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Growing Kitchen Herbs Fast


Post by community member:

I love growing herbs. I have an herb bed where I have been collecting various herbs for a few years now. I have grown herbs from seed, but it is a slow process. One way I have managed to enlarge my herb bed quickly this year is by rooting herbs from the grocery store. I have had fun attempting to root new plants from fresh pieces I purchased at the grocery store for the cost of a package of seeds. Today I bought rosemary and last week I bought and planted tarragon cuttings. Watercress is another one that has been a great success!

When I look through the packages of fresh herbs at the grocery store, I look for pieces that have tiny bits of root still attached. These will need less time to continue rooting and start growing. I am not sure this is root. It could be a piece of the stem that didn’t break away cleanly but I will leave it there, just in case it is a root piece. I don’t know for certain that rosemary stems will root but I will try it anyway. I am not losing anything, as I will still have the pile of leaves that I stripped from the stems. I can continue to cook with those.

The first thing I did was fill a small container with light potting soil. I buy the inexpensive stuff from WalMart for this. It is better for rooting and seeding if you mix it with perlite, but I am not going to at this point, mainly because I don’t have any at the moment.

I use all kinds of containers to plant in. This is the bottom half of a vegetable juice cocktail jug with holes in the bottom. The aluminum foil is to catch the water that runs through when I water it. Dampen the soil with warm water before starting.

I use rooting hormone gel for this. I put a tiny bit in the corner of a throw away plastic thingy (it’s an industry term LOL!). I keep my rooting hormone gel in the fridge. I have read that this gives it a longer life span. I don’t know this from my own experience, but it can’t hurt and it doesn’t take up much room in the fridge.

I leave it in the box so it’s well labeled. (Who knows what those guys will eat if they find it in the fridge!)

Lay out the branches of the fresh herbs. Remove all but a few leaves at the top. One piece was long enough for me to make two rooting pieces out of it with a few leaves left at the top of each one. When this is done, re-cut the bottoms of all except the pieces with a slight root still attached. Leave that alone.

Dip the end of each piece in the bit of rooting hormone. Poke a small hole in the damp soil and insert the end. Fill in the soil around it.

I plant all pieces in one container together. It takes up less room that way and it will be a while before they are so big that they need a pot of their own. Hopefully they will be rooted in time to put them outside before fall comes. If not, they will grow on the kitchen window sill.

These are the tarragon cuttings I rooted a few days ago. They wilted at first but seem to be perking up now. I did not cover these with anything but I am going to put a bag over the rosemary to help keep them moist while they root.

Put the cuttings in a light place but not in direct sunlight until you see real new leaf growth.

I have been using these fresh herbs from my garden this year. One thing I want to make this year is a lot of pesto. There is just so much you can do with fresh herbs!

You can also find Sheryl at Providence Acres.

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Posted by on August 29, 2010 | Permalink  

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8 comments | RSS feed for comments of this post

  1. 8-29

    Great idea, Sherryl! I’ve never had much luck with rosemary here, but will have to try your system. Maybe that will finally be the answer.


  2. 8-29

    Great post ūüôā This looks so easy I’m going to give it a try.

    Darlene in Ks

  3. 8-29

    The tarragon didn’t make it but the rosemary went on to root very well and is growing in the garden now. Watercress is great on sandwiches and in salads and grows very well from grocery store cuttings, but it has to grow in water. If you have a pond or a stream, its great and perennial too! Mint roots very well, as do oregano, basil and thyme.

  4. 8-29

    Thanks, Sheryl! You are a wealth of information. Even though we farm and I’m the resident “greenhouse princess”, I always seem to learn something new from your posts here and your own blog. Keep up the good work.

  5. 8-30

    Enjoyed your article about potting herbs. I live in zone 5 and my rosemary is brought into the house for the winter To keep it through the winter I keep it in a cool room and mist it almost daily.
    Something that I am enjoying this year is basil. I took cutting from my outdoor plant and placed the cuttings in water and they have rooted. I shall have to pot them in the near future. I am going to try and winter the basil over. It is Italian basil that has grown roots. Have you wintered basil over?

  6. 8-30

    Thanks so much, everyone! I am so glad the post was helpful!

    I have not wintered over basil yet, but might do so this year. I was planning on leaving my rosemary in the garden, but I think I might pot it up this fall and bring it in. I’m in zone 5 too.

  7. 8-30

    How completely brilliant of you! Not many people would even think about propagating packaged herbs ūüôā

  8. 10-23

    Basil doesn’t transfer well… but if you let one plant go to seed (one will give way too many seeds) dry the seeds well and then plant them in 3 week intervals, you will have year around basil. a well lit window is all you need. Freezing areas need to keep leaves away from the glass but it even grows in January in Montana. Also I think rosemary thinks it’s a weed, cuttings will even root.

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