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Old 02-28-2011, 10:24 PM   #1
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Growing Herbs in the Tropics

I really, really, really want to start planting some food-bearing plants. I buy so many fresh veggies it would be no trouble at all to start a compost bin (so I'm told), and there are some things I have trouble buying here that I would like to try and grow.

Couple of problems, though. I kill plants. Seriously, I'm a plant murderer. It's not really herbicide as much as it is involuntary plantslaughter. I don't even know how I do it! Growing up my mother had a house full of wonderful plants and a little garden here and there that just seemed to effortlessly sprout flowers and food. My sister has the green thumb, too. But in spite of growing up under both their tutelage and following their instructions to the letter, my plants just die.

I have people here who can help me get a garden started, it's what they do for a living, but I'm terrified I will kill everything!

The other problem is that many herbs don't seem to do well here in the Philippines. I don't really know why, it seems like they would thrive in the environment.

Example: You cannot buy fresh mint here, it's virtually impossible. You can't even buy dried mint. It's killing me because I love to cook with mint (I used to infuse my sweet tea with mint leaves). I have a small stock of dried mint I brought with me when I moved here, but since it's unavailable I've been guarding it like buried gold. I thought my mint problems were over when last November I came across a store in Manila that was selling some potted herbs, and one of them was mint. I bought the healthiest looking one, brought it home, asked all my gardening friends how best to take care of it and the answer was essentially "stick it in the ground, give it a bit of water and it'll grow like a weed...you'll never be out of mint again".

My mint was dead within 2 weeks.

So.....

Hope springs eternal. I'd still like to give an herb garden a shot. Does anyone have any experience or tips for growing herbs in a warm, humid environment?

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Old 02-28-2011, 10:26 PM   #2
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I have only tried to grow a few herbs and not had much luck. I agree with you, I would think herbs would do so well in your climate. I have had luck with rosemary, though. We have a big pot out at my fiance's house and he has actually kept it watered and we brought it in for the winter. I cut some and used it last week for roasted potatoes.

Interested to read the replies to this thread.
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:31 PM   #3
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I have actually have had luck growing herbs in little pots on the kitchen window sill. Also I have grown herbs in a big pot (all together) outside. My kids used to grow carrots in potting soil in a whiskey barrel. I am thinking of making some of the raised beds to grow some veggies this summer. I just have to figure a way to keep rabbits from eating everything before we get the chance. I think you just need to keep trying, and trying different ways until you find what works best for you. If you can bake bread, you can grow plants. You just need to keep at it, and you will succeed! Good luck!
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chopper View Post
I have actually have had luck growing herbs in little pots on the kitchen window sill. Also I have grown herbs in a big pot (all together) outside. My kids used to grow carrots in potting soil in a whiskey barrel. I am thinking of making some of the raised beds to grow some veggies this summer. I just have to figure a way to keep rabbits from eating everything before we get the chance. I think you just need to keep trying, and trying different ways until you find what works best for you. If you can bake bread, you can grow plants. You just need to keep at it, and you will succeed! Good luck!
The difference is I've been trying to grow plants for 30 years and I've been trying to bake bread for 30 days. But I admire your positive outlook! I will definitely keep at it, I just feel bad every time I kill one.
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Old 02-28-2011, 10:39 PM   #5
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Just keep trying. If I can grow things in this dry climate at high altitude, I am sure you can grow things there at sea level in a moist climate. Who knows, maybe this is your year!!!
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Old 03-01-2011, 11:19 AM   #6
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We're subtropical here, and so have a dry winter season. Am I correct that your year-round is very warm and humid, like our summers, without a break? I've managed to keep a few herbs going and might be able to help. Try getting the potting soil that drains rapidly, using what I would call a gallon size pot - plastic is fine, the kind with holes in the bottom. I usually add some stones over the holes so the dirt doesn't leak out. You might try mint and maybe thyme or basil plants. The herbs' favorite climate is dry, so they should benefit from the fast drainage - but they do need to be watered nearly every day. It doesn't have to be a chore, just have a gallon container sitting near the plants and give them a drink as you go by. They seem to do best in full sun, but if it's too hot and they look wilted, they can handle shade for part of the day. Just keep an eye on them until they begin to grow, then you can practially ignore them, just clipping pieces when you need to.

Hope this helps.
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Old 03-01-2011, 12:25 PM   #7
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Well, definitely water every day. And your friends are right, the mint should grow like crazy. Oregano will also do well. We have to keep both potted in SE Florida or they'll take over. Rosemary does well too, just have to keep it watered or it gets real woody. Thyme does okay. I have kept basil going thru the hot summer as well. I keep ours in a courtyard area where they get direct sun for a few hours a day in the late morning, then shade. Especially in the summer, it's just too hot for them otherwise. You just have to remember to WATER every day.
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:29 PM   #8
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Okra, ginger and basil.
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Old 03-04-2011, 02:58 AM   #9
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Bill I'm thinking those three are the easiest to grow here because they are the most readily available and cheapest to buy in the markets.
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Old 03-04-2011, 03:14 AM   #10
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How about Lovage?
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