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thanks chowhound! also, what's your plan for spring and summer herbs?

i just realized there was this new board on kitchen gardening. very cool! thanks chowhound!

anyhow, what are people going to plant for the kitchen garden this year?

thai basil
genovese basil
cilantro (i'll try)
english and french thyme
a new sage bush
some edible flowers (marigolds?)
will try a couple of tomatoes, one for sandwiches, and a small salad variety.
ginger? has anyone done this?

what are you planting? what am i missing?

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  1. edible marigolds are calendula or pot marigolds
    I used to grow borage which has lovely blue edible flowers
    I love lemon gem (signet marigolds) because of the lemony fragrance of the foliage but I'm not sure the flowers are edible
    Nasturtiums, also edible. They have a peppery bite. Leaves are edible, too. One of my garden favorites.
    I have perennial winter savory in the garden but hardly use it.
    Dill! You don't have dill on your list. I love dill weed.
    Lemon balm is a perennial in my garden. It makes a great tea.
    Lemon verbena is tender but can be wintered indoors if you don't mind having a leafless shrub for awhile.
    I like to grow lemon thyme and lemon basil, too. I have a recipe for lovely lemon vinegar which requires a lot of lemony herbs.
    I love rose geraniums and usually grow several scented varieties esp apple or nutmeg simply because I like the foliage. Rose geranium scented sugar is easy to make, just put leaves in sugar and then you have a fancy sugar.
    At our other house I started growing tomatoes in large containers. Always had a cherry tomato next to the porch steps for snacking. Last year I lucked into a local gardener who sells her excess heirloom tomatoes and peppers so I ended up with maybe 6 cherry tomato plants. I always have to have a golden or orange tomato in both the cherry size and standard size. We like the taste. But last year I also had a very dark purple cherry. The taste wasn't that great but I could make colorful salads. Yes, I had way too many cherry tomatoes. I tried to roast and freeze some but didn't find a recipe that worked well. Noticed a resurrected thread about cherry tomatoes that gives me new hope (oven at 220 degrees).
    Oh yes, chives and garlic chives aren't on your list. Keep chives deadheaded or they will re-seed all over your garden. Here in NH I have chives already big enough to cut. I planted garlic last fall and am happy to see it survived the winter. I plan to increase my planting next fall since I use a lot of garlic. Chive flowers are also edible. Tear them apart for a pretty pink oniony garnish.

    11 Replies
    1. re: dfrostnh

      dill, thanks for reminding me.

      and nasturtiums always remind me of my grandparents' garden, especially my "nannie"!

      i lie your idea of the lemon-y herbs for a vinegar.

      our chives we've had in a pot for years. they are faithful to always return -- and sometimes last well into the winter, where we've snipped them from the snow-topped planter! ;-).

      1. re: alkapal

        I didn't even think of nasturtiums when I noticed there is a kitchen garden topic! I have them growing in a couple places in my yard and I love them for the way the water bounces off of them and then settles in the center of the round leaves.

        But I also love them for Nasturtium Vinegar:

        In a Mason jar, pack as many pesticide-free nasturtium blossoms as it takes to loosely fill the jar. Stick in a few of the chubby seeds. Fill will seasoned rice vinegar and let steep for 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, fill a second jar with more blossoms and a few seeds. Strain the vinegar you've been steeping into the second jar and let it steep 2 more weeks. At the end of the second steeping, strain the lovely colored vinegar into an attractive bottle.

        It makes a wonderful vinaigrette to serve with a salad of tender lettuce, some sliced pear and pecans. I use walnut oil.

        1. re: rainey

          rainey, thanks for that recipe technique. is the vinegar a lovely golden color? is it herbally-bitter? slightly sweet?

      2. re: dfrostnh

        try my microwave garlicky cherry tomatoes recipe.

        1. re: dfrostnh

          Is arugula an herb or a green? It doesn't matter, it grows like mad in my cool country summer garden. I've given up on warm crops but grow herbs, lettuce and green beans which produce forever in the cool weather.

          I can always trade with my daughter for the good homegrown other stuff that needs warm weather.
          Here is her gardening blog:http://marionthedirtprincess.blogspot...

          1. re: EdwardAdams

            no luck with arugula here in d.c. area.

            1. re: alkapal

              I grew arugula here (I'm smack dab in between DC and Bmore) and it grew like crazy!! It grew so well in fact that I'm definitely growing it again this summer

              1. re: alkapal

                you should give a try to the wild arugula variety, rucola selvatica. (several other names) It has smaller leaves, doesnt go to seed so rapidly and reseeds vigorously. I just love it, if you keep topping it it just keeps sprouting more peppery leaves - its great to walk out and grab these for a salad. Yes it does get very peppery, but a little is still good.

            2. re: dfrostnh

              This thread should be reviewed and revived. In my quest to use up all the zucchini my garden was producing, I discovered a wonderful zucchini and potato gratin that required a lot of fresh parsley and oregano. Fortunately I had some Greek oregano that has been hiding among the tomatoes. What a great tasting dish. I think I will stick with one plant but I've seen Greek oregano on the marked down shelves recently and was tempted to buy a few $1 plants even though they looked awful.

              Obviously with the gardening season winding down here in NH, it's time to try out some new marinades with fresh herbs while they are still viable. Late planted cilantro looks good. I might stop planting it early because it always goes to seed quickly.

              Found my recipe for salted herbs. It's not the same one I see that's popular in Canada. I'll put some in the frig for winter use.

              1. re: dfrostnh

                dfrostnh, i'm a big cheerleader for scuzzo's "wafflemaker" preparation for veggies. your zucchini abondanza made me think of that technique. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/446954

                1. re: alkapal

                  thanks for the links. I wonder if the George Foreman is still around someplace. I never liked that gadget but my husband bought it. Now that I have a new mandoline I can slice veggies very quickly, it's all the egg dipping etc that takes time.

            3. I've had great success with rosemary, basil, parsley, thyme, greek and italian oregano, lemongrass, dill and cilantro. Not so lucky with sage - perhaps florida's climate is too humid. And the few attempts with mint have not turned out well. Chives are failing me too.

              I've never tried french tarragon in florida, have been told it's not suited to our enviroment and haven't seen french tarragon plants in the nurseries.

              As for ginger, I grow it from time to time in a pot, haven't really found a place for it yet in the garden beds. Quite easy - just take a knob of ginger from the grocery store, cut it up into chunks so each chunk has at least one eye and let it dry for a day or two. Plant with eyes up, covered with an inch or so of soil. Keep the soil fairly evenly moist - not soggy but don't let it dry out. Once the top growth dies down you can harvest the roots.

              14 Replies
              1. re: janniecooks

                oregano! yes, we've had it perennially, but it has lost its zip.

                1. re: janniecooks

                  Wow, sage--I have to cut it back hard every year b/c it turns into this huge bush (I'm in Michigan). It stays green until the first really hard freeze so I usually have it for Thanskgiving and Christmas still. Comes back every year, as do my chives, oregano and tarragon. But I envy you in that you probably can sustain rosemary and basil through the winter!

                  1. re: coney with everything

                    I don't know what your living room looks like, but if you don't mind moving some of your greenery indoors for the winter, we were able to keep both our lavender and rosemary going through the winter and just moved it back outside since it's warmed up. Both are in great big pots with multiple plants.

                    1. re: kattyeyes

                      I used to try bringing my Rosemary in every year but I never had one live through the winter so now I just dry it all in the fall.
                      I have to beat my tarragon back almost as much as the mint patch.

                      1. re: Fritter

                        where do you live and what is your trick with tarragon? I have never yet been able to keep a plant going here in NYC.

                        Are far as overwitering Rosemary is concerned, I have mine growing in la largish pot on a humidity tray. Rosemary does not like too much water and it needs soil that drains well - but it is also extremely sensitive indoors to dryness . Ive killed a lot of rosemary plants over the years by letting them dry out too much and so I try to make sure to keep watering it. Its gotten through this winter indoors just fine, which has been wonderful.

                        1. re: jen kalb

                          Gosh I wish I knew the trick for tarragon. I'm in Southern MI and it grows like crazy here. I have the same plant in my herb garden that I put there 13 years ago. I actually have to cut it down a few times a year. Chives and lavender grow very well here as well.

                          1. re: Fritter

                            What is your soil like? do you have lime? Im really at a loss after so many failures - I have no problems with chives, lavender sage etc. - but tarragon disappears.

                            1. re: jen kalb

                              In my herb garden I fortify the soil each spring with manure but I have never limed the soil here. I've had other property where I had utilize 2 tons per acre. Have you run a soil test?

                              1. re: Fritter

                                my soil runs to the acid end - thats why I wondered about the lime since i am at a loss as to why the tarragon does not thrive and I thought that might be a possible solution. Maybe as you point out it needs high fertility (though I think some herbs prefer a less fertile soil.) Youve given me something to think about.

                            2. re: Fritter

                              Me too, Fritter. Way more tarragon than I want! It takes over my tiny garden if I don't hack it back. I have terrible soil, very clayey and compacted, and it's a southern exposure.

                              Now if I could only get tomatoes to grow like my tarragon...

                          2. re: Fritter

                            I've read that you can freeze entire sprigs of rosemary, and when they're frozen you can easily remove as many leaves as you need. Has anyone ever tried this? When I try to dry herbs indoors they always end up full of cat hair...

                            1. re: Kinnexa

                              When I pick herbs I dry them in a brown paper bag. Some herbs like tarragon stay nice and green this way when drying instead of turning brown. This also works nicely for thyme.
                              I have not tried freezing rosemary but I'll be sure to try that out this season!

                              1. re: Kinnexa

                                My rosemary is a perennial out here in San Diego so there's no point in me freezing any--if I want some fresh I just wander into the back yard and pick some ;-)

                                As for drying herbs, you can do it the Alton Brown way and use some furnace filters strapped to a box fan or invest in a food dehydrator.

                          3. re: coney with everything

                            Yes, I miss the sage that grew with abandon in the northeast (and the lavender). Down here rosemary grows well with the right conditions - some of my plants are chest-high; considering using them like a hedge! Basil also does great, plus there comes a time when you just can't keep it from flowering, so I let it go to seed and it gives me a continuous supply of basil. Until those once or twice a year killing frosts!

                        2. is it worth planting garlic?

                          1. I've grown just about every vegetable mentioned here above and more when I was able to.... now It's herbs and edible flowers.

                            As for garlic, it's very easy to grow. You just have to decide on which variety you want and whether you want to plant it in the Autumn or Spring.
                            Here's a link that gives very good information.

                            Other than the chives and garlic chives already mentioned... fennel is easy to grow and looks lovely swaying in the breeze. French Tarragon is another herb I grow and it's perennial here in Zone 6A. .

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Gio

                              oooh, fennel! man, i may have to rent a roto-tiller!

                              1. re: alkapal

                                If you have a flower garden the fennel esp the bronze is a terrific backdrop, blender and butterfly plant there.

                            2. if you have cats, grow catnip....they go bonkers for it. it's also suitable for tea.
                              I just moved into my first home and I've got herbs going on every available windowsill space in the kitchen...it faces the south and gets a superb amount of light each day. i've got basil varieties including the greek mini basil http://bit.ly/ESMR (not mine...just an example)..they've got beautifully refined leaves..i'm growing oregano and marjoram, mint and sage (which is getting a bit leggy these days...i just snipped off the top leaves...hopefully it will fill out.) anyway...look forward to the day that i can start harvesting them!

                              8 Replies
                              1. re: jabscoffier

                                My cat likes catnip OK enough from time to time. What she REALLY loves and pines for is lemongrass. And when the lemongrass has become "lemonhay" (see photo) she still grazes on it.

                                She loves ornamental grass, too, which we buy just for her grazing enjoyment. We live in a townhouse, so we don't have a "real" garden, but we have more pots and planters than you can shake a stick at all around the deck in season...and some near the front entryway.

                                In the past, we've grown many of the same herbs already mentioned. We've really enjoyed some of the different basil varieties:
                                - cinnamon basil
                                - lemon basil

                                It's fun to make caprese on top of baguette slices with the different basils and have a taste test.

                                And chocolate mint is pretty cool and different, too!

                                Meanwhile, the chives are growing back and the lavender and rosemary are back outside after their winter hibernation in the living room!

                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                  Now THAT picture is TOO funny! LOL

                                  1. re: kattyeyes

                                    i loved that photo. your kitty looks like a bear!

                                      1. re: Fritter

                                        Thanks, guys. April (a.k.a. Queenie or Katty) is part Siamese, so I joke that she's trying to get back to her ancestral roots via the lemongrass!

                                      1. re: alkapal

                                        awwwww!!! I have 2 cats...Simba, my all black mysterious queen, just loves the 'nip...Kermit, my silly torty who loves to retrieve (thinks he's a dog)...could care less about it. Tried planting some in April...dang neighbor's cat ate ALL of it! Thanks for that video...wonder if Sims hears voices when she partakes.

                                        1. re: Val

                                          watch the others, too.
                                          of my last two kitties, one loved it, and the other could not have cared less.

                                    1. Fun...I have only a porch at my condo, it is currently jammed packed with containers of:

                                      Herbs (most of these survived the winter, except the basil): genovese basil, sicilian oregano, sage, chives, kentucky mint, tarragon, french thyme, rosemary, parsley

                                      Veggies (never tried any of these before, fingers crossed, advice welcome): bell pepper, rosa bianca & lousiana long green eggplant, sungold tomatoes.

                                      Celeste fig tree - in its second year, tons of beautiful leaves - but doesn't ripen fruit (it all drops off before it ripens)...might be too cold still?

                                      Key lime tree - bought at the end of last summer - TONS of buds this spring....if they all actually become limes i am going to be in trouble!

                                      Wish i could have: cilantro; i had luck with it this winter but it bolts at the first sign of warm temps here.

                                      I am looking forward to this board!

                                      4 Replies
                                        1. re: EmBrooks

                                          <<Key lime tree - bought at the end of last summer - TONS of buds this spring....if they all actually become limes i am going to be in trouble!>>

                                          If they all actually become limes, I am going to post my home address for you. ;)

                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                            wonder if embrooks got her key lime bonanza?

                                            1. re: alkapal

                                              Dammit, she never even wrote to ask for my addy! :( And this year, I have no buds as yet on my Meyer lemon tree. Will fertilize this week.

                                              EmBrooks, last year's offer still stands. I remain ready to help with your bonanza!!!

                                        2. Don't forget sunflowers. Nice for vase cutting, bird seed & roasting seeds at harvest.
                                          Sunflowers add alot of charm to your garden.

                                          This season the kids are planting a variety of basil, sage, thyme, rosemary, lots of lavender, edible flowers, mint.

                                          Later they will transfer starter plants ie: eggplant, pumpkins, tomatoes, squash & peas to a larger contained area in our yard.

                                          Happy gardening, all!

                                          1. I stick with the basics for my herb pots - basil, parsley, thyme, rosemary, chives, sometimes sage, sometimes oregano. But I *love* your idea of sorrel, alkapal! And having read janniecooks' comments re: growing ginger, I'd love to try that as well!

                                            1. I don't know if you're into shiso, but shiso grows very very well in our area. My mother grows green shiso (the korean stuff) and it grows like MAD every year. We use the leaves for ssam, pickling, and we even take the flowers and deep fry them - tempura style. This year we are even doing purple shiso to change things up a bit

                                              23 Replies
                                              1. re: bitsubeats

                                                As last year a lot of my summer herb space is devoted to really odd herbs, mostly purchased through though mountain valley growers (http://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com) the list as it stands now
                                                Herbs brought inside last year and kept over the winter
                                                Cuban Oregano A oregano flavored succulent

                                                Spanish Thyme (two tone variety) similar to the Cunan oregano but bigger leaves and different taste

                                                Mexican Oregano (Lippia graveolens


                                                Zataar (Oreginatum Maru) a species of Oregano found in parts of Syria and the middle east, unbelievably powerful oregano flavor)

                                                Clove/ Tree Basil (Ocinum Grantissimim) a tall spindy basil relative with intensely clove scented foliage (note this isn't the same thing as thai basil) Am hoping that this one will survive till spring (It's developed a major whitefly infestation and the whitefly spay I'm using doesnt seem to be doing much to eradicate it) since this herb is not being offered by MVG this year

                                                Herbs left outside over the winter which should come back this year

                                                Egyptain mint (Metha Niliacea) big fuzzy slight apple scent

                                                Habeck Mint (Mentha longifolia) very long leafed (looks more like lawn grass than mint). I may pull this one out if I need space though, the mint flavor wasn't all that strong, and the moment it got the littlest bit water stressed every leaf on the plant truned brown and died (odd for an herb which orginated in the Middle East)

                                                Cat Thyme (Teucium Maru) - little fuzzy plant realted to germander. Kattyeyes if you ever bump into this, you may want to try it as our cat (who is so-so on catnip) goues crazy for this stuff. Put some catnip near her and shell sniff for a while do a little rolling and then walk off. put one leaf (or even rub one leaf) of cat thyme near her her and shell rub herself and roll herself in that spot for linterally hours on end. I actually have had to learn that if I am working with the dead flower heads (for seed extraction) not to throw my leftovers in the (metal) wastebasket, last year the cat tried to chew through it to get at the stuff!

                                                Herbs ordered from MVG slated to arrive in mid May

                                                Conehead thyme (Cordiothymus capitatus) an odd little herb that tastes like a cross between thyme and black pepper.

                                                Corsican Mint (Mentha requienni)

                                                Pine Scented Rosemary (Rosmarius agustafolius)

                                                Caraway thyme (Thymus herba barona)

                                                Pink Savory (Saturneja thymbra)

                                                In addion once the Farmers market startes getting its herb seedlings in, I'm more or less guaranteed to get a plant or two of the Krisna thype of Holy Basil (Ocium sanctum) since I love the smell (sort of basily-watermelony). I likely round out the area with some basic herbs like ordinary basils, chives, dills and parsleys (probably a lot extra of these two as I love butterflies and want to make sure that any Eastern black swallowtails who decide they want to lay eggs on my plants have a sufficent food supply for thier growing parsley worms)
                                                Oh and a pot of Chinese dill/fennel if I can find the seed again this year (I find it from time to time on the seedracks of grocery stores in chinatown)

                                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                  more info on the wild oregano called zaatar and za'atar the herb and spice blend: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Za&#39;atar

                                                  "Latin names for the herbs called za'atar include Origanum majorana (sweet marjoram), Origanum syriacum (also known as Biblical hyssop, Syrian oregano and wild marjoram), and Thymus capitatus (thyme).[...] Za'atar barri ("wild za'atar") is identified as Origanum vulgare which in English can refer to European oregano, oregano, pot marjoram, wild marjoram, winter majoram, and wintersweet.[...] Both oregano and marjoram are closely related Mediterranean plants of the Labiatae family which also includes mint and sage, so it is unsurprising that these herbs are commonly used as substitutes for one another.[...

                                                  Spice mixture

                                                  "Za'atar is generally prepared using ground dried thyme, oregano, marjoram, or some combination thereof, mixed with toasted sesame seeds, and salt.[4] Some varieties may add savory, cumin, coriander[....] or fennel seed. A Lebanese variety of Za'atar usually contains sumac berries, and has a distinct dark red color."

                                                  jm, i like your odd assortment. ;-).

                                                  1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                    Thanks, jumpingmonk. I will keep an eye out for both Egyptian mint AND cat thyme. That is too funny your cat tried to chew through a metal wastebasket to get to it!

                                                    1. re: kattyeyes

                                                      Kattyeyes, if you have any difficulty finding either, just go to th elink I provied, tthey carry both and time shipping so that the plants arrive just when they're ready to go outside. The company does have a six plant minimum (total, not per plant) but their list is so extensive that you proably won't have any trouble finding six. You may also want to get more than one Cat thyme, as it's one drawback is that it grows very slowly.

                                                      One warning if you go around the web, you may come across another cat affercting plant called something like "Japanese Drunken cat vine" from what I have read this plant may acutally be a bit to dangerous for cats. Apprently its a member of the Actinidacae (the Kiwi family) and according to Japanese herblore has the effect of making cats so disoriented, that, if they try to chase mice they will crash in to the walls as they are no longer able to see the mouseholes. this has always sounded a bit to dangerous to give to my cat, espically when you consider that it was from a similar vine that scinetist first extacted the drug PCP (which incidentally was orginaly desinged as a sedative for big cats). Oh an someone at the farmers market told me not to plant sweet grass if you have a cat (lemon grass, like you have is fine) cats apprent can get sick if they eat it.

                                                      Alkapal thanks for the Za'atar info, as it happens my za'tarr is not any of those though it is closely realted to Orginatum syriacum (they are both identified as Bible hyssop) other versions of the mix inclued the cat thyme (which may be why it also has the species name "maru" conehead thyme and pink savory (which is why I got the savory, so if I wanted to do the recipe I had head of without substitutuions, I could) Next year I also plant to try and get my hands on an Australian mint bush (which actually tastes more like orgeano than mint) was a bit too late this year.
                                                      Finally a fun thing to add if you have space for a herb just for the smell (i.e. you can't eat it) Hyptis suaveolens (Misky mint, or wild spkenard) the stuff has a strong heavy menthol eucalypus smell just like vick's vaporrub) (Note, you may have heard of something called a vick's plant. That's something different though it has the same smell) Native seeds SEARCH (http://www.nativeseeds.org/) has it in thier herb section.

                                                      1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                        Thank you SO much for the info. I will probably place an order if I can't find it in our usual local nursery. I really appreciate it--as will The Queen. :)

                                                    2. re: jumpingmonk

                                                      like I mentioned above, fennels seem to be the ultimate swallowtail butterfly plant - we really have enjoyed watching the growth of the swallowtail caterpillars on our plants - though they can chew through a small plant pretty fast.

                                                      1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                        Can I come over and roll around in your garden for a few hours?

                                                        I hadn't heard of most of those herbs. Where do you live?

                                                        1. re: Agent Orange

                                                          I'm located in Southern Westchester, New York, about thirty miles from NYC. This has the advantage of giving me acess to places like the Union Suqare Greenmarket in NYC on Wed. (it's also on Sat. but I usally go on Wed) Monst of my stuff is Mail order (via that Moutain Valley growers I keep mentioning) but if you get it in the right season you can usally find the Cuban and Mexican oreganoes) the Zaa'tar, the spanish thyme and the Holy basil.

                                                          As for rolling around in my garden the problem is that almost noting I mention is physcally IN my garden, pretty much everytihng has to be pot grown as our soil really sucks (basically it's a mixture of rocks and the kind of acidic loan you get when pretty much all of your trees are oaks and hemlocks. I have to add pretty much a whole bag of lime and another of bloodmeal each year just to get anything to come up, let alone thrive.) besides ordinary pots we have a couple of "natural pots" lagre hollow stumps we've filled with potting soil and those get plants too (I've even used one of them for the last few years to grow watermelons, which eveyone said was impossible with as little land as we have. The fruits I got weren't large ( softball to basketball size) but I did get them (and in a way I sorta like tiny melons, it means I can eat the melon and not have to worry about space in the fridge for the leftovers.)

                                                          1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                            <<(and in a way I sorta like tiny melons, it means I can eat the melon and not have to worry about space in the fridge for the leftovers.)>>

                                                            Me, too. Not that I grow them, but I get a big kick out of the "personal melons" they sell in the supermarket. We're just two people, so the personal melon is the perfect size for us. Gotta love marketing! ;)

                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                              Glad to see I'm not the only one. Icidentally this years melons would be small even if they did grow to max size, since I am indulging my love of oddly colored flesh watermelons again (last years were white fleshed ones (C.S. White flesh, and White Wonder) the year before were oranges (Viginia Tendersweet and Orangeglo) This years are also a white (well tecnically a cream) variety called the Japanese Cream fleshed Sukia or Sukita (whichever is the Japanese word for "watermelon"). even under ideal conditons the fruit wont get much above 5-7 lbs (a lost of Japanese cosumers like their watermelons small and round so they can fit in the fridge more easily (also becuse a lot of people think a little, round melon looks far nicer in one of those "gift melon" boxes than a big 40lb oval.) not a lot of info on this melon but waht I saw sound good, it seems to have an unusally high brix (sugar content) for a white fleshed melon (one of the problems with a lot of white melons is that they tend not to be all that sweet. In fact the CS last year had so little sugar they might have been better chopped up into the salad as a vegtable than eaten for dessert. Really juicy and refreshing, though).

                                                                1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                  Okay everyone the herbs I had ordered when I started posting have arrived. most are pretty much as I expected (I've tried to grow Conehead thyme before so I already knew what to expect appearace wise) and most of the oters look pretty much as expected (the pinks savory they sent me is actually already in full flower)
                                                                  The only surpise (and the reason I'm doing this update) is the corsican mint. I know I said a lot about this mint (and I stand by every word) but for the casual user of mint, this may not be up your alley. The basic fact I was not told (or proably was told and didnt notice) is that corsican mint leaves are TINY (about the size of commom thyme leaves) and the plant is basically a GROUNDCOVER (I'm serios it's basically flush with the soil) It still smells like mint though. If you want a really nice aromatic groundcover for your garden (which is just fine with me, we've got a lot of stone paths) this stuff would be great, but if your idea of mint is something you grow to eat, this stuff is proably not for you as I can think of no way in HELL one could harvest it (imagine harvesting thyme if you had to pluck every leaf one by one....,)

                                                                  1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                    A google search refers to it as a ground cover that needs a lot of water and it's not very hardy. I think I have grown it in the distant past only to lose it the first winter. I'm in NH, zone 5.

                                                                    1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                      Corsican mint grows in zones 6-9, it does not do well in drought, not soggy soil but moist. It will die back in winter but usually comes back in spring. Leaves can easily be eaten, great ground cover with small purple flowers.

                                                                      My friend in TN who has a summer home in NC and grows it both places very well. I was up last year and he was planting more. It grows very well. He planted it along a wooden walkway.

                                                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                        I also just dicovered that Corsican Mint is the mint used to make creme de Menthe. Guess it's not that impossible to use culinarily as I thought!

                                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                          It is correct. Very pugent but great flavor. Not used as often as more common mints for daily use but very good. Tea is also good if I remember correctly. I love it and at my friends it is gorgeous. I'm envious, can't do too much here like up north. Mine has problems with the heat and water.

                                                                          1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                            jumpingmonk, if you make your own creme de menthe from the Corsican Mint, I definitely want to hear about it! :)

                                                                            Everybody, how are your herbs doing? We finally bought all our plants and most are repotted on the deck and doing well. Some interesting additions to this year's lineup:

                                                                            pineapple sage (thanks, Fritter!)
                                                                            hot & spicy oregano
                                                                            cilantro delfino (it's kind of a lacy cilantro--never had it!)

                                                                            We have "regular" oregano and cilantro, too.

                                                                            jm, I couldn't find cat thyme locally, so we picked up ryegrass (labeled "cat treat") and catgrass (wheat) seeds to plant. "Cats and kittens will love this treat," so says the packaging. :)

                                                                            And not herbs, but we have two alpine strawberry plants I'm pretty excited about. And, the star of the show is Limona the dwarf Meyer lemon tree.

                                                                            I'm actually glad I revisited this thread today. dfrostnh, I want to try your chive blossom suggestion. And also want to mention that the chive blossoms attracted a hummingbird to the deck this week. What a beautiful visitor!

                                                                            I rallied for lime basil (this was the first year I had seen it), but we didn't get it YET. I will find a way to get this on my porch very soon. We'll need more basil to accompany all the tomatoes (eventually!).

                                                                            1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                              Pineapple sage is great, had it for a few years, cilantro of course but just reg here. Lots of catnip my cats never like other, but who knows. Cats are wierd all together, lol.

                                                                              Lime basil is great. I have lime, red, and 2 3 others for fun. I love it.

                                                                              1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                The perennial dwarf fountain grass we bought for April last year doesn't appear to be coming back. I gave it quite the haircut, but I think too late. No signs of green on it that I can see! Every time she goes out, she plunks her head into the pots to see what's growing. It's a funny visual!

                                                                                alkapal, now I can try some of the pineapple sage recipes you told me about. I know the butter suggestion, but need to refind the pound cake with leaves at the bottom.

                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                  P sage is a great herb. I love it with fish chicken and I'm sure deserts. Great flavor. Chicken basically but also for fish

                                                                              2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                I got my herbs a few weeks ago and repotted them then (we had a warm stretch in the Boston area in late April/early May, although I had to bring them all in this past Monday because of a frost warning).

                                                                                They're doing well - one basil plant got dug up by a pesky squirrel, but the flat leaf parsley, thyme, and rosemary (and the other sweet basil) are doing very well. Have already snipped some thyme that I used in that herb & lavender rub for roast chicken last Sunday.

                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                  My first planting of basil got zapped. We had frost two days ago. Today it's 85 out!
                                                                                  I knew I was gambling planting before the holiday. I put some more in today. I need to cut Tarragon this weekend.

                                                                                  1. re: Fritter

                                                                                    This is where being a townhouse gardener (if I am even that!) is on my side--all our fragile plants came in when we had that cold snap.

                                                              1. I am a gardening novice with just a deck to work with. Are there certain herbs that grow better together- I am planning on putting them on pots on the deck- so are some better suited to be pot mates than others?

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: cassoulady

                                                                  I think it doesn't matter which herbs are planted together. Unlike various vegetables, and some flowering plants, there are no plant companions in the herb garden as far as I can tell. I've been gardening for a very long time and in my garden the perennial herbs stay put from year to year but herbs which are annual here in zone 6A are planted in a different place each year. I like to enrich the soil with compost in the spring and like the idea of not planting the same thing in the same spot all the time. It's called crop rotation and I practiced it when I was growing vegetanbles and continued with the herbs.

                                                                  The exception is fennel which needs a place of it's own. It is called an allelopathic plant - it inhibits growth, much like the black walnut tree. So be careful where you plant it.

                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                    But don't some herbs need a LOT more water than others (i.e., Parsley)? This link from one of the first posts on the Gardening board might help cassoulady:

                                                                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/606792 as well as a companion story on CHOW: http://www.chow.com/stories/11580

                                                                2. thanks for the tips! I am going to need all the help i can get!

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: cassoulady

                                                                    I don’t have a “garden” per say, but I do container gardening on my balcony.
                                                                    This year I am attempting my tried and true:
                                                                    Thai Basil
                                                                    Genovese Basil
                                                                    Lettuce Leaf Basil
                                                                    Sweet Basil
                                                                    edible flowers: Nasturtiums, Morning Glory
                                                                    Italian Parsley
                                                                    Mint (in its own pot)
                                                                    Lemon Balm

                                                                    And I want to try for the first time:

                                                                    And I would like to try some greens.
                                                                    Any suggestions for greens for container gardening? I have huge pots about 24 inches high. I live in Toronto. I am buying my plants starting next week until the last week in may when they will go outside.

                                                                    1. re: Smachnoho

                                                                      I didn't realize morning glories were edible! I have to share this with my mom. She has grown them since I was little.

                                                                      BTW, my mom has Johnny Jump Ups on her lawn and has used them to decorate cakes as they're edible, too.

                                                                      Do you guys already know about these?

                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                        I'm not sure they are, Smachnono can you confirm we are talking about the same plant (Inponomea tricolor)? I was always taght morning glories were posionous (of course they may have been talking about seeds not the flowers) and always just assumed that the rest of the plant was as well. Of course sweet potatoes are a kind of morning glory and there is another kind with edible leaves (see thread on asian vegetables for more) so I may be wrong.

                                                                        1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                          Here's a neat link about edible flowers I found this a.m.:

                                                                          Note--morning glories aren't on this list, but as you suggest, jumpingmonk, maybe Smachnono is talking about a different kind of plant. Meanwhile, the link above is a pretty lengthy list!

                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                            i'd never heard about morning glories, either. this seed site says the flowers are NOT edible: http://www.wildflowerinformation.org/...
                                                                            perhaps smachnoho is thinking of pansies, which are edible. http://www.fitnessandfreebies.com/foo...
                                                                            actually, pansies are a variety of violets! (news to me): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pansy

                                                                            "johnny jump ups" look like violets.. http://www.wildflowerinformation.org/... note that this seed site lists if a plant has edible flowers.

                                                                            they too seem to be part of the violet family. in wiki, here is info about "violets":

                                                                            When newly opened, Viola flowers may be used to decorate salads or in stuffings for poultry or fish. Soufflés, cream and similar desserts can be flavoured with essence of Viola flowers. The young leaves are edible raw or cooked as a somewhat bland leaf vegetable.

                                                                            "A candied violet or crystallized violet is a flower, usually of Viola odorata, preserved by a coating of egg white and crystallised sugar.[....] Candied violets are still made commercially at Toulouse, France, where they are known as violettes de Toulouse. They are used as decorating or included in aromatic desserts.

                                                                            "The French are also known for their violet syrup, most commonly made from an extract of violets. In the United States, this French violet syrup is used to make violet scones.
                                                                            Viola essence flavours the liqueurs Creme Yvette, Creme de Violette, and Parfait d'Amour. It is also used in Parma Violets confectionery."

                                                                        2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                          There are several recipes that utilize violets or crystallized violets in the Cake Bible if any one still has that book.

                                                                    2. I have a large rosemary and sage in the planter next to my house (edible landscaping).

                                                                      I transplanted some chives I had in a container into the garden this spring and they are loving it. Next to them are some marjoram and greek oregano. I have some french tarragon in a container that I need to transplant into the ground.

                                                                      I also have some thyme, oregano, spearmint and peppermint along my back wall.

                                                                      And, in the raised beds I have dill, cilantro, fennel, curly and italian parsley and basil.

                                                                      Then there's all the vegetables and greens in raised beds as well: a dozen varieties of peppers, half a dozen tomatoes, radishes, chard, broccoli raab, peas, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, several varieties of lettuce, beets, argula.

                                                                      1. I've been doing very haphazard container gardening - a few plants out on the doorstep - for a few years, and this year I'm ready to expand (ran out of herbs last winter). I'm still limited to containers because the soil is all sand here, and I want to be able to bring the plants in when it gets cold (zone 5- central Maine). I'm making plans for dill, chives, lavender, rosemary, sage, thyme, chamomile, basil...whatever I can afford, all from plants because seeds just don't grow for me. I'll put a pot of catnip in a separate place FAR AWAY from the rest of the herbs, so my cats and the neighborhood kitties don't destroy my garden. I do like catnip tea now and then, if the cats will leave me alone long enough to drink it! - I also like pine tea in the spring: cut the new tender growth off the end of the branch and steep. Mmmm!

                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Kinnexa

                                                                          Kinnexa, I just bought some catnip today on a whim when I bought 2 tomato plants! I have 2 cats who stay indoors...one LOVES dried catnip, the other could care less about it (we always joke that he's just naturally high all the time; truly he's a freak...he RETRIEVES! He'll play fetch for 20 minutes) Anyway, I tasted it for the first time before I planted it...MINT!...and I gave a little to Simba my beautiful and mysterious all-black queen..she ate it right up! So, here's my question...should it be dried before you use it or do you just put it fresh into a teapot to steep? Thanks!

                                                                          1. re: Val

                                                                            I use mint fresh in tea. I use mint all the time. Love it in salads, salsas, fish and tea too. I prefer my white wine, brandy, peaches and mint however :)

                                                                            1. re: Val

                                                                              I usually dry the leaves first, but I'm planning to try it fresh and bruised 'cause it sounds interesting. My cats show very little interest in the dried herb, but I stashed my plant on a high shelf until I get a chance to plant it just to be safe! Some of my dearly departed kitties would just about kill for the stuff, and drool over a catnip-stuffed toy for days...I sat down with a nice mug of catnip tea and had to literally fight them off my lap!

                                                                              I've read that catnip tea usually makes one relaxed and pleasantly calm, or rather depressed, so be forewarned. I find it calming, sort of like chamomile, and good before bed - that is, if I can enjoy it without wrasslin' the cats.

                                                                          2. cilantro is very easy to plant from seed, and you can do so now. It comes up well, and you'll want to re-seed every 3 weeks or so to have a steady supply, since it goes to seed quickly.

                                                                            As to mint, a word of caution -- mint sends out lots of roots underground and most consider it invasive. My advice is keep it out of your garden or at least a great distance from others or it will choke everything out. I have my mint patch in the middle of the lawn where it must compete with the grass, though it does tremendously, and I just gave it a little help as it was emerging this week and pulled out some grass in the mint patch.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                              Yes, very true with mint like oregano. My mint is on the end and I cut back quite often.

                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                  Not a bad move, depends on the garden and space, it can take over. I make a mint jelly, so when it thrives I cut most of it back to use, but yes it makes an excellent pot container plant as well and thrives in semi sun and does great. for hanging pots too.

                                                                              1. I stopped at Lowe's for a bag of soil and got sidetracked by the racks of 'Bonnie' herb plants in peat pots. I'm somewhat lazy and my thumbs are pale green at best, and the plants looked in good shape and very appealing ("Great for Kids!" says the wrapper.) I got my soil plus common sage, spicy basil, Thai basil, rosemary, and catnip. Tomorrow they go into the containers - rain is forecast for the rest of the week, and I do hope the Farmer's Almanac is wrong for once about 'wet snow'.

                                                                                I used restraint at Lowe's because there's a nice little nursery next door to my vet's office that always has big, healthy chives, dill, and lavender in huge pots at a decent price. Also I'm screwing up my courage to start some German chamomile seeds I picked up - got to be outdoors because we have no sunny spots in the house. And yes, the cats are getting their own, separate garden. :)

                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                1. re: Kinnexa

                                                                                  How psyched are your kitties?! What a nice mom you are. :)

                                                                                2. If you're looking for edible flowers try planting borage. It's a lovely old-fashioned herb and the beautiful purple flowers look wonderful in salads and in fruit punches. The also candy well.

                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: purple goddess

                                                                                    Eek! Borage, though lovely, is a bee magnet. Being allergic, I avoid it as the plague!

                                                                                    1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                      It's also a beetle magnet - I planted it one season and for the first time my garden was overrun with japanese beetles, ripped it out and never had a beetle problem again.

                                                                                  2. Feels like summer in Phoenix (Sunset Zone 13) already, with temps jumping to 10-15 degrees above normal this week.

                                                                                    Winter/Spring plants on the way out:
                                                                                    fava beans
                                                                                    I'itoi onions (harvesting some now, but will let others go into summer dormancy)
                                                                                    Shallots (red variety-to be harvested next month)
                                                                                    Garlic (to be harvested next month)

                                                                                    Summer crops (recently planted, fall survivors, and perennials):
                                                                                    Swiss chard
                                                                                    Tomatoes (Sungold and Early Girl)
                                                                                    Eggplant (Ping Tung-skinny Asian variety and Listada de Gandia-small globe variety)
                                                                                    Chiles (poblanos, Thai chile, jalapeno, serranos, New Mexico-No. 6, pimientos de padron, banana peppers)
                                                                                    Summer squash (patty pan type, yellow crookneck type)
                                                                                    Armenian cucumber
                                                                                    Mystery cucumber
                                                                                    Black-eyed peas
                                                                                    Okra (Clemson Spineless-to be planted this week)
                                                                                    Basil (Sweet/Genoa, Purple Ruffles)
                                                                                    Greek oregano
                                                                                    Mexican oregano
                                                                                    English thyme
                                                                                    Sage (Berggarten)

                                                                                    1. I have a balcony garden, so space and dirt is limited, but here is my lineup.

                                                                                      Mint, genovese basil, rosemary, sage, lavender, cilantro, tarragon, french thyme, greek oregano.

                                                                                      I'll be trying ancho and jalapeno peppers as a first time pepper grower. Hope I won't mess up.

                                                                                      I have some violas and pansies for pretty salads.

                                                                                      I am excited about my purslane seeds. They grow like crazy and I love making salads with them.

                                                                                      4 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                                                        Make sure the chiles have good draiinage, plenty of good organic fertilizer, and lots of light. If you're growing them in pots, you'll probably need to feed them once a month or so, depending on how much you have to water them.

                                                                                        Good luck!

                                                                                          1. re: hohokam

                                                                                            I'm not a fan of fertilizer for vegetables. First, if it's not organic, I don't want it in my food that I grow. Also, extra nutrients seem to make it especially enticing to pests. The most I would go for would be seaweed or fish emulsion.

                                                                                            I started herbs in pots on the porch a couple years ago when I lived in an apartment and then found that the potting soil was a miracle grow type fertilized mixture, so I threw them all out and started again because I didn't want to *eat* miracle gro.

                                                                                            1. re: NYchowcook

                                                                                              1) I specified organic fertilizer in my post
                                                                                              2) In my area, potted plants need daily watering in the summer, so soil nutrients end up being washed away at a high rate
                                                                                              3) Chiles are heavy feeders, as such, I've found it to be very helpful to dose them with slow-release nitrogen-rich fertilizers (blood meal- and/or chicken manure-based)

                                                                                        1. I had planted up my patio pots with cooking herb seeds, but after 10 straight days of rain, it drowned everything out. Just back from the garden center with a bunch of 4-inch pots of the basics: sweet basil, Thai basil, thyme, rosemary, sage, parsley.

                                                                                          7 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: weezycom

                                                                                            weezycom, so sorry for your crop failure. good luck with the new plants. i see you're in the d.c. area. for those who don't know, our rain here in d.c. has been phenomenal this spring.....the april and may showers have been torrents sometimes.

                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                              thanks, alkapal. At least my tomatoes were well settled before the rains came, and I waited until after to get the okra planted, so I hope to be in good shape with all my crops come July. I hope your garden fared well through the rains.

                                                                                              1. re: weezycom

                                                                                                do you follow jos rozen's advice on the garbage can tomato technique? i'm curious about it.

                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                  I haven't heard of that one. Looks like I've got some googling to do.

                                                                                                  1. re: weezycom

                                                                                                    he's got the great garden show on wmal am radio (630 on the am dial) every saturday morning at 8 am-- good call-in for questions). http://www.wmal.com/showdj.asp?DJID=2... good annual calendar, too.

                                                                                                    here's the tomato-in-a-trashcan instructions that many swear by: http://www.wmal.com/goout.asp?u=http:...

                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                      incidentally, people call in to the radio show with questions from different parts of the country, as wmal can be heard online at wmal.com .....

                                                                                                      jos rozen is a true gardening/plant/tree expert, and i highly recommend his program.

                                                                                                      1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                        thanks! Printed out the "recipe" for my boss, too.

                                                                                          2. I would like to get basil, maybe rosemary, and lemongrass. Those seem like the ones I can actually take care of. :)

                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                            1. re: ChowinDown

                                                                                              We have found them hard to kill. ;) Good luck! And if you have room in your house, the rosemary can spend the winter inside and continue to grow.

                                                                                            2. I, the crazy cat lady of the plant world, just planted some strawberries, arugula and chives in my already overcrowded balcony garden. I rarely use chives in my cooking, so I thought it is a good way to introduce it into some dishes. Some people impulse buy candy, chips, video games or shoes; I tend to impulse buy plants.

                                                                                              Ten bucks says the squirrels will enjoy the strawberries more than we will.

                                                                                              11 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                                                                Cool! We have three alpine strawberry plants, too--we bought one of those cocoa husk liners, drilled holes in a wooden wine case and voila...fancy planters. ;) What kind of strawberries do you have? I understand everbearing are better for the ground, and the kind we have is better for containers.

                                                                                                We rarely use chives, either, but I read here (dfrostnh) that you can use the flowers in a salad. I have a few times now and they're very pretty!

                                                                                                I wish we had bought arugula. It's not too late, I suppose. I had micro-arugula greens last night atop a yellowfin tuna sashimi pizza. The whole thing was fab, but I did really enjoy the micro-arugula.

                                                                                                As to your impulse buying habit, I think your little vice is much safer than the other items you mentioned, so good for you! And if you want to see an overcrowded balcony garden, have a look at mine--April Katt will show you around. By the way, note the hanging cocoa husk garden of lettuce--that's new this year. So, not only are pots all over the railings, but now also mounted to it:

                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                  I bought the strawberries from my corner store while running another errand (that's what I mean by impulse buying). The owner was speaking half Portuguese half French and I was speaking 1/5 French 4/5 English, so we barely understood each other. When I asked him what kind, he said "the same kind of those" showing a big pot with flower buds forming. Well, that clarifies it!. So, they will be a surprise. Thankfully they were cheap and won't traumatize me if they turn out to be those apple sized hybrids.

                                                                                                  1. re: emerilcantcook

                                                                                                    I guess you'll know fairly soon. One of our newest plants has the world's smallest strawberry growing on it. I now know from this link that that's what we're in for: VERY TINY BERRIES--and a French delicacy, so I read:


                                                                                                    Good luck! I hope the squirrels leave your berries alone (ours, too, for that matter!)!

                                                                                                  2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                    I LOVE the video, kattyeyes! Is that the cocoa husk lettuce in the railing planter? You give me hope, should I ever get a place where I can expand my miniature herb garden!

                                                                                                    And I see April Katt has absolutely NO modesty whatsoever, showing off her "wares" to all who want to see. <vbg>

                                                                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                      Thank you! Yes, cocoa husk in the railing planter for the lettuce. I don't think we had planted the strawberries when I took those photos, but they have a "deconstructed" one as a liner. Did you know? The cocoa liners are shaped/held together ("stitched") with a thin, plastic twine. I just snipped that away and flattened it to fit the wooden wine box. The clever person who thought this up drilled the holes.

                                                                                                      April Katt is the ultimate sunbather--what can I say? ;) Cats are too cool and comfy to be modest, I guess.

                                                                                                      1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                        My black kitty looks just like yours. Mine is Thunder and into everything. Strawberries, I had them a couple of months ago and loved them ... so did the squirrels this year. I did baby arugula this year which I loved. I did bibb and collards but a first for arugula. It was fun.

                                                                                                        1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                          How funny--a twin! Were your strawberries in containers or in the ground? Are yours gone by already? Our u-pick farms will be opening soon up here. I heard on the radio this week they open, but not in my mom's town (one town over).

                                                                                                          Is baby arugula the same as micro arugula? Does it kinda look like four-leaf clovers, but not four leaves? I want some!

                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                            Strawberries in pots. Gone!! Our season was a couple of months ago but , no the squirrels had breakfast lunch and dinner it seems.

                                                                                                            I envy the later summer growing. From MI so I loved the summer growing, FL is so hard, early spring, later winter then some early summer, but then we have fall. two seasons and completely different. It can be difficult.

                                                                                                            Yes I think it is the same as micro arugula. Really good. Like clover, baby leaves. I love arugula and get it fresh from out farmers market year round from an organic grower and I love it. It is amazing. He has all kinds of micro greens and just fresh greens. I'm spoiled, every Sat am when I go. $20 and I got zuchinni, summer squash, eggplant, tomatoes, FL sweet onions, green beans, red potatoes, papaya, mango, watermelon and greens and others. Amazing 3 peppers for $1, green red orange or yellow along with beautiful heirlooms as well. I'm in heaven every Sat am.

                                                                                                            FYI, the arugula is tempermental to grow, Not alot of rain, but kept moist. Mine did fine but I had a perfect spring. Container on a deck should be fine.

                                                                                                            1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                              Oh, no! I hope our squirrels stick to the bird feeder and stay off the deck!

                                                                                                              You'll laugh (and then you'll remember MI)--some of our farmers' markets are already going on, but the one that's one town away doesn't even START for a couple more weeks. But there are others--just further away. Maybe I'll just buy the micro arugula there. I am jealous that you get to go all the time!

                                                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                I remember the markets in MI, only from memorial day to labor day. Remember it well. Yes we are spoiled here. Every Sat is abundance of fresh veggies. Not a big market but plenty of good fresh bread, veggies, fruit and cheeses, even a fresh fish guy with local mahi, grouper, flounder, trout, shrimp and lobster and crab and sometimes oysters. That is all I need.

                                                                                                                Every Sat I go to the market at 8 and then the beach for a long walk, then home. Fresh ground coffee at the coffee stand at the market, great music from a local guitar player, everyone brings their pets so it is always fun and that just about says it all. Good simple times..

                                                                                                                FYI, the berries, I got some simple screen from home depot or where ever and bent it around as a little cover over the berries. It worked the second year. I learned after year one. I hope the deck will be better. Keep a look out!!

                                                                                                                1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                  Quick update vis a vis the herbs

                                                                                                                  Well, the good news is that last weekend we finally got all of the herbs outside. the bad news is that by that point one of the Conehead thymes was the only one of the six herbs I had ordered that was still alive to bring outside. I'll proaby get to ordering replacements later this week (the cat thyme didn't survive the winter so I guess I'll reorder that too)
                                                                                                                  In better news, I was able to obtain the right kind of Holy Basil again and It's doing fine so I''l have plenty of that this year (don't eat it much, but it smells so good!) As a side suprise it looks like I'm going to have calamint this year whether I like it or not, some seeds must have fallen out from the plant last year becuse there are little Calamint shoots coming out FROM BETWEEN THE CRACKS IN MY PATIO! I have to go out tomoorw and move them before they get to be BIG plants and crack the stones (it's in the mint family so I'm taking no chances).
                                                                                                                  Oh and in non-herb news my miraculous purple leafed peach tree (Miraculous in that it seems to be one of the only peach trees I've ever seen that is self-fertile) doesnt have ONE godd heath pach on it, it has around TEN (not incuding the samller ones that may drop off later) ist just that most of the other are on less obvios branches like the ones that go out over the driveway. That's all for now

                                                                                                2. Well my tomatoes in the ground or pots are done. My topsy turvey upside down planter is thriving. Who ever has laughed at those commercials, don't. It works great. Harvested 10 beautiful plums and tons of grapes. I love it.

                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                    i didn't have luck with topsy-turvy. maybe i'll try again.

                                                                                                    1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                      I was surprised after Mom passed Dad has been cleaning out, he had 2 and gave me one and pretty much at the same time I ordered one (buy one and get one free). It actually works, but again, the right spot is key. My is semi sun and shade, get drizzled on but not under a gutter so not drenched, but dries out during the day. Perfect conditions. Location Location Location...I really had no hope and was shocked.

                                                                                                  2. Oh man, I know I'm reviving this thread, but I'm a terrible mood and need to think about positive things (like gardening!).

                                                                                                    This year is the first year I've attempted to grow anything. I've got the following planted on my balcony (all from starter plants from either Home Depot or Trader Joe's [with one exception]):

                                                                                                    Planter #1:
                                                                                                    Thyme, Oregano & Rosemary (all from TJ's)

                                                                                                    Planter #2:

                                                                                                    The basil department. :) Right now, we just have sweet basil (HD) but will hopefully soon be adding some Thai basil (either from TJ's or seeds from my BF's mom). I'm so nervous that I won't be able to get the seeds started well.

                                                                                                    Planter #3:
                                                                                                    Lemon verbena (HD), tarragon (from BF's mom's garden), onion chives (HD) & a poblano plant (HD)

                                                                                                    Planter #4:
                                                                                                    The mint department. (HD) The mint is already starting to spread. So excited for a summer of mojitos and mint juleps!

                                                                                                    Planter #5:
                                                                                                    Wildflowers; I don't know which, if any, are edible. It was a mix of seeds from HD.

                                                                                                    And the newest addition, a dill plant purchased from HD. I have to figure out where to put that little guy. I'm also contemplating picking up a Topsy Turvy and attempting strawberries or other peppers. I'm leaning more heavily towards the strawberries because my boyfriend's mom grows habaneros (as well as tomatillos...can't wait to snag some of each this summer!) and hopefully we will have a few poblanos. Aside from something like Thai chiles, I'm not so certain there are a lot of other peppers we'd like to grow. (And fresh tomatoes are pretty banned from our home. Both of us hate them.)

                                                                                                    9 Replies
                                                                                                    1. re: drunkenatheist

                                                                                                      DA, sounds like a beautiful herb garden! Hope you have sunny days in Philly for best results...I'm sure you'll love having your own herbs. My arugula has all bolted...but I love it so will seek a few new plants out at Home Depot...but am in south Florida, so I know we're coming into the very hot months and it doesn't bode well for the arugula but I MUST have it now...love being able to just walk outside and harvest some for an herb salad.

                                                                                                      1. re: Val

                                                                                                        hey val, speaking of herb salad....at walmart grocery stores (the dedicated one is where i've been) has a pre-mixed "salad" mix in a clamshell-ype thing called "salad herbs" or "herb salad" -- anyway, it is a very tasty blend and it's only $1.99 -- a full dollar cheaper than publix, and in a variety they don't carry at publix.

                                                                                                        1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                          thanks, alkapal...very interesting! Might check it out tomorrow as I have to go to WM for their omega-3 eggs (nature's harmony)...and am so excited that someone in my office has a connection to local fresh pastured eggs so I get to try those in 2 weeks!...Back to the herbs...has anyone here tried growing purslane? I've been reading about how great it is for you....

                                                                                                          1. re: Val

                                                                                                            i'm wondering how it'd do in your blisterin' heat! what herbs do you grow through the summer?

                                                                                                            edit: sounds like purslane would do well.

                                                                                                            in my mind, though, it wasn't a *succulent*. but indeed it is! http://www.ppws.vt.edu/scott/weed_id/...

                                                                                                            a wee bit o' history:

                                                                                                            """Apparently, purslane was originally native to India. From there, it was introduced to most other areas of the world. During the Colonial Era, it was introduced to America.

                                                                                                            “Sturtevant’s Notes on Edible Plants” notes that purslane was originally native to subtropical and tropical areas, but has now spread over most other areas of the world as well. It was first mentioned in England in 1582, and apparently came from Europe. It was grown in Yemen.

                                                                                                            Champlain reported that in 1605 that it was used as a vegetable by Native Americans. ......[a friend of Linnaeus in] the New World to collect new plants ... saw this growing wild among the Native Americans’ corn fields. Apparently it was grown in Brazil in the 1600’s as well."""" source: http://www.bellaonline.com/articles/a...

                                                                                                            1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                              LOL...my rosemary has been with me since late 2006, no lie...it has been through hurricanes...slight freeze (this past winter), you name it...just will not die but I'm happy and grateful and using it in tonight's dinner (Publix had fresh bone-in skin-on turkey breast for $1.99 per pound!!!)...my Thai basil has been going strong but not sure if it will make it through the summer...all depends on the *rain*...last year was not bad as far as tremendous amounts of rainfall plus we had no hurricanes. But I want to try the purslane. Yeah, my rosemary is truly my hardiest trooper, unbelievable! Thank you for the information!!!

                                                                                                              1. re: Val

                                                                                                                when i googled purslane, portulaca came up. good old portulaca is purslane? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portulaca
                                                                                                                we always called it rose moss. grew well in florida!

                                                                                                                my sister's two rosemary plants made it through charley, but got nixed with this year's freeze.

                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                  hahaha!!! AP, found the herb mix at Super WM last weekend..(didn't buy it because I'd just bought some organic kale & romaine and I knew I couldn't eat all of it!)....it costs (ahem!!!) $2.98 here in snooty old Naples but I'll pick it up next time!!! Thank you for the tip!

                                                                                                                  1. re: Val

                                                                                                                    ah, excellent, val! maybe it *was* $2.98. i'm heading back down pretty soon to fort myers, and will be getting more. i'm anxious to hear what you think.

                                                                                                                    you never took my publix chicken salad challenge http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/710511 , i note for the record. ;-)). but i'm going to try and reverse-engineer it next time i'm down.

                                                                                                      2. re: drunkenatheist

                                                                                                        I'm also trying out the Topsy Turvy this year, growing cherry tomatoes. My neighbor had one and it kicked ass, can't wait to try it.

                                                                                                      3. I love my herb garden. I moved two years ago and the biggest annoyance to me was leaving behind my nice established herbs for the morons who bought my house.

                                                                                                        Last year I established my perrenials: the parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, and oregano. They all made it through the winter swimingly. This year I planted french tarragon and lemon thyme, also going to add another variety of oregano.

                                                                                                        As for annuals, planting basil, marjoram, chervil (if I can find the damn seeds anywhere), summer savory, dill and lavender. I plant lavender every year and every year it just sits in the garden taking up space, I don't know why I keep growing it.

                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: md_massimino

                                                                                                          thyme and rosemary made it through your winter in new jersey? wow!

                                                                                                          amazingly, my sorrel in a pot survived the northern virginia blizzards!

                                                                                                          1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                            Oh, you have sorrel, alkapal? I first had sorrel in a salad made by Jody Adams (chef at Rialto, recently on TCM2) at a cooking demonstration at Kitchen Etc. I had just happened upon. LOVE the little effervescent buzz it gives to salad! I keep forgetting to buy a starter pot or buy it at the supermarket to add to salads.

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              Ok, it now one year since my initial listing and I think it is time for an herb update
                                                                                                              STILL GOING
                                                                                                              Clove Basil Plant-Still alive after five years though still suffering for the same apparently incurable whitefly problem every winted when I bring it in. I think it may actually have reach growth equilibrium; the amount of new growth it puts out during the summer more or less exactly offesets the amount that is terminally damaged by the whitefly over the winter. I may pot this up again this year; that shoud skew it toward addional growth and get it bigger (though much bigger and it may get tricky to move come winter)

                                                                                                              Conehead Thyme - It took four tries, but I finally got one of these things to take and survive apparently once you get it past seedling stage it gets much much hardier (as befits an herb of the desert) I may pot this up as well, it can afford to get a little bigger (plus with the extra space, maybe I'll get a few more flower heads and some seed!)
                                                                                                              Cuban Oregano and Spanish Thyme- I still have sprigs of both of these going but I think I'll need to pick up more this year as it turns out that my taste for Horatiki and Bruschetta can eat up more of these herbs in one season than can grow back in four.
                                                                                                              Mints Both did come back, However I ended up eating all of the Habeck (It turns out you can use it as perfectly accepatable mint, provided you eat the leaves hwne they are still young (full size ones get too coarse) To make up the difference, I think I'll move the Egyptian Mint to one of the enormous pots, let it really go to town.

                                                                                                              ORDERED, ON THE WAY
                                                                                                              Pine scented rosemanry (Rosmarius augistifolius) trying again. Ordered four of them hopefully one will actually make it this time

                                                                                                              Australian Mint Bush- new one for me. If its the same thing I'm thinking of, despite the name it tastes more like thyme or oregano than mint.

                                                                                                              that's all for now

                                                                                                              1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                hey jumpingmonk, does the cuban oregano taste much different than regular oregano? what is spanish thyme like?

                                                                                                                and have you tried spraying your whitefly-infested bush with some horticultural oil?

                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                  1. not much to me it's just different in texture and therefore better for a few uses (the fact that it is a succulent means that when I use it I get "oregano juice which is great for thing where I need the oregano flavor to go into solution quickly so that marinating takes less time (like the Horatiki which hhas to sit for several hours to taste right when I use regular oregano but when I use the Cuban stiff is read to eat in about 30 minutes)
                                                                                                                  2. Spanish thyme is basically the thyme analouge to Cuban oregano (the two are very closely related) the leaves taste a bit more like thyme than oregano and tend to be bigger (on mine theyre also bicolored but that's just due to the strains I grow) but other than that it at Cuban are pretty much the same with the same advatages
                                                                                                                  3. Yes I have doesn't do much good, the flies just move to parts of the plant the oil doesnt hit till it wears off then move back. I suppose I could try getting a big bowl of horticultural oil and physically dunking the whole plant in it, but I suspect that would probably kill it as a thick coating of oil would likely interfere with the plants photosynthesis or at least its ability to transpirate.

                                                                                                                  1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                                                                    Insecticidal soap made with potassium hydroxide instead of sodium hydroxide used in most bar soaps is safer for use on plants. Dunking a plant will pretty much knock out white fly eggs and larvae but do nothing for adults that have flown away once the liquid has dried. Insecticidal soaps and horticultural oils work mostly by messing up oxygen intake aka smothering. Dormant oils are much more concentrated than summer oils but are a real risk to transpiration, so the concern in point three above is well founded.

                                                                                                                    Pyola from Gardens Alive (http://www.gardensalive.com/product.a...) is a horticultural oil made from canola that also has natural pyrethrum and has a bit of a residual effect (say a day or two) but should not be used if temperatures are expected to go above 90 degrees.

                                                                                                                    Yellow sticky traps attract adult whiteflies and can help thin out the population. They work better indoors and are also effective on gnats. Another use for yellow sticky traps is to detect whitefly infestations at an early stage when the whiteflies may not be all that noticeable.

                                                                                                                    1. re: Eldon Kreider

                                                                                                                      Thanks for the info. The plant just went outside for the summer, so the witefly issue will be more or less moot for a few months (plus over the next month or so all of the infested leaves will (if last year is any indication), will fall off as they are replaced by new summer growth (which remains whitefly free as long as the plant is outside and spraying product on leaves that are already beyond hope and about to abscise seem like a bit of a waste.) But I'll keep you advice in mind as to what to have on hand come fall when the plant goes back in.

                                                                                                                      Speaking of Basils. I just put in orders for two addional ones (in seed form) Ocimum tenuifolium (a greener Holy Basil of a different species than O. sanctum) and Camphor Basil O. kilimandscharicum (and east african species and the other half of the interspecies hybrid that makes up the semi-famous African Blue basil) plus, to round the order out a little miners lettuce seed and for my indoor tropical fruit experiments Biriba, Rollina mucosa, an African relative of the custard apple.

                                                                                                        2. 2010 update! Chives are back and have flowered. All varieties of mint are up again in their container and have already provided a minty adult lemonade for me and many mojitos to come! Lavender has also wintered over inside and is doing fine on the deck.

                                                                                                          New this year for me:
                                                                                                          lime basil
                                                                                                          hot & spicy oregano
                                                                                                          regular grape tomatoes
                                                                                                          grape tomatoes "Solid Gold " (try to resist getting the theme song stuck in your head!)
                                                                                                          heirloom black russian tomatoes
                                                                                                          more yellow pears 'cause those were most successful last year...mmmmmmm!

                                                                                                          Cilantro, Italian parsley, all the usual herbal suspects from last year--as well as four lettuces--are ready for planting. Will soon be able to pick my own salad whenever I please!

                                                                                                          I would like to try to grow peas this year, but all the plants I found were kinda dry. Will keep looking.

                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                            And I just picked up a few rosemary, Italian flat parsley and basil plants. I still need to get some thyme and perhaps sage. I saw a hot and spicy oregano where I got my plants today, kattyeyes - how hot and spicy is it?

                                                                                                            1. re: LindaWhit

                                                                                                              Just a little tingle of heat. I went out and chomped a leaf just for you, Linda. ;) Actually, it seems like one of those things that the heat of it stays on your tongue a bit even after you swallow...but not at all offensive or "on fire!" as a hot pepper would be.

                                                                                                              Nice little rhyme below there, alkasis!

                                                                                                              I also forgot to add that the alpine strawberries are back and there are teeny-tiny little green berries out there.

                                                                                                              1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                Thank you for chomping for me, kattyeyes. :-) I like the idea of just the tingle of heat - I might add those to my shopping list as well!

                                                                                                                1. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                  As oppose to my Zataar Orgeano (which you will notice is not on my list for this year) which was so powderful that it could knock you across the room! (That's why I'm no longer growing it, it was literally too powerful for any thing In was cooking (and I LIKE my food really oregano-y) I still have seed for it though (I was ordering the related herb spiked zataar, and they sent me seed for the regular one instead the first time (I've got the right one now)
                                                                                                                  My alpines are also up again. No fruit (or flowers) yet but the leaves are enormous so maybe I still have a chance. Have to make sure I wear gloves to harvest them though, some sweat bees set up their nest under them (they were there last year too so it think it's a permanent nest) and I don't want to get stung (yes I know that sweat bee stings are almost painless (and I'm not allergic) but why take chances especially with a whole hive of them. Actually its a sort of blessing, as long as they are there nothing else attacks the plants and when the flowers do show up, I've got a guaranteed supply of pollinators as does my peach tree which currently has nine incipient peaches on it (not bad for a tree that's only about four feet tall )before you start saying things about thinning I should point out that the peach tree in question is a "Hiawatha" a largely ornamental peach (it has dark purple leaves) and that the peaches in question 1. usally thin themselves out (they''ll probably be three or four that make it all the way) and 2. even under the best circumstances cant get much bigger than an old style greenagage plum or a small apricot).If I have any problems at all with them being there it's that they are the brown kind, and it think the metallic green ones are prettier (we have red ones around us as well but I tend to stay far away from them as they are bigger, and look a lot more agressive. )

                                                                                                              2. re: kattyeyes

                                                                                                                faithful, loyal chives!

                                                                                                                winter, summer, spring and fall, their cheery green shoots please us all.

                                                                                                              3. I started the first planter in May with (going from left to right): Thai basil, apple mint (particularly for the flowers), French tarragon, Hidcote lavender, lemon thyme and chives.

                                                                                                                The basil initially shot up when I transplanted them, but seemed to have trouble with the wind, swaying so wildly that I'd find them lying horizontal in the morning. I've since packed the soil down tightly hoping that will support the stems, but one plant appears to be dead, a few others are suffering upcurled and yellowish leaves while the rest seem not to want to grow upwards anymore. I worry that the mint might be lethally competing with them for Lebensraum.

                                                                                                                Lavender is doing beautifully in a hill of soil so as to keep it from getting waterlogged. Tarragon had a little trouble initially, but it seems to be getting busy. Lemon thyme initially got taller than I expected but is now spreading out to fill the spaces I left for it, while the chives are getting hard to manage with tall blades leaning over here and there.

                                                                                                                I have some spots of sun and partial sun on another rail and am looking for how best to take advantage of what little light I have left. I really wanted strawberries, but I could use the height of lemongrass or maybe some holy basil for summer curries. It's very hard to decide what to put in these few inches of sun. I am debating also adding Italian basil to my 12-inch pot with 1 tomato plant, but worry that it might not be enough space for both plants.

                                                                                                                1. i bought a little dill plant at trader joe's yesterday, and while it was regular dill, it seemed to smell so sweet as i drove it home. i look forward to using it with fish. what else do you use it with, fellow hounds?