Warm Earth

Well, I was feeling a little down about the whole herb garden after seeing the beautiful rosemary at the Italian restaurant on Thursday because my herbs have never gotten much bigger than they were when I bought them.  And the basil had decided that it was more of a topiary than an herb.

So, I renewed my lease and decided to pull up the dead bushes in front of our place and put the herbs by the front door.  They’ll get a might less sun than they were getting on the other side of the door, but I have to believe they’ll be happier because, y’all, when I unpotted them, they were all rootbound!  Miles, it seemed like, of roots winding around and around the bottoms of the boxes and intertwining with each other into almost a giant brick of plant matter.  Seriously, each box held two herbs and I had to hack each brick of dirt in two to separate them.

Playing in the dirt was a blast, though.  I weeded and took all the potting soil I could find from in the house and just dug my fingers into the warm, moist earth until the potting soil was pretty well mixed in with the regular dirt and it was all black and rich and wet and smelled so good.

Then I dug some holes and loosened the roots and stuck them in and gave them a bunch of water, which will hopefully be enough.  Here is my question for you, knowledgeable readers.  Should I continue to water them the amount I was watering them in the boxes or should I water them more now that they have more dirt from which to draw nutrients or what?

I think they look happy.  The Professor thinks that’s hilarious.


9 thoughts on “Warm Earth

  1. They will want an inch or an inch and a half of water a week over the whole area around them. Now that we’re getting some rain, just top them up to that level once a week and they should do fine. But the basil’s gonna die as soon as it gets chilly, because you won’t be able to take it indoors.

  2. I’d say water well for the first week to help them establish in their new home, put down some mulch (straw is good) to help keep moisture in the soil, and then water ever other day or so – more if the weather is hot. They should need less now they are out of pots.
    And watch out for the cats, they just LOVE freshly turned soil.

  3. I figure if I didn’t manage to kill them over our brutal summer, whatever I do to them this fall will go okay. The only thing I was disturbed about, well, two things really, one is that there appears to be a hard layer of just yuck and construction debris down about five inches. I hope that’s not a problem. And two, when I was digging, I didn’t come across any earthworms. Isn’t that weird? The next time we get a good rain, I’m going to pick up a few off the sidewalk and deposit them in that bed.

  4. It’s not weird if you’ve got a big layer of yuck and debris underneath. That area of dirt is probably cut off from the larger dirt universe and all its inhabitants. You ought to do what dmm says and mulch it, too, to start putting and keeping some good stuff in the soil.

  5. Aunt B-
    The soil still looks really dry, you only watered around the plants themselves, so the rest of the soil is going to wick the moisture out. Water the whole area well. Then mulch well, I would use shredded bark or something more attractive than straw since it’s by the house (isn’t it?). If you work some organic matter into the soil such as sphagnum peat moss, it will hold the moisture. I would buy a couple issues of Organic Gardening, or go online to find it. That way you can learn more about what to do with your soil. It looks like your soil is high in decomposed peat, since it’s really dark. But without more fresh organic matter, leaves, etc. it will be really dry. Also, you may want to get a soil testing kit, as peat is highly acidic, maybe too much for herbs. All the best, Dena.

  6. Shut up! You can tell what’s in dirt just by looking at it?! I clearly am dipping a toe in a vast ocean of knowledge. I’m just excited because I realized when watering that I need a watering can because hauling orange juice container amounts of water back and forth is just not going to cut it (and makes it a pain in the butt to try to get the whole area sufficiently wet). A watering can! I have never owned a watering can. Should I start composting and putting my compost on it? I’m not sure where I’d have room for a compost pile, though, that’s the only thing.

    I could drive up to Mack’s house in the middle of the night and steal compost from him.

    Y’all intimidate me with your smarts but also it delights me that I can just ask this stuff and answers come out of my computer in friendly knowledgeable voices like magic.

  7. No worms is bad, good soil has worms. Perhaps a trip to a garden store is a good idea, to buy a bag of cow poo – something organic to help build up the soil. When we dig we get loads and loads of lovely worms (not wanting to show off or anything, it’s just that we put in loads of animal poo, and compost and mulch and ,,, well the reward is worms)

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