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Growing Herbs At Home [split from Toronto]

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Not an immediate solution, but if you have a backyard or balcony, or even window ledge inside, you can grow many herbs yourself. Some condos have rooftop areas that can be used, or you may have a balcony. My mother does really well growing on her condo balcony. Many people in ground floor condos/apartments manage to have a little plot if they have an outside patio door. But maybe your condo has rules that prohibit growing your own?
Harvest fresh as you need them during the summer. In late fall, harvest and dry the plant and you'll have herbs all year at a fraction of the cost of buying them.

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  1. No balcony or communal garden at my condo, but I do have bay windows with about 6 feet of accessible window sill (the rest is hidden behind shelving and other furniture). They face northeast, so direct sunlight only comes in during the morning. I don't have much of a green thumb, unfortunately. Any suggestions for herbs that can flourish indoors and don't require much maintenance? I need to start slowly. ;-)

    5 Replies
    1. re: traycer

      A bay window is a good location for a few herb pots. Many basic herbs will thrive, at least for a few months, maybe longer.

      Look for parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, chives, dill. fennel, or maybe even tarragon.
      They will take water once or twice a week, and I wouldn't worry about any other care, until you know each one.

      1. re: jayt90

        Thanks, jayt90. Tarragon and chives would likely be at the top of my list, since they don't seem to like being frozen. Rosemary and thyme lose their fresh colour in the freezer, but (at least to me) their flavours emerge when thawed.

        1. re: traycer

          If we are talking about Toronto, I lived in a condo with a large balcony facing due north. The only herbs I could grow were parsely, basil and lemon balm. Even my mint died.
          The first year I planted flowers and tons of herbs which all died except the 3 above. I had huge container pots and these 3 grew like bushes. A beautiful site and lasted until Hallowe'en.
          Previoulsy, when I lived in a condo facing west, I grew everything including dill, green onions and even lettuce on my balcony.
          Now I am facing south at last. I even managed to keep my rosemary growing throughout the winter in a large window. Oh joy. I bought some herb plants today and have them in the window until it is warm enough to move them outside: after Victoria Day.
          I am wondering if I should start some plants by seed indoors or is it too late already?

          1. re: Smachnoho

            You can get small pots of your favorite producers at a garden center. French tarragon has to come from a pot, as it won't go to seed.

            The more obscure and interesting herbs can be ordered from www.richters.com but it is a bit late for some. Most seeds will grow and mature by September. The critical ones that have to be started indoors in March are tomatoes and some annual flowers such as zinnia. As for herbs Richter's can advise you by phone, or maybe even e mail.

      2. re: traycer

        I have been growing Parsley (curly & Italian), chives, garlic chives, rosemary, thyme and spearmint in windows for several years. Starting most (except rosemary) from seed anytime is easy if you are not planting outdoors. One tip; put the mint in a large pot and keep it trimmed--it tends to spread. I don't grow the taller herbs indoors.

      3. I also live in Toronto, but up until now,on my fire escape which faces south, I have only tried basil (because the squirrels don't seem to like it). You are encouraging me torontovore and smachnoho, to branch out (so to speak!).

        So mint and parsley...what else? anybody had any luck with coriander? mine 'bolted' straight to seed last time I tried.