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Essential herbs?

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Essential herbs?

Post  ilvalleygal on 6/1/2012, 10:34 am

So, I accidentally have an extra 4x4 due to my lack of math skills (bought too much wood last year) and started thinking about a dedicated herb bed instead of placing them around.

I'm not really into herbal teas or remedies (yet) but I do like using herbs when cooking and dried quite a few last year that got us through the winter.

So far I have sage, Mexican tarragon, Italian parsley, Cuban oregano, thyme, cilantro and something else. Basils and lavendars are in other locations right now.

Which ones would be the most fun to grow in northcentral Illinois. What would be essential?

I'm just turning over ideas here to have a pretty bed of herbs that is also useful so I could use some suggestions.

Thanks!

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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  walshevak on 6/1/2012, 10:46 am


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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  brenda g on 6/1/2012, 10:55 am

Oh, lucky, lucky you to have an extra bed for your garden!! Sounds like you've got a good collection going! I think rosemary would be essential, or if you wanted to try something different, Lovage is a good one that tastes like celery, but I've never grown it myself. Also, there are so many different kinds of mints that are pretty, fragrant, and great for cooking (and for adding to your summer mojito Wink ) but, like many herbs they do invade. I moved last year so am starting a new garden and am planting burried pots of mint around the border, as I've read it helps deter vermin (we'll see!). Enjoy your bonus garden! Very Happy

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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  cheyannarach on 6/1/2012, 1:00 pm

I really enjoy chocolate mint and lemon balm (skeeters don't like it Very Happy ) I want to grow summer savory, I heard it is a must have but I have not got my hands on it yet and don't know too much about it yet!

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Re: Essential Herbs

Post  GloriaG on 6/1/2012, 3:22 pm

Hi ilvalleygal,

What do you like to cook? If you use an herb in cooking, than it would be a good addition to your garden.

For example we use: chives, garlic and Italian parsley in homemade salad dressings - basil, oregano, thyme and parsley in spaghetti sauce - sage, tarragon and rosemary when we grill meat - dill on fish - etc.

To your list I would add dill, chives and rosemary.

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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  givvmistamps on 6/1/2012, 10:00 pm

I am in love with using marjoram with my oregano in Italian dishes. I use equal amounts of each, along with basil, and it adds a bit of extra zing to the dish! So if you like Italian, grow marjoram.

Also, what about chives? They have a mild onion flavor that goes nicely in salads when you don't want the full-strength flavor of onion. There's also garlic chives, again a nice addition to a salad. There are other uses for both, but I don't recall what at the moment. :drunken:

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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  Lavender Debs on 6/1/2012, 10:12 pm

Cilantro?

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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  herblover on 6/2/2012, 7:36 am

Some other good choices would be flavored basils like lemon and cinnamon, lemon thyme or lemon balm (mint family so put in a pot), Thai purple basil, summer or winter savory (really good with pork dishes). Be careful about putting thyme and oregano in a SFG because they will spread. Dill is really pretty and easy to grow but self seeds very easily and you will have dill seddlings everywhere! Cilantro is one I have never grown too successfully.

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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  malefacter on 6/2/2012, 8:05 am

i agree with rosemary its one of the best for meat. I even have a friend that uses the sticks for bob skewers the plant can get big thow so keep it trimmed back

mint you defiantly dont want in there it has runners underground it will take over the box unless you can put in something to block them stevia to reduce your sugar intake i dont think i saw garlic

if you want medicinal comfrey is the best for cuts bruses and even broken bones feverfew for headakes

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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  CindiLou on 6/2/2012, 12:14 pm

@Lavender Debs wrote:Cilantro?

Cilantro would be good if you remember NOT to let is go to seed. Otherwise it will take over the bed.

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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  malefacter on 6/2/2012, 2:24 pm

or harvest the seed and you will have coriander Very Happy

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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  malefacter on 6/2/2012, 3:14 pm

oo almost forgot bay tree keep it trimed and treat it like a bonsi tree

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Borage

Post  CharlesB on 6/2/2012, 4:12 pm

@malefacter wrote:if you want medicinal comfrey is the best for cuts bruses and even broken bones feverfew for headakes

I ordered comfrey roots from a seller on eBay. Got something like 4-6 roots for 10 bucks delivered. I had to put it in the fridge for two weeks before planting it. Once in the ground every single one of the roots planted sprouted up just fine. I plan to use it for compost accelerator as well as a medicinal herb to have around.

Another medicinal that also brings in a lot of beneficial insects is borage. Leaves tast like cucumbers. I prefer to grow that to the side of my SFG boxes though. My wife and I have both used the mashed up leaves to treat burns and it seemed to work real well for that. Similar to aloe.

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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  Daniel9999 on 6/2/2012, 7:51 pm

Comfrey is fantastic for the compost pile.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/article-1048976/Comfrey-compost-The-superfood-plants.html

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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  PNG_Grandma on 6/2/2012, 8:48 pm

We have a 4x8 garden box in our Apollo Garden dedicated to herbs. Now that they're mostly established they really need a "hair cut" often! We just can't use all that grows...other gardeners take what they need too...fun to walk next door to the garden and snip some for our dinner almost daily...we also dehydrate many of the different herbs but again, there's only so much you can use!! Maybe we'll be giving some for Christmas gifts this year! Laughing

This is what the herb garden looks like today...

The front bottom left corner is rosemary and just to the right of it is thyme, two different types. directly behind the rosemary is some tarragon and the really bushy stuff behind that is our oregano. I let it flower right now for the bees, same with the thyme. We help them and they more than help us! On the far right in the back is sage, recently cut back after flowering. The new growth is filling in where I really chopped it down. I left some of the flowers. In front of the sage is a different tarragon and loveage. We had summer savory in the box last year but when we offered some to a neighbor she shocked us by pulling up the entire plant! We carefully word our offerings since then!! We have chives, cilantro (that went to seed and is now everywhere!) and dill, along with some garlic. Hard to see some of the plants with the bigger guys in the way. The oregano, thyme, tarragon, rosemary, and sage are all two year old plants. They did well even with our hard frosts this past winter. I know, we don't have the cold that most of you do, but several nights in a row in the 20s was cold enough for us!!

We have planted chocolate mint and other varieties of mint...but a HUGE word of caution here...keep them in containers!! Even with that they still escape and you'll find that invasive stuff all over your gardens and yards!

If you haven't taken a look at our community garden project, you can find us here Apollo Garden
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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  ilvalleygal on 6/4/2012, 10:47 am

I was busy over the weekend but I did stop at the farmers market and bought a pot of chocolate mint -- thank you all for the warnings!

Regarding rosemary and bay laurel: Nope, not in my zone. I've killed a few already because I can't control the temperature and humidity properly. I am thinking about getting a small rosemary from a garden center and treating it like an annual because I do love it. Just hate it when I kill it.

I have comfrey in two places now, chives in three places and my garlic is looking pretty good which surprises me since I've never tried to grow it before.

I've always tucked herbs into different beds and pots but this is the first year for them to have their very own permanent home. It's pretty exciting!

I like the idea of the different basil varieties. That could be fun!

Thank you all for the lovely ideas. I still have two or three squares left.

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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  camprn on 6/4/2012, 11:41 am

I had a rosemary that I kept in a pot for 7 years. I just bring the pot in for the winter.

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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  milaneyjane on 6/4/2012, 6:06 pm

ROSEMARY!!!!!! I freeze entire stems and use it all winter. Also like chives and majoram. Every year I buy herbs just for the fun of it, LOL!!! I like how they look growing around my deck and how many of them smell. All the different mints are fun to add to ice tea.

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Re: Essential herbs?

Post  ilvalleygal on 6/5/2012, 3:07 pm

@camprn wrote:I had a rosemary that I kept in a pot for 7 years. I just bring the pot in for the winter.

I was told by a second generation Italian woman that they need lots of sun, warm temperatures and decent humidity. That just doesn't happen in my drafty old house, hense the rosemary homicides, well, plant-slaughter anyway since it wasn't premeditated.

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