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How to Successfully Grow (and Not Kill) Herbs in Your Dorm Room

Step 1. Buy A grow light

No, seriously, buy a grow light. Rochester is not exactly a plant friendly place, it’s too dark and cold most of the year, so without a grow light, your herbs will inevitably die a painful death.



Step 2. Pick out the heartiest herbs

I found out – by depriving my herbs of sunlight – that chives are really hearty. They can pretty much come back from anything & they make your eggs, potatoes, or sour cream dips WAY better. Basil on the other hand is a no go, and Oregano is a bit in between, if you have a semi green thumb, they’ll be fine. 



Step 3. Read the instructions, re-read the instructions, and then read them one more time. 

When you get your herbs they will have that little plastic thing sticking out of the dirt saying how to take care of them. Actually read it. For all of the herbs listed (basil, oregano, & chives) you’re supposed to only water them enough to keep the soil damp. Any more and you’ll kill them. The frequency of watering required to keep the soil damp depends on the plant, but it’s usually well over 2 weeks in-between waterings. 


Step 4. Make sure your plant has a roomy home. 

Transplant your plant as soon as you get it so it has a nice place to live with lots of room. When you transplant it, make sure you buy some potting soil so that it’s nice and cozy. 



Step 5. Get a liquid fertilizer. 

Get a liquid fertilizer and pump 1-2 pumps on the base of the plant before you water it every time. 



Step 6. Watch Youtube videos on how to properly harvest your herbs. 

For chives, they need to be cut ~2in from the base, for basil you want to cut an area where new growth is forming underneath, and the same goes for oregano. It can be hard to visualize harvesting techniques, so youtube videos are very helpful.



Step 7. Success!

You have leafy friends. You may need to take them home over breaks, or find a plant sitter, but until then enjoy! 



Bailey is a sophomore at the University of Rochester in New York. She plans on double majoring in Psychology and Anthropology. On campus Bailey is a part of many clubs including Grassroots, UR Equestrian Team, Undergrad Psychology Counsel, and UR Photography Club. 
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