Can I plant it?
September 11, 2016 3:17 PM   Subscribe

I got this cute indoor herb garden in a box from OSH. Neither the plastic liner nor the wood box have any drainage holes. If I plant it (basil, parsley, and subbing cilantro for thyme), will the lack of drainage become an issue? I was planning on leaving it outside on our balcony (in CA), if that makes a difference.

Bonus Q: How often should I water them? There are no instructions given, and last time I had a basil plant I managed to kill it within a week.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
All these herbs are generally planted in the spring. If you plant them outdoors, they may make it but will probably struggle. If it freezes where you live in CA, they will die and probably not come back in the spring since they have not had time to re-seed in the short growing season that remains.

As far as watering, if you put them on a sunny shelf indoors, water when the top of the soil looks dry. But, yeah, it is really essential that you add drain holes.
posted by eleslie at 3:56 PM on September 11, 2016

l would punch holes in the plastic liner and put gravel in the wood box. Further, once the plants are a couple of inches high, I would move them into separate clay pots. Based on my perhaps irrelevant experience*, all three will outgrown that little box in no time.

*Outdoor gardens in IL. Basil, for example, was bush-size by the end of the summer. I washed it in the bathtub before making a gallon of pesto.
posted by she's not there at 3:58 PM on September 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

There are pots that go in the plastic liner, right? I think the plastic is supposed to keep the wood from getting wet if you overwater, like a saucer for a houseplant. Don't water too much (and take the pots out and tip the water out of the liner if you do or if it gets a lot of rain) and you'll be fine.
posted by mskyle at 5:17 PM on September 11, 2016

Response by poster: Nope, no pots that came with it. :/
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 5:20 PM on September 11, 2016

Like mskyle, I feel like you're missing a couple of pieces. First, some seed starter trays, and maybe one of the liners to put them in. Second, that clear plastic thing couldn't be a dome, could it? They're really common in seed propagation kits.

Lacking those things, I'd proceed more or less as she's not there suggests.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 7:12 PM on September 11, 2016

I would punch some holes in the plastic, those plants will be much happier with good drainage. However it's possible there are no drainage holes because the stain on the wood is unsealed and water based. If this will be a problem where you put it, you should avoid holes.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:46 PM on September 11, 2016

It's hard to say how often to water them without any idea of sun, wind, or planting media. The best answer is always a variation of keep it moist until your seedlings have their first proper leaves, then water when the top inch of soil is dry.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:48 PM on September 11, 2016

Most herbs like to thoroughly dry out between watering so you would need to add drain holes for sure. Also many seeds will not sprout if the number of daylight hours in a day is not sufficient or is declining. I doubt you would have much luck starting this in the fall. Then lastly, even if something was able to sprout and grow, this box looks too small for a single plant to be successful, let alone several plants.
posted by WalkerWestridge at 9:14 PM on September 11, 2016

Hot nail to punch hole in plastic, then line the wooden box with a plastic bag, and make sure you don't overwater. This is too small to do anything but start your herbs indoors and get them ready for transplant into bigger pots. You'll have to harden them off to get them used to being outside.
posted by BlueHorse at 8:08 AM on September 13, 2016

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