Friday, 4 September 2015

The herbs on the windowsill

I just cleared out the herbs on the windowsill. I like to have fresh herbs to cook with, but basil gets shredded by slugs, mint gets ravaged by mint moths, tarragon gets flooded and orgeano bolts. So I grow them on the windowsill. But they were dead, again; dryed out and gone to pests and disease. Nasty accretions under them on the windowframe. The Basil and Mint and Chives have gone out in the garden now, and every fifth plant or so (yes, I have done this many times) roots and starts to grow, given an outside world to grow in, so they may revive yet. I keep those three in bright cheerful 50p pot holders from IKEA, and they were still showing a touch of green. Hope springs.

But oh dear my oh-so-clever self-watering plant pot contained nothing but dusty, dessicated stems. It's a reasonable on-the-the-face-of-it set-up, with four small pots around a central watering stem with a water reservoir in the bottom connected to the pots via a capillary matting spacer. But I can't get along with it. The division into four has left such a small scrap of soil that nothing seems to thrive - whenever I've had something doing OK, it's always been because it's somehow managed to invade the neighbouring potlet. Although the reservoir will take 100ml, there's no way to check the water level - and the overflow has a slight delay, and the overflow saucer is very small. There have been puddles. Then there's the problem that if you put different herbs in the different pots they all have different water needs; the capillary mat gets choked with roots (usually from just one plant as it outcompetes the others) and it does seem to get a lot of little flies.

Anyway, I've decided to retire it. If anyone wants one, let me know. You'll want somewhere that won't mind the odd puddle, and it would probably work best if you took a clump of a single plant and divided it into four. Oh, and the capillary matting might need some roots clearing out of it. Appealing!

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