).

    Good luck!

  6. Thanks for the advice and for putting a link from your blog across to mine! I've decided with the coriander that I'll leave it as is for a while and see how it goes. It's starting to look like we might be able to take a leaf or two to flavour some dishes with shortly.

    As for the tomatoes and sunflowers, I've got dwarf varieties that are supposed to be good for containers so am hoping that they will remain manageable on the windowsill but we'll have to wait and see!

  7. I've not managed to get them to germinate yet (my fault and inexperience I think... take 2 starting with a different medium tomorrow) but there's a variety called Red Robin which is meant to grow to about a foot/30cm. Rumour has it that it's good for cropping on a windowsill even through the winter! The picture I've seen suggests it will do well in a 30cm/12" pot so 2' 60cm in total. Not bad really.
    Is that one of the ones you've got?

    Bon apetit with the corriander. I'm looking forwards to having some nice, fresh, home-grown herbs to use in the kitchen again this year... I'll be growing a LOT more this time too. The plan is to have enough to use fresh and also to dry out and store. I've got more corriander seeds than I know what to do with though, so I think I'll be growing a leaf variety like Cilantro this year. I didn't even bother saving most of the seeds I got last year.


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