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Apr 16, 2009 04:42 AM

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.

                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 faces the south and gets a superb amount of light each day. i've got basil varieties including the greek mini basil (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.