Friday, March 5, 2010

Rooting Herbs From The Grocery Store

Spring is almost here and we are having spring like weather!! I am busy planning my garden space, old and new, for this coming season. One thing I want to grow this year are a lot of fresh herbs. I do grow thyme, oregano, sage and chives. This year I am going to add several more to this list.

I have seeds for basils, cilantro, rosemary, dill and a few more that I cannot remember at the moment. These things will grow from seed but it is a slow process, especially for the perennials, so I am 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 terragon cuttings.

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 thingie (its and industry term ;-). 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 well, it can't hurt and it doesn't take up much room in the fridge.

Lay out the branches of the fresh herb. Remove all but a few leaves at the top. One piece with 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, recut 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 awhile before they are so big that they need a pot of their own. I am hoping they can go into the cold frame, or even the ground, by that time.

These are the terragon 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 am looking forward to using these fresh herbs from my garden this year. I use them to make soap, as well as cook with them. One thing I want to make this year is a lot of pesto! I might also make myself some herbal bath oil, hand lotion and hair rinse.


The Japanese Redneck said...

Good luck with the rooting. I know my rosemary is pretty hardy. I have it in a large pot under the porch and it's made it thru 2 snows and a 10 day Arctic Freeze with is crazy here in Mississippi.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

I am sure it will be fine down there. Its perennial up here under all this snow and cold. You gotta love plants like that!

Mrs. T said...

Hi Sheryl:

I'm a fairly new follower of your blog and I really appreciate all of the practical information you offer! Rooting the store-bought herbs is a great idea, which I will happily copy (smile). I'll also be planting some indoor seedlings this weekend. I'll keep checking in for updates!

Mrs. T (Brenda),
Niagara region, Ontario, Canada

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

Hi Mrs. T!
I am so glad you enjoy the blog!

Eggs In My Pocket / Yesteryear Embroideries said...

What a wonderful and clever idea! Thanks for sharing. blessings,Kathleen

Mr. H. said...

Your post got me to thinking about our thyme. I am growing some new plants from seed and will be dividing our older ones this spring but what about rooting some cuttings? Have you ever tried that with thyme? I wonder if they can be propagated in that manner. Very nice and informative blog.:)

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

I have always grown my thyme from seed too. It grows from seed so easily, but it wouldn't hurt to try a few pieces and see. I might experiment with mine too and the oregano.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

What a wonderful idea, I am picking up some fresh herbs my next shopping trip.

Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

One thing that does root wonderfully from the grocery store is watercress. Strip all the bottom leaves off and stick in a small glass of water. It will root shortly and will grow in water or a boggy area. Its also perennial, even here, coming back every year when the ground thaws. Its pretty, with a tiny white flower.

DayPhoto said...

I did not know this and am very excited to try it for myself.

Thank you!!!!


Sheryl at Providence Acres Farm said...

The rosemary rooted well and is growing in my herb garden now!