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Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

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Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  cheyannarach on 4/19/2012, 12:28 am

I am in need of a refresher course on "troublesome" herbs. I don't want to put anything into my larger beds that is going to spread, so far I am wondering about oregano and dill, I have never been into growing my own herbs so I am looking for any suggestions on spreaders, I plan to get a separate box built for these guys so I dont have a bunch of suprises next year!

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  givvmistamps on 4/19/2012, 1:11 am

Hmmm, I actually have a little bit to share since herbs were what I dabbled in before now. I'll start with general information, then give two specifics that I have experience with.

Two things you need to know about herbs you're considering is whether an herb is an annual or perennial in your region, and if the plant has a spreading/sprawling growth habit or more upright and contained habit. If it spreads/sprawls and is perennial in your region, then be wary of it. I highly recommend keeping those in containers of their own. More on this in a moment.

A third consideration is whether a plant might self-seed; if an annual herb you want to grow is notorious for that, you need to consider whether this is OK with you. Sometimes the wind will disperse those seeds to where you don't want them. If the herb is a perennial, and you are NOT growing the plant to get the seeds for culinary or medicinal purposes, you can keep this from happening by cutting off the flowers before they fully develop. This is better for plants you want to use leaves off of anyway, since the leaves of an herb in flower lose flavor.

Now to a couple specifics...

Mints are insidious invaders and the reason I highly recommend keeping sprawlers in a container. Keep them in pots, away from other pots. Also keep them cut back enough to prevent them from taking root in the ground surrounding the pot. Mints can actually send root-like branches underground to another section of the garden. I had a chocolate mint that did this when I was just learning about growing herbs. I planted one 6" mint in the ground at the recommended spacing. A couple months later it was trying to crowd out several other plants (it sprawled more than 2 feet), so I moved it to a large planter and kept it trimmed. Despite my moving the plant and all branches that I saw taking root, something of it got left behind which nearly took over the tiny in-ground planting space I had at the time. Over the four years I lived there after buying the mint, I continuously found more chocolate mint coming out of the ground no matter how many times I thought I had eradicated it.

Oregano, marjoram, and other Origanum species are another group of plants that sprawl. They are less difficult to control than mints are...however, keep a close eye on them if you do put them in your garden. They do like to send long branches out that will take root. In my experience, they do not go underground.

That's all I can come up with at the moment... HTH

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  walshevak on 4/19/2012, 8:21 am

I'll add that I had cilantro coming up in all the pots that were on the deck next to plant that I had last year. I also found a parsley plant in in the ground beside the deck from my parsley pot. That I carefully dug up as parsley is so difficult to start from seed. My dill self seeded back into it's own pot.

Kay

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  KDeus on 4/19/2012, 8:56 am

That's a lot of great information, Michelle! Thank you for sharing...especially about the chocolate mint! For the first time, I've planted some chocolate mint, citrus mint, and spearmint. After reading up on it and learning it spreads, I had planted them in a separate container instead of the squares in the bed that I had originally intended. Glad I made a wise choice especially after hearing your story of it popping up elsewhere in the garden!

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  cheyannarach on 4/19/2012, 9:07 am

Well this is helping me and I have decided that I MUST build an herb bow now, I am growing oregano, dill, parsley, basil, and garlic chives. I have a few sprouts up from my herbs and being the smart person that I am wrote on the outside (it's a 10 cell peat container) and the writing all swelled and I now have no idea what's what in that container, lol. I should post pictures and have you help identify them! I am going to assume that the parsley is the one that is not up yet (I had no idea it was so hard to start from seed). Luckily I have another set started (in well marked container Razz ) I think I feel comfortable putting the chives and basil in the garden...

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  ksbmom on 4/19/2012, 9:29 am

Ditto the cilantro coming up everywhere! I have volunteers all the time (which is fine with me since we love it). I also noticed what I thought was some grass coming up in the same square as one of my tomatoes - turned out to be dill.

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  herblover on 4/19/2012, 1:42 pm

I have grown herbs for several years so will give my 2 cents. Oregano needs its own spot to spread; my 3 yar old patch is 1.5x3 feet wide. Thyme will spread but much more slowly and is easily controlled. Chives you will be fine with in an SFG but it is a perennial so keep that in mind. Dill is easily grown and will self-seed prolifically. Basil should be fine as well. If you plant sage; that will grow to a very large plant and also self seeds.

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  givvmistamps on 4/19/2012, 1:52 pm

I put my onion chives, garlic chives and basil in the garden...I want that box to remain as an herb box, except the back row where I'll rotate vining veggies through. I even took a risk and threw my marjoram and oregano in there. What a Face Livin' dangerously! LOL Let's see, I also put in cilantro (two kinds; I wanted to try both!) chamomile, stevia and parsley. My mint never got planted, as the planter I'd set aside for it got used for tomatoes. Now I have to figure out where I'm going to put peppermint. Maybe I can find an unusual and fun container to make into it's home. Very Happy I really want more herbs than that, but had to restrain myself for this year.

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  CindiLou on 4/19/2012, 2:52 pm

I grow four different kinds of mints, chocolate, spearmint, peppermint, and orange mint.
Each one is in a separate area of the yard. I don't want them to get mixed together.
I plant each one in a small washtub. I drill a few holes in the bottom for drainage.

This is my chocolate mint. It is in the front yard so it has a flower bed around it where I plant annuals each year. It is showing green shoots so I will prune the old vines out as soon as the rain stops.

Usually I prune it down in fall and layer some compost on top ..about an 1" ..it comes up through it each year. Last year I had family issues so didn't get some cleanup done.

Yes, you do have to watch that no runners go over the sides. It will spread easily!


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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  Daniel9999 on 4/19/2012, 10:08 pm

Mint grows like a weed indeed....which is why I like so much...it hard mess up growing mint.

I have pineapple, chocolate, and orange all in containers to keep them corralled.

But my favorite kind of mint actually takes advantage of the fact that its spreader....Corsican Mint.

I let this one run loose in the tiny patch of dirt next to my apartment to create a nice little ground cover....I love it....looks beautiful and smells fantastic.

[img][/img]

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  givvmistamps on 4/19/2012, 10:28 pm

I love Corsican mint, but mine got killed off by spider mites some years ago....at least I think it was that which got the mites. Anyway, I wish I could get the stuff to cover my whole yard; talk about a yummy alternative to grass!

@ CindyLou, if you weren't so far away I'd show up looking for cuttings; you have a perfect combination of mints in your collection.

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  Nonna.PapaVino on 4/19/2012, 10:35 pm

Okay, CindyLou and others, what the heck do you use chocolate mint for? I bought a small plant last year, and it's turned out to be a real thug. Besides, it doesn't taste much like chocolate, and its mint flavor is more chemical than herbal. But, perhaps I'm using it wrong. Suggestions? Nonna

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  CarolinaGirl on 4/19/2012, 10:46 pm

I planted sweet basil and rosemary in two squares of my bed. Although then I noticed that the local ACE has a MASSIVE rosemary plant (seriously like 3ft tall and at least that big around) that is there year round right outside their sliding door. Hopefully mine is easy to tame and keep contained to it's one square. I planted a peppermint and a spearmint in their own little pots as I had no desire for them to take over. I've got catnip seeds as I've read their good for deterring a variety of critters... but is this something that's ok to plant in the bed? I do have a cat, she so far has never responded to catnip.. she's an indoor cat. I did buy a pot for it so I could bring it in just to see if she'd like the plant instead of the dried stuff, but if I can plant some in the beds without it going nuts I'll do that as well.


Last edited by CarolinaGirl on 4/19/2012, 10:50 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  Daniel9999 on 4/19/2012, 10:47 pm

Most of the recipes I have seen for using Chocolate Mint involve using it in combination with with Chocolate.

CHOCOLATE MINT TRUFFLE TORTE Makes 1 cake, 12 servings.
Ingredients

1 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened, for the pan
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour, for the pan
6 ounces (1-1/2 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (gently packed) fresh chocolate mint
12 ounces premium bittersweet chocolate chopped
6 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tbsp. granulated sugar
Garnish with powdered sugar

Preparing
the pan: Generously butter a 9 inch springform pan and lightly dust the
interior with the flour. Turn the pan upside down and bang out the
excess flour. Wrap a large square of heavy-duty aluminum foil around the
bottom of the pan and partially up the sides. Turn the pan right side
up and set it in a shallow baking pan or on a half-sheet pan.

Infusing
the butter: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the mint
leaves and let the butter sit in a warm place for about 30 minutes to
absorb the flavor of the leaves.

Butter and chocolate mixture:
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Create a double boiler by selecting a medium
(10-12") stainless-steel mixing bowl that will rest on top of large
(6-quart) pot. The top of the bowl can extend beyond the rim of the pot,
but the bottom of the bowl must not touch the water. Put about 2" water
in the pot and bring it to a simmer. If the butter has cooled, heat it
again to thin it. Pour the butter through a fine sieve into the mixing
bowl and press the leaves with the back of a spoon to extract all the
butter. Add the chocolate to the bowl and place it over the simmering
water. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted, then remove the
bowl from the water.

Eggs: Beat the eggs and granulated sugar
with an electric mixer on high speed for a full 10 minutes. They should
quadruple in volume and become light colored, very thick and fluffy.
Fold 1/4 of the egg mixture into the chocolate mixture, then very gently
fold in the remaining egg mixture until completely incorporated. Pour
the batter into the prepared pan.

Baking: Put the baking pan
with the cake on the center oven rack and pour in enough water to come
about 1/2" up the sides of the cake pan. Bake until an
instant-thermometer inserted in the center of the cake register 155 to
160 F, 25 to 30 minutes. The top of the cake will lose its glossiness
and be slightly mounded, but it should not bake so long that it rises
and cracks. If you insert a skewer into the center, it should come out
gooey. Let the cake cool completely in its pan on a wire rack. Run a
thin knife around the edge of the cake and remove the outer ring. The
cake will keep tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
Bring it to room temperature before serving. Dust the top of the cake
with powdered sugar and serve with whipped cream, ice cream or custard
sauce.

Recipe from: The Herbfarm Cookbook by Jerry Traunfeld.

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  Daniel9999 on 4/19/2012, 10:52 pm

@CarolinaGirl wrote:I planted sweet basil and rosemary in two squares of my bed. I planted a peppermint and a spearmint in their own little pots as I had no desire for them to take over. I've got catnip seeds as I've read their good for deterring a variety of critters... but is this something that's ok to plant in the bed? I do have a cat, she so far has never responded to catnip.. she's an indoor cat. I did buy a pot for it so I could bring it in just to see if she'd like the plant instead of the dried stuff, but if I can plant some in the beds without it going nuts I'll do that as well.

I wouldn't plant it out in the middle of your bed with your veggies and the like if I were you. Your cat might not like it but I betting some of the neighborhood cats hanging around outside would.

Your likely to attract some unwanted attention from strays and such.

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  givvmistamps on 4/19/2012, 11:13 pm

Yeah, I didn't use it raw either...unless it was in a floral arrangement to add greenery! I think the reason it was named "chocolate" was because it tastes good in baked chocolate desserts, and perhaps because of the darker stem coloring.

Daniel999 is correct; you want to plant the catnip away from the garden to draw cats away from the other plants. Consider putting a cage around it to protect the main body of the plant, but small enough to allow leaves through. I had a cat (she was an indoor cat, though she came out on my fenced patio) who would eat catnip down to the soil line! If I'd known about the cage idea, maybe I could've saved it as a treat for her without having to buy a new plant every time I let her come sit outside with me.

Regarding the rosemary, it's a fairly slow grower, but you'll need to move it eventually unless you want to train it into an upright topiary... And even then you'll probably have to move it in a few years because it'll get too tall. Any herb that's perennial or evergreen is going to be a problem in a SFG.

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  AvaDGardner on 4/20/2012, 12:04 am

Can mint be rooted from a sprig stuck in the ground? Or in water first?

Or does it need to be from seeds or a starter plant?

It's all over the place where I live (very common with certain ethnic dishes). Absolutely taken over.

Will it crowd out other existing plants?

Ava

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Re: Hmmmm, troublesome herbs...

Post  givvmistamps on 4/20/2012, 12:12 am

@AvaDGardner wrote:Can mint be rooted from a sprig stuck in the ground? Or in water first?

Or does it need to be from seeds or a starter plant?

It's all over the place where I live (very common with certain ethnic dishes). Absolutely taken over.

Will it crowd out other existing plants?

Ava

Mint CAN crowd out other plants. That's why I recommend giving it it's own pot or planter. As for starting a new plant, just stake down one of the branches, leave it there a few weeks, and then come back to move the starter. You'll find it's taken root, and you can cut it off from the parent plant to take home with you. I found that a lot of branches had already rooted themselves without staking when I realized it was going to take over my garden if I didn't move it.

If you're wanting to try another method, like cutting first and taking it home to try and root, I can't advise very well. I have never tried it. As insidious as the stuff was in my garden, I suspect it wouldn't be too difficult to bring roots out of a cutting as long as it's kept evenly moist for a few weeks.


Last edited by givvmistamps on 4/20/2012, 12:15 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : corrections)

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