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January Blues


I’ve seen everyone else is suffering from the same pangs I am: I’m ready for spring! I miss gardening! I need warmth and sunlight!

So, to try and improve my mood a bit, I’m attempting to plan next summer’s garden. Since I’m still new to the whole being-responsible-for-my-own-plot thing, I’m not terribly confident about what/where I should plant. I’m considering getting one of those sun calculators that I’ve seen available, but they’re like $30 and to me that’s pretty darn expensive.

Last year I grew three tomato plants, of which only one produced fruit. They were the little pear-shaped yellow ones, which were cute but don’t really satisfy the summer tomato craving. I want sandwich tomatoes! I also tried peas which rotted from too much rain, onions, which also rotted, and rosemary, parsley and basil, which were fine. I think chives are pretty impervious to damage.

I thought that by bringing in some of my herbs I could offset the January blues and have some nice plants around the house. Unfortunately, my herbs HATE BEING INDOORS. My sage and basil died within a week. Both parsley pots have gotten mites of some sort. The thyme dried out and is looking really pathetic and twig-like. Savory is the same. The only thing still growing well is the rosemary, which I try to keep well watered but I’m concerned about giving wet feet.

I’m wondering if one way to save things is with some glass cloches. I got a couple for Christmas and they are quite pretty. I put them over my little baby orange trees to keep the dog from digging in their pots, and they seem to really love it. I can tell it keeps things more humid, which is a good thing. Maybe I should just get some more.

What am I doing wrong? I want the plants to get good sun, but the sage and basil I’m pretty sure died from being too close to a cold window. I know the air is extremely dry in the house, but I’m afraid to over water. Maybe I should try to move them into the bathroom?

Dead plants make me very sad :(.

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Herbs are extremely hardy and do not need any winter protection, bringing them in to the warmth of the house will have completely confused them when they were all set for winter. Next time just leave them outside, preferably planted in the ground.

What is a sun calculator and what does it do?

Take a look at what your neighbours are growing, even better go and talk to them and ask their advice... gardeners love giving advice. If you are in zone 5 unless you have a greenhouse I'd have thought tomatoes were impossible - we certainly wouldn't try growing outdoors in the north of Scotland. Not sure why your peas and onions rotted unless you get a lot of very wet weather.

16 Jan, 2010


i know what you mean about winter blues, im going crazy not being in the garden, ive managed to hang onto a few geraniums i grew from cuttings and all my fuchsia cutting were killed off by first frost, i tried to revive by bringing into the house but not good, maybe the heating didnt do them any favours, but not having a greenhouse its hard to keep things going over winter, as for herbs i only have rosemary which ammazingly has survived the frezing temperatures and snow, its as healthy as ever in the raised border, i even used some over xmas for my roast lamb, i think some herbs are tougher than we think, think you can start tomatoe seeds now if you have a greenhouse or maybe inside and cucumber to, also you can get cut and grow lettuce which is all year round, keep taken some off and it just keeps growing, good luck anyway ;o))

16 Jan, 2010


Basil is too tender for growing outdoors, I would have thought, Mg, but I agree about the others.

I know how you're feeling, noetic, I'm exactly the same - needing to get out there and do some gardening! In fact I did - I sowed some antirrhinum seeds in a heated propagator to get them off to a good early start. That felt good!

I also sawed up a Lavatera that had been damaged in the snow and my husband removed the stump and most of the rootball. Gone and not regretted! :-))

16 Jan, 2010


MG, I'm in zone 5 and tomatoes are a HUGELY popular thing to grow around here. We have a lot of farms and people get very loyal to tomatoes from certain farms.

Last year it rained every single day in June and the first half of July. It was an awful year for gardening.

Basil would certainly not survive the winter -- even just being by the cold window was enough to kick it. The rosemary is already in a container anyway, although it is quite large. Would thyme really survive our winter?

16 Jan, 2010


Yup I realise you are in zone 5 so no the basil wont survive outdoors but the other herbs should. I'd treat it as an annual, which we have to, and grow fresh each year. We also had a lot of rain, probably as much as you but both our peas and onions survived... What soil are you growing on?

Could you please explain what a 'sun calculator' is...

16 Jan, 2010


Here's one example of a sunlight calculator:

Since I'm relatively new to gardening and I want to reduce guesswork, I'm tempted. However, I'm also cheap! lol

16 Jan, 2010


Just by observing when the sun falls where in your garden you will know whether an area is full sun, semi shade or full shade - I really don't think you need a sun calculator!

What is actually far more important is to know enough about the plant you are siting so that you can place it in the right conditions in your garden.

17 Jan, 2010


I'd save your money Noeticblues, Moon grower's summed it up perfectly.

17 Jan, 2010


i agree with MB to, dont waste your cash

17 Jan, 2010

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