Those of you who garden, tell me what is wrong with my herbs! - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 7 Old 10-06-2013, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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Those of you who garden, tell me what is wrong with my herbs!

Okay. So, I have a fairly good green thumb. I taught my mother how to not kill every plant she touches and I can bring some plants back seemingly from the dead. I've never had a problem growing things.

But I can not. Grow. Herbs. It's ALWAYS something. I planted a herb box this summer - a big old wooden peaches box. It has basil, another basil species, chives, rosemary, oregano. It did have cilantro, but that died right away. I DID try growing from seed, but only a few basil from all the plants I started made it. I also have a mint box, which is much easier to manage because mint is incredibly tenacious.

It started with a basil rot. A fungus that attacks basil. I ripped out the basil, stuck it in its own pot and nursed it back to health. Then I killed my rosemary somehow. Then the OTHER basil got basil rot. Then my mint got ravished by spider mites (I lost all of y spearmint, and all but a teeensy sprig of Chocolate mint). I finally managed to get the box stable and it FLOURISHED. It thrived so well, I was so excited. All summer I had SO MANY herbs.

Now that I'm back at school, I brought my herbs with me and put them in a sunny windowsill... And they all started to wither and die! Upon investigation, I discovered not only a NASTY infestation of spider mites (Time to get some Mite-X) but some weird white fungus! It's on the underside of my chives (which are not in good health) and all over the leaves that have fallen to the dirt, and near the roots of my Oregano, which is doing the best of all of them.

A picture is attached. WHAT IS IT? How do I get rid of it?! I have a brand new container to plant them into with fresh soil (actually it's a big horse grooming tote with holes drilled in it. Perfect for transporting!). I plan to root the plants and wash them before transplanting, but I want to know before I do.

Also, I don't have *quite* enough new soil for the new container. Would it be okay to use some from the older container if I bake it to kill the mites/fungus, and then mix it into the good new soil?

Thanks if you have any insight. It's Autumn, so I can't just keep going to replace the herbs I kill off - the garden center has stopped ordering herbs! I want some to last the winter!
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post #2 of 7 Old 10-06-2013, 08:05 PM
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I cannot make heads nor tails of that photo. HOwever, in general, herbs like a lot of sun, and actually, not such a rich, humus soil. MOre sand, less nitrogen, and not things like Peat or wood chips that are high in carbon.

Also, some herbs do not like to be next to each other. That might be something to check into . I wold wonder if Rosemary and cilantro can be grown toegether. Cilantro might like a richer soil, whereas Rosemary does not. It is more like a plant that likes a dry , rocky climate. Think "Greece".
Cilantro and basil might be more compatible, and chives is like an onion, so it will go well with tomatoe, if you grew some.
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-06-2013, 08:10 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tinyliny View Post
I cannot make heads nor tails of that photo. HOwever, in general, herbs like a lot of sun, and actually, not such a rich, humus soil. MOre sand, less nitrogen, and not things like Peat or wood chips that are high in carbon.

Also, some herbs do not like to be next to each other. That might be something to check into . I wold wonder if Rosemary and cilantro can be grown toegether. Cilantro might like a richer soil, whereas Rosemary does not. It is more like a plant that likes a dry , rocky climate. Think "Greece".
Cilantro and basil might be more compatible, and chives is like an onion, so it will go well with tomatoe, if you grew some.
Sorry - The pic is of a brown dead leaf in the dirt. The white crap on it is the fungus. Attached are two better pics.

And I did mix in some wood chips into the old soil.. I'll avoid that this time around.

I think in this new box I will try to plant the herbs that like each other in separate sides. My cilantro is sadly no longer with us, but the basil and oregano are supposed to go well together, and rosemary and sage. My chives might be beyond help, too. We'll see... You can see how pitiful they are in the picture!
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File Type: jpg FUNGUS 3.jpg (98.8 KB, 31 views)
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-07-2013, 10:19 AM
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Looks like too much water and too rich of soil, bummer man!

I mix some of my clay soil with a bit of sand and compost and mine have done very well. You may also want to add some worm castings as a tea or top dressing, they have lots of beneficial micro organisms that will help eat fungus and strengthen the plants against any diseases.

A weak spritz of water/oil/dawn will kill aphids and mites.
Just make sure you do it on a cloudy day. Those darn things carry mold and viruses so keeping your box dry and free of bugs will help!

Good luck!

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post #5 of 7 Old 10-07-2013, 10:22 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by FlyGap View Post
Looks like too much water and too rich of soil, bummer man!

I mix some of my clay soil with a bit of sand and compost and mine have done very well. You may also want to add some worm castings as a tea or top dressing, they have lots of beneficial micro organisms that will help eat fungus and strengthen the plants against any diseases.

A weak spritz of water/oil/dawn will kill aphids and mites.
Just make sure you do it on a cloudy day. Those darn things carry mold and viruses so keeping your box dry and free of bugs will help!

Good luck!
Thanks for the reply!

I ended up taking evertything and planting it in a new container, where each plant is in its own removable pot (to cater to different watering needs). The mite plants are segregated from the two new ones - not that I think it'll keep them off, but at least till I can get spray for it. I haven't seen any since I rooted, washed and replanted them... But I know they've gotta be there. You don't get rid of mites that easily!

The Basil I expect to die so I'm just going to try to use it. It's an annual herb and the conditions inside my house do NOT cater to it. The Rosemary apparently likes cool and light or it dies over the winter (is notoriously hard to winter) so... We'll see! This should be interesting. If I can get rid of the mites I think we're in business.
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post #6 of 7 Old 10-07-2013, 11:49 AM
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Let me suggest that you join the gardening forum that I frequent.
TheEasyGarden - Gardening Forum
I am "ducks4you" there.
You need to learn about adequate drainage, # of hours of sunlight--looks like you are growing in the shade, according to your picture--and compost. You soil should be where NOBODY walks on it. After amending clay, your garden/herb garden soil should be so loose that you can dig the hole to plant with your hand. It takes a lot of elbow grease, but fortunately you have a horse, so you can rot manure to amend your soil. At this point you need to be fixing the bed for 2014 planting, but the time spent amending your bed's soil saves you hours of work and watering and weeding.

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post #7 of 7 Old 10-07-2013, 11:58 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Corporal View Post
Let me suggest that you join the gardening forum that I frequent.
TheEasyGarden - Gardening Forum
I am "ducks4you" there.
You need to learn about adequate drainage, # of hours of sunlight--looks like you are growing in the shade, according to your picture--and compost. You soil should be where NOBODY walks on it. After amending clay, your garden/herb garden soil should be so loose that you can dig the hole to plant with your hand. It takes a lot of elbow grease, but fortunately you have a horse, so you can rot manure to amend your soil. At this point you need to be fixing the bed for 2014 planting, but the time spent amending your bed's soil saves you hours of work and watering and weeding.
Thanks for the reply! I actually can't plant outside, so the herbs are in a container. They were on a fully sunny porch all summer and loved it, and I think I may have shocked them by bringing them inside too suddenly. I've since replanted what's left in new individual pots that sit nicely in a horse grooming tote in brand new potting soil (this time without wood chips mixed in). So, nobody walks on it :)

I will look at the garden forum you posted. Herbs are so different than the plants I usually care for - much more demanding when everyone makes it seem so easy!
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