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Old 12-15-2005, 03:56 PM   #1
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Herb Garden Question

For some reason I was thinking about the new house today and all the yard that was waiting for me to plant a garden. One thing I will def. be doing this year is an herb garden. I couldn't at our other house because the yard was full of trees so I just did little containers. Anyway.......I need some tips from those of you who have herb gardens. I want like a layered effect not just rows. Aren't there some herbs you shouldn't grow in the ground because they'll take the garden over? Are there some herbs you shouldn't plant next to each other? Whats the best basil, parsley, etc.....to plant....I know there are different varieties.

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Old 12-15-2005, 06:21 PM   #2
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It's best not to plant anything in the mint family directly in the ground unless you want it to take over. I grow several different kinds of herbs, but I would think the growing conditions there would be much different than here.
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Old 12-15-2005, 06:47 PM   #3
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Sizzlin,

I agree with licia. Go ahead and plant your mints, but keep them in containers.

I grow just the herbs that I use in cooking, because I don't have a lot of room - in fact, I ONLY have containers.

I prefer flat leaf Italian parsley for cooking, but I also grow the curly parsley for garnishes and just because it's pretty. I can never grow as much parsley as I need and always have to buy it from the supermarket to supplement my garden.

I like sweet basil - I taste it before I buy it, to make sure it doesn't have a strong anise or licorice flavor.

I prefer marjoram over oregano, so I don't grow oregano anymore. But there are Italian, Greek and Mexican (maybe more) oreganos. Taste a leaf of each before you buy.

I love rosemary, sage (not any purple or fancy sage, just plain old sage), thyme, garlic chives and regular chives. The latter tend to self-seed, but are easy to pull up if you see a wayward clump.

I adore dill, but have no luck growing it in containers. If you like dill, grow it fresh and you will never be satisfied with dried dill again.

I like this question, can you tell? :-)

Lee
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Old 12-15-2005, 11:32 PM   #4
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Sage and rosemary can also grow rather large and the stalks get woody as well.

Everyone is correct about the mint and also more than 1 mint growing close together can intermingle and then you have a plant that is a mixture of both.

Can't remmber off the top of my head (without looking in my herb manual) I don't remmeber which herbs shouldn't be planted next to each other. Check your local library or internet search, if nobody else remmebers.
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Old 12-16-2005, 12:37 AM   #5
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There was a very good several pages discussion in the Joy of Cooking (prior to the New Joy of Cooking) cookbook that went into a lot of detail on this.

Of course, a quick Google search on "growing herbs" gives even more information.
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Old 12-16-2005, 05:49 AM   #6
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I have a tiny courtyard garden in which I grow ONLY herbs and a very veges, some in the ground, some in pots.

When you start off, choose only about half a dozen herbs, and make sure you choose ones you are guaranteed to use! Parsley is a popular choice, but it needs to be replaced every 2 years because it's a biennial. Sometimes it will self-seed.

Basil is an annual, but is a good choice. There are dozens of different cultivars. So is rosemary, oregano, chives, and mint - but keep the mint and the oregano in pots or they'll take over. All of these will grow in the sun, but if you're in a warm or hot climate, the mint will do better in partial shade. Spearmint is, for me, the most useful of the mints. I like lemon balm, and it's a member of the mint family, so follow the same rules with it!

If you like chillies, toss in a couple of those - they add great colour to the garden. Don't forget a small, standard bay tree, some garlic chives, some thyme as an edging (it will NOT suppress weeds! but it's a good groundcover) and a sage. I cannot imagine a herb garden without a lavender in it - make sure you get Lavandula angustifolia, the English lavender - and then you not only have a medicinal and household herb, you can also eat the flowers, which are utterly delicious in cakes and desserts!

I think your best bet is to do some homework on the conditions best suited to the herbs of your choice, and go from there.
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Old 12-16-2005, 07:54 AM   #7
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When I first did my herb garden years ago I did the mint and so learned not to do that again. Also since I love horseradish I planted that. Lets me say, that needs containing to.
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Old 12-16-2005, 08:01 AM   #8
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My mil years ago planted mint in a large wooden planter and lowered it into the ground where an outdoor faucet was. When she would start in the house after having worked in her yard, she would rinse her bare feet under the faucet stomping on her mint. She said it was very invigorating and a very nice scent. I still plant mine in pots, but don't sink them in the ground.
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Old 12-16-2005, 08:17 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone! Great tips. I do plan on going to my library to do more research......I just wanted to see what others here have done and what they prefer.
I will def. be planting lots of rosemary, basil, oregano and parsley as those are my favorite. Also, thyme, sage, chives, dill, and lavendar. I've never used fresh mint so I think I may only plant one of those and look for ideas to use it in.
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Old 12-16-2005, 08:46 AM   #10
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Back in January, I bought my first house. It had several flower beds, one of which is pretty big, and we immediately turned it into a garden. I got some herbs going. I planted Sage, Chives, Basil, Tarragon, Lavender, Rosemary, and Thyme. Of course, I planted a little early, and we had a couple late freezes which killed many of my new sprouts. The rosemary and lavender (I think) never came up. I had two little thyme plants come up, two good-sized basil plants, little clumps of sage, and a couple Tarragon (I think) plants. Chives came up, but I only used them once.

Honestly, I didn't really know what I was doing. I planted the seeds wrong, in little paper planters with peat for rooting. Originally, I did this to start them in the window, but, they never took off until I moved them outside. When I finally did get some sprouts going, I transplanted them into the dirt. Well, I planted a couple different kinds to close together. Not only that, but when I would water the planters before I transplanted them, I ended up washing many of the seeds out of the planters. I started having plants coming up everywhere. I found out that I had started regular thyme, when in fact, I wanted lemon thyme. I'm pretty sure the tarragon gave me two or three good-sized plants, but, if never developed a flavor. I got two good crops of basil, which is now pureed and frozen. One of my neighbors gave me a tired, sick-looking sage plant she had in a small pot. I planted that in the dirt, and two weeks later, it started taking off. I ended up getting A LOT of sage from that plant, which is now dried and ground. It should last me until next harvest.

I'll probably end up taking out most of the herbs in the spring, and starting fresh, planting in the dirt a little later in the year. Of course, I have to try and keep PeppA from planting watermelons in our little garden, as she didn't know then that they spread out all over the place.
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