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Old 08-10-2006, 11:29 PM   #1
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Herb Garden

I want to start up and herb (and maybe some vegetables) garden. I have limited space and I live in Maine (on the coast, if that's of any use). I'd like to grow rosemary, thyme, cilantro, and basil. For vegetables, tomatoes and carrots strike my fancy. Garlic would be nice.

I have limited space, and I'll be moving within a year too...if all goes as planned. Any pointers, websites, books, etc.? I especially need seeds and things. I'd like a strawberry bush and maybe rasberry, although I think those take a long time to mature and can't be transplanted.

I really just don't want to run to the supermarket and spend half an hour looking to find "fresh" "organically grown" herbs and vegetables. And, who knows? I may end up really enjoying gardening. I also need to know how to keep animals and pests off it.

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Old 08-11-2006, 01:12 AM   #2
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It's already mid-August... too late to be starting anything by seeds for this growing season. OTOH, if you can find some herb plants, and put them into the ground, you should be able to use from them until you get a freeze.

Last winter it never froze hard here, so my thyme, tarragon and chives just kept on producing! Basil will die off... It's an annual. but perennials will just keep on giving!
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Old 08-11-2006, 03:28 AM   #3
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Hi Primus!
First off, hope you are enjoying DC.

Everything you mention can be grown in pots with the exception of raspberries and carrots. You could grow carrots but you would need a huge pot an most likely end up with babies. Now they are great but ???? :)
This way, your garden would be portable but if s ChefJune says you have perennials, they will go pretty much where you go just keep close to the house under eaves in winter if frosts are a problem.
Strawberries dont grow on a bush, rather they are on very small, close to the ground clumps of foliage. I build mine up into wee heaps with some straw. Go Google for ideas on container gardens.

For an organic spray, mix a heap of crushed chilli and mint up with a little dishwashing liquid and mix with water. The D/W liquid will help the spray to adhere to plant long enough ( hopefully) for the mix to get rid of the nasties.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:02 AM   #4
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Have grown basil and chives in the house in pots.

Don't see why the other herbs would not grow inside as well.

Yes, and even have grown them that way through the winter so the lateness of the season should not be a problem.
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Old 08-11-2006, 06:07 AM   #5
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If basil is kept in the house, in a pot, it will grow continually. But you can't let it produce seed, so pinch off any flower buds that form. Peppers also grow wonderfully in pots and produce very nice organic peppes. I just pollinate the blossoms with a q-tip cotton swab. Just miick what the bees do.

I've had a hard time getting oregano to gwo in sufficient amounts when potted to be of any use. But I know others who have succesfully grown potted oregano.

And don't forget hanging plants such as nasturtiums, and such. Both the leaves and flowers are very tasty in salads.

There are also several plants, such as garlic bulbs, that are usually planted in the fall. since they're underground, they are protected from frost and freezing. Then they have the full growing season, from when the snow melts to mature.

Good luck with your garden. But beware, it's not just a "plant and forget" proposition. You will have to remove weeds regularily. And if your schedule is anything like mine, that is a challenge.

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Old 08-11-2006, 10:02 AM   #6
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Actually, fall is a good time to start thinking about next years vegetable garden, because you'll need to get a patch of ground worked up and ready for next spring. How well your garden does next summer depends on how well the soil is prepared this fall.
It's really best if you get rid of the grass first. (If there is no grass, then it's not a fit place for a garden.) You can do this in a couple of ways.
1. Determine the space for your garden, and spray the area with Round-up, which is a systemic herbicide that kills the plant without poisoning the ground. It leaves no residue, and is EPA approved. Wait until all foliage is dead, usually within a week to 10 days.
2. Another way is to physically remove the sod with a flat shovel, and put it someplace else.

Once the grass is gone, the ground needs to be worked up. If you can find someone with a tractor to plow and disc it, that's the best thing. If it's a small area, a rotertiller will do a pretty good job, but you may want to spade it up first. When spading, take little "bites" of the soil, rather than digging up big chunks. That way, it will break up more easily.
If you can get ahold of some cow or horse manure, spread that out on your garden and work it in with the tiller or your shovel. Then you're all set for now.
Next spring, buy a bag of lime and sprinkle it liberally over the garden, then have it tilled.

If you want to grow strawberries, fall is actually the best time to plant them. That way, you'll be able to get a light picking next spring. Otherwise, you'd need to keep the blossoms picked off the first year. If you get some planted, get back with me, and I'll explain how to rotate them.
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Old 08-11-2006, 03:46 PM   #7
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If you have a copy of Joy of Cooking there is a good primer on growing herbs - what conditions they need (type of soil, water, drainage, amount of sun or shade) - which ones need to be contained - etc.

It's a little late in the season to start now ... and if you grow them in containers ... pots full of dirt can get heavy to move. If you're planning (90% certain) you will be moving soon ... I would wait until after the move.
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
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Old 08-11-2006, 07:32 PM   #8
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Thanks guys!

Yeah, hopefully I'll be out of the house by next fall, then it's college for a couple years. After that I'm probably coming back to this area in hopes of finding work as a vet tech.

Growing potted herbs seems to be the most promising. I suppose I can wait on the veggies until I have a yard of my own to work with. I'll see what I can do to pick up The Joy of Cooking. I have The New Making of a Cook (which is great) and I'm having trouble navigating the index. Maybe there's info in there on growing herbs and I just can't find it.
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Old 08-11-2006, 08:52 PM   #9
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Next spring, buy some large plastic pots and BUY all of the plants.

The only one of them you need to plant from seed is carrot, and you can plant them in pots, too. However, after having grown them for years, I stopped, because I don't think the flavor of homegrown carrots is that much better than store-bought. Plus, carrots are so cheap in the store.....

You can take your herb containers with you when you move. I am growing all kinds of herbs, tomatoes, Japanese eggplants, peppers (bell and jalapeno), and flowers - all in a variety of shapes and sizes of containers.

Container gardening is a joy!

The photo is of newly-planted herbs. They are huge, now.

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Old 08-15-2006, 10:39 AM   #10
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Even when I lived in a trailer and was on the road full-time I grew an herb garden. We rarely spent more than a week anywhere, and every day I'd put the pot (I'd bought it particularly for its size, AND made sure it was plastic (fake pottery) so that I could tote it around) in the sink before we hooked up and left. I had to wait until we knew we'd "done" California, as taking live plants across that state line is illegal. I think that my orengano and rosemary are descendents from that garden. The oregano has lost its flavor, but I keep it around for sentimental reasons. Rosemary is in a pot and comes in to live during the winters. My neighbors all know it well, it looks like a little bonsai tree and whenever anyone wants rosemary they know to come looking. I must have had five or six different herb plants in that pot and it was my pride & joy.
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