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Herbs

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Herbs

Post  mrseltzer on 5/3/2010, 3:24 pm

Hello-

I thought I'd repost this topic under a more obvious topic title.

I was wondering if there is any information on the website specific to herbs? For instance how many time plant can I plant per SF. I found some info in Mel's book, but I was looking for more. Any ideas?


Thanks-

Mary

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Re: Herbs

Post  Lavender Debs on 5/3/2010, 4:47 pm

For such a small herb thyme likes to spread. Mine generally end up in an oval about 2 and a half feet long and about 18 inches wide. Lemon thyme is the largest, fastest growing so far. On a happy note, it does divide and survive.

Does that help at all?

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Re: Herbs

Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/3/2010, 5:14 pm

There's not much about herbs in Mel's book, unfortunately -- he's apparently not an herb man. One site several of us use is the kitchen garden at Gardeners Supply. Some the recommendations are not exactly the same as SFG, but it is a great resource. It recommends two per square for thyme. Here's the link:

http://www.gardeners.com/on/demandware.store/Sites-Gardeners-Site/default/Page-KitchenGardenDesigner

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Herbs

Post  mrseltzer on 5/3/2010, 7:40 pm

Hi Belfry-

Very cool tool for planting. Mel does give a general guideline for any plant based on the distance to "thin" from the back of a seed package.

Many thanks for your input.

Mary

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Re: Herbs

Post  lisaphoto on 5/3/2010, 8:31 pm

I'm doing most of my herbs in containers since many of them are perennials, and some like to spread.

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Herbs

Post  mrseltzer on 5/3/2010, 8:34 pm

I am putting mint in a pot for just that reason. The others aren't as agressive.

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Re: Herbs

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 5/3/2010, 9:23 pm

Hi,

I really enjoy herbs and have grown them for years in my garden. I have trouble with the practice of keeping my herbs contained to a single square foot. I like English gardens. The messier and bigger the plant, the happier I am. So take my advice with a gain of salt. Herbs like tough love, the less care you provide the happier they are. Any herbs that are related to the mint family are out to take over the world, for example oregano. 1 plant per garden. Rosemary and Sage can also get pretty big, quickly...again 1 per garden. Chives are great, grow those from seed. It might be easier to help with spacing if you ask about specific herbs. Enjoy your new garden.

Patty from Yorktown

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Herbs

Post  mrseltzer on 5/3/2010, 10:08 pm

Hi Patty-

Well here is the list. You covered some of them already:

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Basil
  • Tarragon
  • Summer Savory
  • Margoram
  • Chives
  • Sage
  • Cilantro
  • Italian Parsely
  • Dill
  • Borage

We love cooking with fresh herbs. They are very expensive in the store, so we decided to grow them. I may try lemon balm as well.

Thank you for your input-

Mary

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Re: Herbs

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 5/4/2010, 7:06 am

Hi, Your list is very helpful. Here goes my answer:
* Basil-4 per square (or one if it is a bushy pesto type of basil or you harvest lots) I love basil and plant lots, it is not a perennial and is very frost sensitive. In our are zone 7a it can be grown from direct seeding in the garden. Plant near tomatoes as a good companion.
* Tarragon- 1 per square, watch the type you purchase, one is better for cooking (sorry do not remember which one.)
* Summer Savory- not sure here. I have winter savory and 1 plant is fine. Don't really know what to do with it.
* Margoram- 1 per square, responds well to harvesting. Member of the mint family, do not plant too close to oregano as it will cross pollinate.
* Cilantro- my guess is 4 per square, however this is the first year I have grown cilantro, can be grown from seed.
* Italian Parsely- probably 4 (although I was given a second year plant that was 1 per 2 sqf, it is a 2 year plant.)
* Dill-1 per square, does not like heat and is often butterfly food (might try 2 or 4 per square)
* Borage- 1 per square, this is a medicinal herb not usually a cooking herb. It has pretty blue flowers and is a good companion plant for lots of stuff.

Hope this helps.

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Re: Herbs

Post  Megan on 5/4/2010, 7:20 am

Great information!

Does anyone know if Genovese basil is a bushy type?

I bought Summery Savory seed this year. Never tried it before, but from reading, it is a good companion plant for beans. I planted it 9 to a square thinking it will be thinned, either by me or by getting run over by my squash. Smile

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Re: Herbs

Post  jerzyjen on 5/4/2010, 7:23 am

I think Mel says 2 cilantro per square but I guess that depends on if you are letting them go to coriander or not. Last year when they went to seed they got HUGE. This year I'm doing a slow bolting kind because all I want is cilantro, once it goes to seed its done for me (I'm not even sure how to use coriander). You might be able to get away with 4 if you dont let it get too big. This year i ran out of dedicated squares so I'm going to try to start some cilantro along the edges of the 4 square block I'm saving for Tomatillos. I think there will be enough room at least for early cilantro and if its starts crowding ill add more in the summer time after i move some broccoli out.

I can't really speak about any of the other herbs.

Patty - When are we going to see pics of your crayon boxes!!!! Did i miss them?

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Re: Herbs

Post  lisaphoto on 5/4/2010, 8:07 am

That's funny, I actually heard 9 per square on cilantro b/c they like to be crowded, but I guess you would want to thin if you want them to go to seed. I also heard you could do Dill 9 per square, but probably same thing if you want seed. I've also seen people very successfully put random herbs all bunched together and taking each other over and they were fine.

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Herbs

Post  ander217 on 5/4/2010, 8:22 am

I grow my perennial herbs in a separate herb bed in my yard, and sow the annual herbs in the garden. That way, the perennials can spread as they wish over a period of years without being disturbed. Some of them take a full season to really get started and need plenty of room to spread. Most perennials do not like rich soil (it weakens their flavor) so I'm not sure how well those would grow in Mel's mix. Rosemary and thyme like alkaline soil.

I highly recommend German biergarten sage. It has large, round leaves, and has a more concentrated flavor than regular sage. I grow both since the purple flowers on regular sage attract bees. Sage usually becomes woody after about four or five years and may need to be replanted.

There are several types of oregano, some tasteless, so be careful what you plant. I've found the Greek to be far more flavorful for cooking. I plant the Greek in my herb bed, but I also have o. vulgaris (sometimes called Italian oregano, sometimes incorrectly sold as Greek) at the corner of my garden even though the leaves have little flavor, because its beautiful pink-purple flowers attract bees. Greek oregano has white flowers, as do most of the culinary oreganos.

Summer savory produces thin plants about a foot tall, more or less, with long, thin leaves. I'm guessing you'd plant 6 or maybe 9 per square. I grew it once but didn't use it that much.

Parsley - for cooking, plant the Italian or flat-leaf varieties, not the curly leaf type. Although it is a biennial, you generally only harvest from it the first year as it goes to seed very quickly the second year. I pull my plants up after the first year and replant. It takes seemingly forever to germinate. Some people soak the seed overnight in warm water, some take a fingernail file and gently cut into one edge of the seedcoat, but I just plant it and let it take its time. It sprouts in two or three weeks, usually. I'm starting with four per square but may thin as it grows.

Dill is an annual, but if given the chance it will reseed itself year after year. I think the number to plant per square depends on the variety you are growing. Some only grow to about 18 inches tall with small heads, while others grow over three feet with larger heads. After planting it in my row-garden and seeing it try to take over the next year, I started a separate bed for it next to my yard fence. I never replant but let some heads go to seed, and it just keeps coming up. I tried growing shorter thai dill last year but I prefer the mammoth variety which grows about three feet tall. Dill plants die after they go to seed, so make successive sowings every few weeks if you want a continual supply. Dill has a taproot so I'm not sure how it would do in a SFG box. Have others had good luck with it?

Borage grows really tall, too. It attracts bumblebees to the garden. I add the blue flowers to lemonade and salads, and I've added a few of the cucumber-flavored leaves to salad, but their fuzzy texture is a bit off-putting for me. It self-seeds easily and is a good companion for tomatoes. I'm growing one per square.

Basil will self-seed, too, if you let some of the plants go to seed. I have one plant of either genovese or purple basil growing in the same squares with my tomatoes in a 1' x 8' box.

Rosemary - sorry I can't help you here. I've transplanted rosemary plants every year for the past four years and have yet to get a plant through the winter, either inside or out. In contrast, my daughter in Austin has the rosemary plant that is trying to devour Texas. Maybe it's the limestone in her soil?

Good luck in your herb-growing this year. Herbs are, to me, one of the most satisfying things to grow.

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Re: Herbs

Post  Retired Member 1 on 5/4/2010, 8:23 am

I prefer to grow my herbs in a dedicated bed since they do tend to try and take over. Actually I'm using two tractor tires divided into 6 wedges (hence a wedgie garden, rather SF) -- one for mint, parsley, and basil, figuring the mint (4 kinds) will take over the whole thing by the end of the season. And then another for dill, cilantro, oregano, lime basil, sage, and thyme. They are right outside the kitchen door which makes them really handy. I don't bother much about spacing each plant as I know that herbs don't mind being crowded and I can always thin.

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I forgot to mention:

Post  ander217 on 5/4/2010, 8:33 am

I forgot to say that rather than planting an entire square to one variety of herb, I sometimes tuck an herb plant in here and there as a companion plant in a square planted to something else. I already mentioned basil in the square with tomatoes, but I also transplanted catnip next to squash to help deter squash bugs, and I set a marjoram plant next to a couple of tomatoes. I planted onion sets around cabbage plants to deter cabbage moths and so far it's working. I've heard savory is good for beans, but I didn't try that yet.

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Herbs

Post  mrseltzer on 5/4/2010, 2:01 pm

@Patty from Yorktown wrote:
* Borage- 1 per square, this is a medicinal herb not usually a cooking herb. It has pretty blue flowers and is a good companion plant for lots of stuff.

Patty-

Thank you for the information.

I have a recipe that uses borage stems and leaves to make a soup that tastes like cucumbers. I am raising it mostly for the flowers. In Shakespear's time, people would float the flowers in wine. I like the romance of it.

Mary


Last edited by mrseltzer on 5/4/2010, 2:22 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Trying to learn how to fix the)

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Re: Herbs

Post  miinva on 1/20/2011, 11:40 pm

I did a search for winter savory and came up with this thread, which mentions it, so I thought I'd just ask my question here. Has anyone grown it? I love summer savory. We harvest a variety of herbs and scatter them over veggies and roast them. I want to grow some winter savory to put in bean dishes, but I haven't seen it anywhere, although summer savory seems to be fairly common. I'm thinking of growing it in a container, which may turn out to be hypertufa, since I've decided to try my hand at that this summer Smile

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Re: Herbs

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 1/21/2011, 7:20 am

Hi,
I grow winter savory. It does well in our zone 7 climate and will over winter as a perennial. I still do not know what to do with it. I think it is supposed to go well with fish. One plant per garden should be plenty. If you happen to be in the Hampton Roads area I would be happy to share a chunk. I just got it at a nursery. It did not seem like it would be hard to find. I can look for seeds this summer.

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Re: Herbs

Post  camprn on 1/21/2011, 8:24 am

@mrseltzer wrote:I was wondering if there is any information on the website specific to herbs? For instance how many time plant can I plant per SF. I found some info in Mel's book, but I was looking for more. Any ideas? Thanks- Mary
There is some good info here http://www.richters.com/

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Re: Herbs

Post  miinva on 1/21/2011, 9:25 am

Hi Patty Smile

I'm in central Virginia, but it's definitely worth a road trip once the weather warms up! Thank you so much for your kind offer. Very Happy I'm thinking of putting in sections around my property for different herbs so that my mints aren't as likely to cross, etc., so I'm excited to have a new herb this year. So far I've grown herbs in containers for the most part, other than the ones I put in the SFG's for companion planting purposes.

My favorite part of growing herbs was going out and picking a variety that was slightly varied every time to sprinkle over veggies we roasted. I had no idea herbs could add such depth to flavors!

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Re: Herbs

Post  Lavender Debs on 1/21/2011, 9:49 am

Winter savory: I planted it when I lived in the mountains but I think my ducks ate it. Here is what my funky old herbal tells me about it...

Satureja montana Winter Savory
Perennial, a woody shrubby plant growing to about 30cm/12in high...

Sow seed in shallow drills or take cuttings in summer, each with a woody heel. Set out in a sunny position in poor, dry soil, about 60cm/2ft apart. The plants often become straggly and need sharp pruning, but respond well to this and can be shaped into a low, compact hedge. The leaves generally survive the winter, though occasionally drop off during frosts; the plants may need protection during cold weather.

Aromatic, digestive and antiseptic herbs, both savories dispel wind and regularize the bowels. Fresh leaves rubbed on wasp stings are immediately soothing.

As I understand it, "dispelling wind" is why they are often cooked with beans, not because of the flavor they impart

Cilantro From an earlier post in this thread, In the cold PNW where everything grew slow last summer, I had tremendous success with 9 to a square. I used "Pokey Joe" which was said to be a slow bolt. Cilantro is cut and come again. I use it so often that it never got crowded. It is one of the few herbs that I only use fresh unless I want seed. Once it went to seed it had self-thinned to 3 plants. I had put it in a perimeter square so it grew prettily over the edge instead of crowding its neighbors. Whether I want cilantro or not, the day I notice it making “feathery” foliage is the day I cut it back (or decide to let it go to seed). I think eating the feathery leaves are why many people find the taste of cilantro offensive instead of refreshing (said the blue eyed blond….I’m not sure my Latino neighbor feels the same way)

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Re: Herbs

Post  camprn on 1/25/2013, 7:54 pm

This blog post has some good info about growing different herbs and making your own tea. Yum!
http://naturalfamilytoday.com/lifestyle/easy-to-grow-and-brew-herbal-teas/


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Re: Herbs

Post  Turan on 3/14/2013, 8:35 pm

With all the talk about beans I started thinking about cumin. So I sprinkled some whole cumin seeds from the grocery store on some potting soil and put it on a heating mat. Sooooo we will see. At any rate it will keep me stalling a little longer before I start my other stuff.

I figure if it sprouts I will transplant it into the greenhouse at about 4/sq. I read it takes about 100 days and needs heat to flower and mature a crop of seeds.

I know cumin is not native to Montana for cooking with my native beans and corn and squash...... BUT I like lots of cumin in my beans.

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Re: Herbs

Post  NightMist on 3/15/2013, 12:59 pm

I grow a ton of herbs.
Indoors, outdoors, snuck into waste spaces near to home, on the verge of a local park, I just don't have enough room in my own house and yard.

I usually have everything from tulsi (holy basil) to parsley to lemongrass to chives growing somewhere or another.

My rosemary is badly potbound again, and rather than propagating it again I am thinking about buying a Madeline Hill (aka Hill Hardy) and planting it outdoors in a sheltered corner. Worst case it dies and I have to buy a new plant, best case I don't have to lug it in and out spring and fall, or propagate it every now and again. If it takes off I just have to remember to keep pruning it abusively.

A plant that I am currently researching is Nigella Sativa (aka kalonji, black seed, black oil seed, black sesame, black onion, black cumin etc.) I think I can probably do it, if I can find the seed. There is always room for more flowers out front, especially if they produce edibles. Though DH is begging me to keep a patch of grass, I don't know why really.


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Re: Herbs

Post  Turan on 3/28/2013, 11:45 am

The cumin has sprouted! It looks just like carrot sprouts. I moved it off the heat mat to where it gets lots of sun and light.

This thread is a wealth of herbal information.

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Re: Herbs

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