A Portuguese introduction


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Dear Gardeners and enthusiasts, good day!

My name is André and I'm a Portuguese fella from Lisbon who is trying to cultivate herbs in his kitchen!
I come to you for help and assistance as my basil leaves are constantly dropping and I am losing the plants... which is sad.
I used the search button and found out we shouldn't water plants in the evening as it contributes to fungal growth and leaves dropping for some reason unknown to me. I have sprayed the newly bought Basil plant in it's original small vase, I took some good leaves and froze them - before they dropped too - and I left the small ones.

I hope I can contribute to this forum and it's people in some way too!
I'm interested in being a modern-day wizard of sorts - I love the idea of understanding and nurturing nature to reap it's life-enhancing benefits and help my people, our people. Right now I am starting to study how to grow basil, cilantro, and peppermint at home, in the kitchen, by the window.

Please do let me know if there is something I should read or know, I deeply appreciate it and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you for reading and I wish you the best life ever,
André

P.S.: My starting kitchen herb-garden is attached as an image for your critique and advice.
 

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It is true, basil likes it damp, but doesn't like having its feet wet overnight. If I am out in the greenhouse in summer I water most things in the evening, when it has cooled a bit, before I come in, not the basil.
The roots are the key to most plants. If they are in the right sort of medium and have water and nutrients the top part of the plant will look after itself so long as it has light.
Welcome to the forum, go exploring, there is plenty to find here.
 
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You have 3 things going against you. Number one is that there isn't enough soil in the containers. This leads to two things: the nutrients are being leached away quicker and the plants become rootbound much quicker. Number two is that the plants are leggy which means that they are not bushy and this is caused by insufficient light. Number three is that there are too many plants for the container size.
What are you feeding the plants with? They like any other living organism must be fed. Do the containers have sufficient drainage holes? What is the growing medium comprised of? If peat you must remember that peat has zero nutritional value and it holds water.
 
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Wow, much wow.

You guys, that was lovely.

Thank you! Sean, Oliver and Chuck my best wishes for you and your people!

I will consider what you taught me briefly and investigate further on my own. Will get a new growing medium for the roots too.

I will be staying around indeed, lovely forum you guys have here.

Have a lovely day
Much love
 
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Glad you like it here, I am betting that you do have a drainage hole in the bottom of the pot because you have used the lid as a saucer to stand it in. But Chuck's right, you could fill those pots up and put one plant in each. You will not harm a plant with too much soil, they grow in the ground and that's pretty big :)
Your English is pretty good.
 
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Glad you like it here, I am betting that you do have a drainage hole in the bottom of the pot because you have used the lid as a saucer to stand it in. But Chuck's right, you could fill those pots up and put one plant in each. You will not harm a plant with too much soil, they grow in the ground and that's pretty big :)
Your English is pretty good.
Hi Oliver, good morning!

My apologie in advance for the rather long reply but I had something to say and ask.

With that said, here is the reply:

Thank you so much for the compliment, it grew a smile on my face!

Tbh I've had the privilege of having a well rounded education and a true enjoyment out of playing online videogames - that is something good that came out of it!

The Romanian girlfriend sealed it for me then - I had to learn how to vocalize what english I had learned typing with the gamers, really fast!! (Laughs)

Changing subjects: regarding the pots, I drilled holes into them yes.

I will try to capitalize on this opportunity to ask you some questions then, if possible.

I still wanted to research and fruit the following ideas for myself, but having your reply is a great opportunity to share these:

Having watched the documentary Fantastic Fungi I learned with amazement how plants and fungi, and a miriad of other beings, "speak" to each other through the root systems, helping each other, sharing water and nutrients.

With this in mind I wanted to buy a big pot, a pretty one, fill it with good stuff (also another question, what to fill it with) and then maybe add some beneficial fungi to it and a combination of plants who would benefit from each other.

Do you think this is a good idea?

Do you, or anyone who wants to contribute, knows where this information can be studied?

Please let me know if you can, I'm really interested.

I have: Peppermint, Cilantro and Basil.

I want to have also: Rosemary, Thyme and Lavender. (For now)

I will still study this on my own eventually, probably tomorrow as I will go buy the resources monday, but if you can share some golden nuggets with me that would be priceless and I am grateful.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

HAVE A GREAT DAY!!
Much love
 
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Peppermint I have grown, but not for a while, in England we would be cutting mint down to the ground about now to get new Spring growth, I am not sure about peppermint.
Cilantro I do not grow
Basil you should water in the morning, it does not like being wet overnight. Have you tried different ones? There are some lovely purple ones, I have grown ones called 'Crimson King' and another called 'Around midnight', but of course that may be different in Portuguese. My daughter does not let Her's flower, it is more useful in the kitchen, I let some flower and save the seed.
Rosemary I grow successfully in pots, it grows fairly easily from cuttings, tear off a small piece so you get a 'heel', then tidy it with sharp scissors and plant, I have pink, white, and blue flowering varieties.
Lavender also I grow from cuttings. It should be cut back hard after flowering to stop it growing 'leggy' (Tall and thin) and I regularly grow those bits as cuttings.
Thyme I have not had so much success with in pots. My missus buys it regularly when she sees one she likes, it will grow in a large pot for about a year and then starts looking sad. When I investigate I find the roots have filled the pot (Pot bound), if I plant it out in the garden it recovers and does well.

For growing things in I would say go for a good mix of things. The main problem will be finding them in small enough quantities. For example, I get farmyard manure, sharp sand and compost in about 50 litre bags, okay if you can stack them outside in the greenhouse, but it looks as though you don't have a garden to play with. Nature is chaotic, the best mix is usually to use some soil, and some of everything well-rotted you can get. The fungi you want are usually in there somewhere.
An outdoor space can really expand your horizons, it doesn't have to be yours, a small patch of waste land for example would let you grow things like sunflowers for seed, and people don't usually object, it improves the appearance of the neighbourhood.

I love that you talk to your girlfriend in English. Years ago I had a French friend who had a German boyfriend, they spoke English together, but lived in Spain. Her ten year old son was fluent in French, German, English, and Spanish.

PS. I you want a big pot I would recommend a trough, they hold plenty of soil, display plants in a row, and fit well on a window sill or elsewhere
 
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Hi Oliver: WOW!

My deep heartfelt gratitude. You took your time and life experience and shared it with a random Portuguese dude who just came out of nowhere. That's heart and soul right there! Really, thank you. I am sorry I didn't reply sooner but life got in the way.

If not today, tomorrow I'll be going to Leeroy Merlin or a similar shop to acquire the necessary supplies.

I'm just starting to grow these plants, around me there are no "nurseries" or places where you can buy baby plants, except the bigger commercial surfaces where I'm acquiring these - and there are very limited options there. I didn't even know there were other varieties. I'm mostly interested in these plants due to my newfound hobby of baking pizza! (I recommend Vito Lacopelli on YouTube, in case you're also interested in learning! Omg... so good). These basil leaves go on the Margheritas I make with Vito's recipe and oh my god they are amaaazing!

I will take into account the advice regarding flowering and keeping seeds/ not flowering being useful for the kitchen - my thing! But I'll have some seeds later, thank you Oliver.

I didn't know there were so many different varieties of Rosemary.
I didn't know you could grow Rosemary or Lavender from cuttings. I will ask the neighbors for permission. Thank you, Oliver.

Here in Portugal in the city, it's not so common to see these community gardens - even though there are some.
I will try to master the indoor growth first and then later, maybe, in the future we will see.

___________________

I was checking Leeroy Merlin online and I decided to buy a substrate that states it's specifically for aromatics.
It has: "Pine Bark Humus, Sphagnum Blond Peat, Quartz Sand, and Organic Animal Fertilizer."

I spent 5 euros. I'm not going to buy the trough yet as I'm studying and my allowance isn't very big.
My plan is to take individual plants into the 1L individual yogurt buckets and fill them with this substrate.

Oliver, do you think I should pasteurize the substrate beforehand to minimize contamination?
Do you think my plan is sound so far?

Thanks man. Honestly, you've been way more than I could imagine. Thank you and this forum! Bless you and your family.
See you later!!
 
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Thank you for being so appreciative, it is not always the case unfortunately.

I wouldn't pasteurize, soil life in the form of micro-organisms is more likely to be beneficial than harmful to plants, though I don't think there will be much in that mixture.
Individual plants in one litre buckets sounds good. Before you spend money look around for other containers, I have seen all sorts of things used, oil containers from outside restaurants, old dustbins, old baths, cut off water cylinders, all sorts.
For five euros you probably have enough substrate to last you a while, but in future please avoid peat. It holds water really well, but there are only a limited number of peat bogs, and they are home to some specialist animals and plants.
Have a look at Meadowlark's thread about hügelkultur, he is using containers and had some good results. It uses old and rotten wood (Usually free) in the bottom of the container, which saves you on substrate, provides nutrients and keeps moisture content nice and constant. https://www.gardening-forums.com/threads/an-experiment-in-hugelkulture-in-containers.24560/
 
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Good morning Oliver!

I will take into account the scarcity of Peat Bogs from now on, I had no idea. I will take good care of it.

I checked Meadowlark's thread - saw his great out-performance ratios and strategies.
Thank you for pointing me out in a good direction, maybe I'll grow some tomatoes in the future for the pizza!

I've been to the UK a few times, to London, York, and Aberdeen. Next year I'll visit Edinburgh!
What a lovely country and people.

Much love
 
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Apologies for this,

Thank you for pointing me in a good direction
or
Thank you for pointing out a good direction

But you can't mix them up.
As I say, apologies, this is a gardening forum, not an English lesson, but I have spent most of my life around foriegners one way and another. My parents had a lot of foreign friends and my mother taught English to foreigners and Esperanto, then my first wife was from Japan, so it is almost a knee jerk reaction :)
 
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Apologies for this,

Thank you for pointing me in a good direction
or
Thank you for pointing out a good direction

But you can't mix them up.
As I say, apologies, this is a gardening forum, not an English lesson, but I have spent most of my life around foriegners one way and another. My parents had a lot of foreign friends and my mother taught English to foreigners and Esperanto, then my first wife was from Japan, so it is almost a knee jerk reaction :)
Well, thank you for correcting me, I appreciate it! Also I am kind of used to it (laughs), my father was a teacher, he usually does that when we don't write correctly. Interesting a Japanese wife, I am somewhat envious! Lovelly, beautiful people. My best regards Oliver! See you soon :)
 
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I understand. The romantic idea is different than reality for sure! How are you doing?

Since we last spoke I transplanted the plants to their yoghurt pots and, following the advice given I have watered the plants in the morning.

The one in the brown pot is a plant my mom left which I neglected before. She seems to be coming back to life!

The small basil plants seem to have new growth, and the new big one hasn't wilted yet, which is a small victory for me!

They get direct sunlight in the morning, until a bit past mid day, and then it's indirect sunlight until night as the sun doesn't hit this window anymore after that.

It's getting cold, I fear opening the windows and the temperature difference hurting them like it hurts us.

I did get a Rosemary and Lavender from the garden across the building. Lavender's flower wilted but it's still green. I don't know if it will grow but I'm still hopeful.

I hope the richness in your life surpasses the sadness! See you around.

Your friend
A
 

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Indeed it does hurt them, I spent sometime clearing the dead basil from my greenhouse the other day, but this is England, we are a long way North of you. most of my gardening from now to the end of February will be about getting the soil in good shape. though there are a few things still growing.
 
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Would you recommend me doing anything about the pots/ substrate if the plants perish?
What still grows this time of the year there?
Cheers!
 
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There are various types of lettuce, there is one of them suitable for planting any time of year. You could probably manage broad beans in a container, and it is not too late for garlic. That is nice and easy to get, you can use good cloves split from your Kitchen garlic
 
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Hmm... Garlic, that is insteresting. 1) How big of a container? 2) Inside the house I suppose?

I am running out of good space in the kitchen. 3) I think the balcony will be too cold?

Almost time to move out of this house to find a new one. Stormy times incoming!
 
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Garlic will be fine outside, I planted mine outside at the end of October, and this is England. You will want something 25 cm deep, or a bit more, and keep them about 15 cm apart, or just over. I say 'A bit more' and 'Just over' because most plants will pay you back if you give them something a bit more than the minimum, and they like good, rich soil that is a bit alkaline.
 

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