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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Herb Roots: Thyme, Oregano and Chives (The Root Beast)

Perennial herbs can be hardy. There is Winter hardy in that they can withstand a freeze and return. And there is growth and transplant hardy. Like I said, some herbs can be handled and torn and will grow. Why do I keep mentioning this? I don't want you to feel like you need to be a surgeon to be a gardener. Just try it and you will see plants want to grow.

The root systems of Thyme and Oregano are fine and full. You can't possibly separate the plants into plant and roots without tearing them. Tomatoes for instance can be separated pretty easily. If you have 3 tomatoes in a cell, you can gently bang the root-ball and pull the plant and roots apart without much root damage.

But tomatoes are easily harmed if you just tore the root-ball apart. Thyme and Oregano can be grasped and torn when you practice the over planting method. Water and light will keep them going.

Here are what the root-balls look like fresh out of a cell.

Oregan (L) and Thyme (R) Roots: Gary Pilarchik

The Thyme and Oregano roots are starting to coil at the bottom. That is the sign they need to be transplanted. I actually just transplanted the whole plug, next blog, because of room issues. I plant too much, to early and I enjoy the challenge of - what the heck do I do with these plants till Spring. I will divide them after they grow in the cups and when I can get them outside.

Below are Chives. Chive are pretty much indestructable. Once in the garden, you can stomp them, hack them and try to remove them. If any of the beastly root remains, you will have chives. I'm glad I love chives. 

Chive Roots: Gary Pilarchik

Chive Roots Close Up: Gary Pilarchik

They can live in the cells as long as you keep them watered. Last year I had Chives sitting in cells out doors. The roots swelled and split the cells. The top growth was of course poor but the cell was filled with hard fiborous white onion smelling roots. I cut them and planted them. They grew perfectly.

I didn't transplant the Chives yesterday because I know the roots will maintain growth. I will be able to cut them and put them in cups at my leisure. 

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