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Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

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Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  ander217 on 1/20/2011, 10:30 am

I'm tired of fighting bermuda grass in my current herb bed. We placed plastic edging 5" deep all around the perimeter but the bermuda grass rhizomes went right under it and cropped back up all over the herb bed last year. I'd also like to move my herbs right outside my door so I can get to them easily even at night when I take a whim to use them in cooking.

Has anyone grown perennial herbs in a SFG box? I currently grow lavender, rosemary, chives, Greek oregano, French tarragon, bee balm, two kinds of sage, and I keep trying to grow English thyme but I kill it almost as well as I do rosemary. Some of those are woody plants, and most of them spread over time. I'm wondering how well they would work when planted together in a SFG box. But it's the only solution I can think of to get them away from that awful bermuda grass. Should I make the squares 2' instead of 1' to give them plenty of growing room? Do they need to put their roots deep into the soil to become well established?

What about dill? I've always grown dill in soil. I want to make a permanent dill bed in one corner of my garden where it can reseed itself annually. I also worry about bermuda grass in that corner of the garden, although we've done our best to eradicate it with heavy layers of straw mulch and rice hulls. Would it reseed as readily in MM in a box? I grow the taller varieties of dill, and wasn't sure how well they stand up in a box. Do they need support?
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Megan on 2/20/2011, 8:10 am

Ander,

My herbs are either right in the ground or in containers. Some of the woody ones (marjoram, especially, and oregano is probably similar) can produce deep roots if allowed. I had to break up a clump the other year and they were at least 6-8" down. Chives can go nearly as deep. I've tried thyme in pots and failed, but it grows happily in the ground. I'm not sure if maybe the soil temp is cooler in the ground?

You know much more about dill than I do. All I can input there is a vague memory from California of someone's dill being about as all as I was, and it had no help whatsoever.

Maybe you could fill some fill some SFG boxes or other containers with Mix and dedicate them to your herbs? It really is nice to have them handy to the front door (or kitchen door).

Does Bee Balm come back every year? Mine did so well last year, I am hoping (lazily!) for a re-do without much extra effort.
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  camprn on 2/20/2011, 9:25 am

yeah, Ander I feel your pain. You may need to go the container route. Megan, yes Bee Balm is perennial.
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Megan on 2/20/2011, 9:38 am

camprn wrote:Megan, yes Bee Balm is perennial.

That's what I thought I'd read. The seed heads were quite productive, too, so I have no idea what is in store for me. (I do hope the lantana survived, though!)
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  miinva on 2/20/2011, 11:48 am

My bee balm comes back every year, but seems to be a smaller and smaller patch, so this year I'm hoping to collect some seed to help it along next year. I might just buy plants if I find them reasonably priced, I don't know.

I've thought about doing an herb bed too, Ander. We pulled the oregano out of the SFG's last fall and divided it, then put some of it in pots and put it back in the SFG, where it flourished. I would rather give it a small box of its own, though. I dream of a spot that consists of many small SFG boxes, one for each herb or two, but that's not in the plan for this year.

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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Old Hippie on 2/20/2011, 12:40 pm

Ander, one of my 4' squares is a dedicated herb bed. Most of my garden is not pure MM
but in garden soil amended with MM and are raised beds right in the
ground. My herb garden is pretty close to the back door and so handy. Perennial plants in my herb garden are oregano, thyme, marjoram, sage, chives and garlic. They do fantastic in my garden, despite our winters. The borage is actually an annual but reseeds itself everywhere. I don't really use it for anything other than to attract the bees. They love it. I can't seem to grow lavender or rosemary to save my life and for some reason I have not had good luck with dill reseeding itself here like my mom and grandma did when I was a kid. I love the look of it, just growing everywhere and you can always pull it up fairly easily if it starts somewhere that you don't want it. They never staked theirs but I have no idea what variety it was or if that even makes any difference. I have grown the short dill variety and am quite happy with it, but it doesn't give the lovely seed heads that the tall stuff does.

I have grown herbs in pots too but have not had great success with them as perennials. There doesn't seem to be enough protection for the roots when they are in pots. Mind you, I have never really bothered to do anything to protect them over the winter either and I guess the -35C temps are hard enough on plants in the ground, never mind those in pots. If you were able to give them some extra protection over the winter they might work for you.

From my experience with SFG which is only two years, the 1 foot squares seem to be fine for herbs. However, when I grew them before in a dedicated herb bed, they had roughly the same amount of space. Using 2' squares might give them more protection for the roots over the winter but might not be necessary otherwise. You could always put lettuce, radishes or parsley in around them or in the corners. That way, as the oregano grows bigger and spreads you can just use up the other things to give it more room.

Best of luck in working out some kind of system to beat the grass.

Gwynn

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RE: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Goosegirl on 2/20/2011, 2:38 pm

miinva wrote: I dream of a spot that consists of many small SFG boxes, one for each herb or two, but that's not in the plan for this year.

That is exactly what I have planned for this year! I have a bed right off the back porch dedicated to herbs that I am going to re-do this year with individual boxes for each herb. This is the only area of my 3 actual 'garden' sites that I have not done anything to amend the soil, so success with an herb garden has been limited in the black clay, but I have high hopes for this year.

The SFG forum and all of the encouragement from everyone has firmed my resolve to GET A DIGITAL CAMERA!!! I want to get pictures of the MESS my yard is in right now (didn't even clean up last fall) and what it is when I am done setting up SFG.

Goosegirl
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Patty from Yorktown on 2/20/2011, 2:50 pm

Hi,
I have grown an herb garden in a square foot garden bed for years. It works fine. Herbs like tough love. Do not over water or add too much nutrition to your garden. Most herbs respond very well to lots of clipping. The more you clip, the more you get. Be careful about members of the mint family, they are garden thugs. Oregeno and marjoram are members of the mint family, plus they tend to cross pollinate. If you go the pot route rosemary does not like to be moved or to have wet feet. Good luck with your new fresh herbs for cooking. It is great fun, not to mention very convenient and cheap.

Patty in Yorktown
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  middlemamma on 2/20/2011, 4:24 pm

This is such a great idea Ander...maybe next year for me...you will have to keep us posted on how it goes. I have the nasty grass here as well...2 layers of weed cloth has kept mine at bay, but when we do the other side of the garden this year I am going to put newspaper and cardboard under everything too for double security.

I hope you beat that grass and get your herb garden!
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Megan on 2/20/2011, 5:49 pm

Goosegirl wrote: I want to get pictures of the MESS my yard is in right now (didn't even clean up last fall) and what it is when I am done setting up SFG.

Bwahahah, that is exactly what I did in my Megan's 2011 Garden thread. The grand mess of my backyard shame is laid out for all to see. Now I *HAVE* to fix it! Very Happy
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Goosegirl on 2/20/2011, 5:56 pm

Megan wrote:
Goosegirl wrote: I want to get pictures of the MESS my yard is in right now (didn't even clean up last fall) and what it is when I am done setting up SFG.

Bwahahah, that is exactly what I did in my Megan's 2011 Garden thread. The grand mess of my backyard shame is laid out for all to see. Now I *HAVE* to fix it! Very Happy

That is EXACTLY what I am hoping it will do for me! Nothing like embarrassment to motivate a procrastinator!
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Megan on 2/20/2011, 6:26 pm

You go, girl! *knuckle-bump* Very Happy
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Old Hippie on 2/20/2011, 6:33 pm

I am the Procrastination QUEEN!! Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow?

Gwynn

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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Megan on 2/20/2011, 6:40 pm

Yes, and worse luck, I put a major hurt on one of my fingers yesterday. I'd planned on doing some yard cleanup today, but that's going to have to wait. Maybe next weekend. Sad
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Goosegirl on 2/20/2011, 7:57 pm

Just ordered my digital camera from Overstock - let the accountability begin! Embarassed
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  middlemamma on 2/20/2011, 8:34 pm

What the heck did you do to your finger? I hope it heals fast Megan I know how badly you want to get out there and get going. Smile
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Megan on 2/20/2011, 8:54 pm

Chopped the end off. Yuck.
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Goosegirl on 2/20/2011, 8:56 pm

Yikes! Bad enough for stitches?
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Megan on 2/20/2011, 8:59 pm

Nothing to stitch up, though the skin has retracted a bit. It didn't get into the joint or any tendons, thank goodness. Not much on a fingertip aside from skin, blood vessels, and nerve endings. (Ouch!)


Last edited by Megan on 2/20/2011, 9:02 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Old Hippie on 2/20/2011, 9:00 pm

Megan wrote:Chopped the end off. Yuck.


Akkkkkk! That terrible! How did that happen?? Get better soon!

Gwynn

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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Megan on 2/20/2011, 9:03 pm

Got distracted while chopping up broccoli for soup. Not a good thing to do while wielding a 10" chef's knife. But I will have my revenge tonight... soup's on! Very Happy
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  CarolynPhillips on 2/20/2011, 9:21 pm

Poor Megan OUCH
Hope that soups good.


Herbs= I forgot what i was goin to ask.
gotta re---read to refresh my memory
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  CarolynPhillips on 2/20/2011, 9:52 pm

Bee Balm
I have grown it everywhere I have lived except here. I love its weird aroma and how the hummingbirds flock to it.
So how do you use Bee Balm as an Herb? Is it similar to Lemon Balm? I am growing Lemon Balm
this year from seed. Have no idea what I am going to use it in.(dishes) I don't have much experience with fresh home grown herbs from the gardens.
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  Megan on 2/20/2011, 9:56 pm

Lemon Balm makes a wonderful tea. Look out, though, because it is highly invasive! *whistles innocently*

I have only read a little about Bee Balm's use as an herb, but apparently both the blooms and leaves can be used as a tea. I liked it because the bees and butterflies adore it. (It's also quite colorful.)


Last edited by Megan on 2/20/2011, 10:04 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Perennials or reseeding plants in SFG boxes?

Post  miinva on 2/20/2011, 9:59 pm

I grew a wide variety of herbs in pots last year and I grabbed a variety and threw it in lots of things, with no consideration for what anyone recommends goes together *giggle* Our very favorite was little new potatoes drizzled in olive oil and then sprinkled with whatever herbs I collected and baked until soft. The flavor was just amazing!

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