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Do you grow your own herbs?

aphayes Mar 11, 2011 12:48 PM

Hello All... I have just ventured into the world of growing your own herbs after getting tired of paying $4 for fresh basil, so a few questions: What do you grow? What do you find essential for a fresh herb garden (so far I have a Rosemary plant and my basil and parsley seeds are starting to sprout)? When you go to replant seedlings, do you plant in the biodegradable cups? Lastly, what is your favorite use of fresh herbs? Thanks!!

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  1. chefathome RE: aphayes Mar 11, 2011 12:58 PM

    Yes, as many as I can in our Zone 1 climate! So, nearly all are treated as annuals, including rosemary which I must bring in for seven months of the year. The only thing that survives winter is chives. Everything else dies unless I bring it in. My husband built me fabulous high raised beds with seating all the way around in a sun-soaked area with our white house throwing off heat behind.

    I grow:

    - rosemary
    - chives
    - garlic chives
    - lemon thyme
    - thyme
    - basil
    - thai basil
    - lemon verbena
    - lavender
    - lemon balm
    - tarragon
    - sage
    - cilantro
    - parsley
    - oregano
    - marjoram
    - mint in a container as it is assertive
    - chervil

    Seems as though I am missing something obvious. Hmmm...it will come to me...

    I dry those that dry well such as orgegano but use most fresh in lots of preserves (sweet and savoury). I make seasoning blends, seasoning salts (i.e. orange rosemary), lovely syrups and drinks such as rosemary lemonade, use in homemade sorbet/ice cream/semi-freddo/granitas, panna cotta, creme brulee, shortbreads, chutneys, several kinds of pesto, in many savoury dishes such as roasting veg, slipping under chicken skin, compound butters, bouquet garni and so on. Oh, and yummy mint sauce for lamb.

    8 Replies
    1. re: chefathome
      aphayes RE: chefathome Mar 11, 2011 01:04 PM

      Wow! I am so impressed and inspired :). Thanks for the tip on the mint! I was thinking of adding it next, although I will probably have to start that from a plant rather than seed if I want it in time for the Derby! Into it's own pot it will go!

      1. re: aphayes
        chefathome RE: aphayes Mar 11, 2011 03:00 PM

        In fact, mint can grow rampantly in zone 1 and overwinter the odd time!! It can become a true annoyance in no time, even for those of us who love fresh mint!

        Due to our short growing season we buy most herbs as transplants rather than seed. There just isn't the time.

      2. re: chefathome
        hypomyces RE: chefathome Mar 11, 2011 02:28 PM

        If you don't mind me asking, how far North are you...Zone 1 Yikes!

        1. re: hypomyces
          chefathome RE: hypomyces Mar 11, 2011 02:58 PM

          Northern Alberta. On average we get 87 frost-free days per year so our growing season is terribly short. Thankfully we get a lot of sun and long days in the summer! But we can easily get frost in June, July or August. It's surprising when we don't in August, actually. Temps range from - 40F to 100F and we always have lots of snow from early November (often October) right through April. So, now our temps are about -30F and we have probably about 3 feet of snow still.

          1. re: chefathome
            hypomyces RE: chefathome Mar 11, 2011 03:08 PM

            I'm originally from Edmonton...now on the East coast of Quebec...so what do you grow i your veg garden? Always on the lookout for cold loving veggies.,

            1. re: hypomyces
              chefathome RE: hypomyces Mar 11, 2011 03:17 PM

              Oh, cool! (Literally.) What zone are you in now? Edmonton is about a 3 I believe - not a lot better than a 1. We regularly go to Edmonton (a few hours south) to do our specialty food shopping (I.e. Italian Centre, T&T).

              I grow lots of green beans, tons of tomatoes (last year a few plants grew beyond 7 feet which astounded me!), a few varieties of carrots (favourites are nantes), radishes, Lincoln homesteader peas, a few varieties of peppers that I don't start myself, have done asparagus peas (pretty plant but don't love the veg!), butternut squash, garlic... Used to grow cukes but I can get good ones at our farmer's market - same with onions, shallots and potatoes. Season too short for leeks. I want to try watermelon transplants again this year (so far no luck). Corn doesn't seem to do well here. Oh, kohlrabi can do well! Have grown cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower but don't like all the icky worms all over.

              We grow several types of lettuce and spinach. We're growing micro-greens this year (tiny beet leaves, arugula, radish and so on). I like the cut and come again stuff.

        2. re: chefathome
          EWSflash RE: chefathome Mar 12, 2011 02:43 PM

          What an inspiring array of herbs you have!

          I've never seen chervil for sale here- does it prefer cooler weather than we have in AZ?

          1. re: EWSflash
            chefathome RE: EWSflash Mar 12, 2011 03:05 PM

            Yes, chervil does like it a bit cooler and sheltered as it is ferny-ish and almost a little fragile.

        3. m
          MRich RE: aphayes Mar 11, 2011 01:11 PM

          I love growing herbs at home. If you do you always have a little around without having to go to the store.

          I find them useful in approximately the following order: mint, parsley, basil, thyme, rosemary, dill, oregano, tarragon, chives, sage, thai basil. Sadly cilantro won't grow well where I am.

          I have mostly stopped growing from seed and just spend a few bucks on a plant. I get a lot more mileage out of them, although there is something fun about growing from seed. When I did grow from seed I usually gently tore the cups off and planted right into the dirt.

          5 Replies
          1. re: MRich
            EWSflash RE: MRich Mar 12, 2011 02:46 PM

            What's your climate like so that cilantro wo't grow for you? It grows in the winter here, in southern AZ, but bolts just about as soon as it comes out of the ground in summer.

            1. re: EWSflash
              MRich RE: EWSflash Mar 12, 2011 03:01 PM

              I live in Brooklyn, NY. I've spoken to a lot of local gardeners that have problems with cilantro. I've tried it in both my extremely sunny deck at my last apartment and my current not very sunny deck. Perhaps it's the humidity? I tried for at least 3 or 4 seasons and gave up.

              1. re: MRich
                Eldon Kreider RE: MRich Mar 13, 2011 03:29 PM

                Cilantro does not transplant well. Bolting time is a function of age of plant and temperature. Commercial plants tend to be too old to begin with and then are stunted by transplanting shock. Direct seeding every four or five weeks works best for me in Chicago. The cultivar Santo is somewhat heat tolerant.

                Saving seed can effectively select for fast bolting if you are not careful.

                1. re: Eldon Kreider
                  MRich RE: Eldon Kreider Mar 13, 2011 04:31 PM

                  Yeah, I've tried growing from seed, seeding every few weeks etc. I was very frustrated till I heard that a lot of locals have problems with cilantro.

                2. re: MRich
                  arashall RE: MRich Mar 17, 2011 06:06 AM

                  Humidity is probably not the problem. I live in Houston, and cilantro does great here in hot and humid weather. Maybe you are not trimming it back enough? MIne responds to being cut by putting out new shoots. I did start from seed, like some others have mentioned.

            2. hypomyces RE: aphayes Mar 11, 2011 01:30 PM

              Anise Hyssop: an interesting herb is Anise Hyssop, it is perrenial, has tons of purple flower spikes, and has a great minty, anise-y flavor; it also dried well.

              Bee Balm- again Bee Balm have beautiful flowers, smells and tastes like Earl Grey tea.

              I grow herbs in the kitchen over winter in addition to my herb garden during the summer. I find that thyme, rosemary, and chives do well in the kitchen....I've been using my rosemary plant for over 5 years now!
              I live about 900 km from the nearest Chinese market, so when I last purchased Thai basil, I stuck the leftover branches in some potting mix, and, BOOM, fresh Thai basil for over a year now.
              I am a lazy gardener, so I stick with Thyme, Rosemary, Chives, Greek Oregano, Tarragon, and Sage.(easy perrenials)

              1. z
                ziggylu RE: aphayes Mar 11, 2011 02:26 PM

                Here's what I have growing right now in Arizona:

                greek oregano
                two types of thyme
                flat leaf parsley

                The basil. mint and rosemary seem to always make it through summer...the rest eventually fade once the nights get really hot here. I have some raised beds but grow my herbs in containers.

                1. nofunlatte RE: aphayes Mar 11, 2011 02:58 PM

                  I grow herbs in containers, mostly. Flat-leaf parsley, thyme, basil, chives, oregano, rosemary, dill, and lavendar (the latter two in a raised bed garden). Some years I grow mint and sage. Never seem to have luck with cilantro.

                  1. chefathome RE: aphayes Mar 11, 2011 03:07 PM

                    Forgot to include various mints such as chocolate, orange and pineapple are fun to grow. My favourite is still the old standard English mint, though.

                    Last year I had herbs in containers and also in my raised beds; the difference in growth was amazing! Those in my raised beds did so much better - probably nearly double the height and breadth. I find containers can dry out so quickly in our hot summers and if we go away for a weekend, well, the herbs really suffer.

                    1. Bada Bing RE: aphayes Mar 11, 2011 03:18 PM

                      Herbs depend mightily on climate. You're in North Carolina, apparently, where you can grow any herb I can think of. Like nofunlatte above, I'm in Indiana, and certain herbs (like peppers) can be a bit iffy if the summer is not long and hot enough.

                      One thing I'd grow if I could: lemongrass. You could probably do that. It's great for Thai food and as a broth seasoning more generally.

                      I make a point of growing mint in pots to keep it from invading everything around it.

                      In the opening reply, chefathome lists all the herbs I like to grow. I'm impressed if he/she can keep some of them going in Zone 1! Thai Basil? That tanks for me here in northern Indiana.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: Bada Bing
                        aphayes RE: Bada Bing Mar 11, 2011 04:19 PM

                        I had not even thought of Lemongrass, but that is a fantastic idea! Thai food is one of my absolute favorites! Thank you all so much for the comments and ideas! It is greatly appreciated :)

                        1. re: aphayes
                          morwen RE: aphayes Mar 12, 2011 06:13 AM

                          You'll probably have trouble overwintering lemon grass outdoors in NC since it's usually rated as a zone 9-10 plant. But if you grow it in a pot and bring it indoors in the fall you should be able to bring it through. It's possible too that if you mulch it thoroughly and put a little plastic "greenhouse" over it before the frosts begin that you may be able to coax it through the winter outdoors.

                          I lived outside of Charlotte for awhile and the perennial herbs did great there. In fact, the rosemary, which I was used to growing shin-high, grew into waist-high shrubs. Use to cut great swathes of it to throw into the grill to smoke stuff and a week or two later they'd be grown back to bushes again!

                          I would suggest with any perennials that you go to a nursery and get transplants. A large number of the perennial herbs can be difficult to start from seed and true French Tarragon can only be had from propagation. The tarragon seeds in packets are generally the Russian variety, which can be used but isn't as flavorful and sometimes bitter, or they may actually be French Tarragon seeds but, like hybrids, will not grow true from seed. In any case, from my experience, planting 1 or 2 nursery transplants this year will yield plants more than big enough for division and transplanting next year.

                          Biennials like parsley will reseed themselves and become self-perpetuating once established. Plant parsley this year, allow it to go to seed at the end of the season, and plant new parsley again next year in another bed. That way while one bed is providing leaf for cutting, the other bed will be going through it's off year and reseeding.

                          Annuals like basil, dill, and cilantro need to be succession-planted, especially in NC heat if you want to have them throughout the summer. The heat takes them through their cycles faster and they bolt (go to flower and seed) very quickly. I planted seed about every 3 weeks for them. In the case of cilantro, you may want some of it to go to seed since the seeds of cilantro are the spice coriander.

                          Herbs that I start from seed indoors I grow in 16 qt storage tubs from the dollar store. Drill holes in the bottom for drainage and use the lids that come with them to first help retain moisture to sprout the seeds and then after the seeds have sprouted, underneath the tub as a saucer to catch drips when watering. This way there's enough room for the plants to grow and develop healthy roots and I don't have to deal with disturbing them until time to transplant into the garden.

                          Definitely either contain your mints or plant them somewhere you won't mind them spreading. Mints are also somewhat promiscuous, easily breeding with each other and sending up new and interesting crosses. That's why there's a bazillion different kinds of mint. You may want to plant different varieties apart from each other.

                          Have fun with your new herb garden!

                        2. re: Bada Bing
                          chefathome RE: Bada Bing Mar 12, 2011 08:12 AM

                          Keep in mind that all the herbs I grow I must transplant and they are all annuals except for chives which sometimes survives. Plus my herbs are very sheltered and I baby them. I can only keep them going in the VERY short summer. Sometimes we only have 50-60 days without frost. And herbs grow far better in gardens and raised beds than containers. Here, anyway! =)

                        3. c
                          CocoaNut RE: aphayes Mar 12, 2011 08:15 AM

                          I haven't read through all the posts, but my experience in N. Central TX was that basil needs to stay in a pot - otherwise some unknown bug will devour it overnight. Other than that, I have parsley growing in a front bed as is (creeping) Lemon Thyme. I planted both last spring and they are back with gusto this year!! even though we had some unusual (for here) single digit temps over winter. A neighbor of mine has a very large, multiple year in-the-ground rosemary plant.

                          I love having it all only steps away and use the thyme/parsley for most any and all sauces, the basil on tomato dishes (of course), but also torn into salads as well. Rosemary works very well with roasted vegetables. I'm still experimenting myself. Fresh herbs taste so much better (and totally different) than dried, plus they're prettier!

                          I don't especially like the taste of (sweet) Lavender, but it does smell lovely when brushed against.... so I've used it along the walkway to the house. It will fill out to about 1-1/2' and get pretty woody at the base, but have never had one do well more than 2 years - the 3rd year, they start to look kind of shabby.

                          1. Novelli RE: aphayes Mar 12, 2011 08:44 AM

                            I'm in zone 10 and grow herbs all year round...although cilantro can be difficult in the warmer months due to bolting.

                            I always have the following:
                            Neapolitan basil
                            Thai basil
                            Flatleaf parsley
                            Sicilian oregano
                            Italian sage
                            Society garlic - sprouts beautiful mini purple flowers that have a light garlic flavor.
                            ...and there's a few abandoned lots near me, overgrown with weeds. I usually can find some wild fennel there and harvest the seeds.

                            1. meatn3 RE: aphayes Mar 12, 2011 12:31 PM

                              I'm in Raleigh too.

                              My sage and rosemary stay green all winter. My parsley and chives reappear each spring.

                              I tried lemongrass, but the squirrels kept digging it up and dragging it off.

                              If you are interested in lavender, Sunshine Lavender Farm is conducting a clinics at several farmers markets this spring.

                              I might have some chive transplants in a few weeks, see my profile if you have interest.

                              13 Replies
                              1. re: meatn3
                                amyzan RE: meatn3 Mar 12, 2011 01:00 PM

                                That's curious about the squirrels and the lemongrass! I wonder what the attraction might be.

                                I grow sage, thyme, oregano and chives, all of which overwinter here in zone 5 (eastern KS.) Parsley and cilantro reseed themselves for the most part, but they're biennial, so I replant seed every other year. Also, to note, here the parsley is munched on by caterpillars (fennel, too) so I plant enough that we and they have enough to eat. The butterflies are beautiful and I don't like to spray, so that's the best compromise. I cannot get rosemary and tarragon to survive the winter here, and have tried bringing the plants indoors. I don't seem to have a good place for them indoors, either, though, as they always seem to die by February, no matter which window I give them. Probably not enough humidity in the house, and a combo os other factors they dislike, which makes me very sad. I adore the flavor of rosemary and tarragon, and wish I could grow hardier 2 year plants to set out the next year.

                                I've also grown basil ( different varieties,) chervil, and lemon balm as annuals, from seed. Oh, and we have two kinds of mint I finally successfully corralled into pots a few years ago. It took several tries to get it all ripped out of the garden bed, even the spearmint which I love for Vietnamese food. It's easier to love when it's in a pot!

                                1. re: amyzan
                                  Sue in Mt P RE: amyzan Mar 13, 2011 05:34 PM

                                  My dream is to replace my grass with mint. Then mowing would be fun.

                                  I grow all the standards here in SC. I grow the cilantro and parsley in winter. Lemongrass winters over but it's planted in a protected area.

                                  My shining star is a 10 bay laurel tree. I take prunings to local chefs. Hey, I'm not dumb! I want them to like me!

                                  A perennial that's new to me is this one:

                                  It's a beautiful plant and delicious too. Hope that link works.

                                  Good luck! It's so fun to go out and clip what I need for supper.

                                  1. re: Sue in Mt P
                                    chefathome RE: Sue in Mt P Mar 13, 2011 05:59 PM

                                    I love sorrel! I've grown it, too, but somehow sort of forgot about it the last few years. It definitely doesn't overwinter here.

                                    All this talk of people growing things in winter makes me sooooooo jealous. We have at least 3 feet of snow on the ground with absolutely no signs of melting yet.

                                    Your bay sounds fantastic! I used to have a friend who would mail me bay from Vancouver. Now I just dream about it...

                                    1. re: Sue in Mt P
                                      meatn3 RE: Sue in Mt P Mar 14, 2011 08:27 AM

                                      It looks so tropical! The photos are hard to determine scale, but it looks to form a 3' clump?

                                      I love you idea of removing grass. Years ago my father had a customer who proudly presented him a book her daughter had authored. It was Edible Landscapes by Rosalind Creasy! The closest my father comes to gardening is shoveling in his salad, so I kind of borrowed it - still. It made a huge impression on me and is still a terrific resource.

                                      1. re: meatn3
                                        Sue in Mt P RE: meatn3 Mar 14, 2011 12:57 PM

                                        The great Rosalind! Wow. I have that book!

                                        I don't know how big it can get- I keep splitting it up and making new plants. If you email me I'll send you a picture of mine right now.And yes chefathome, my bay leaves are way better than what you can get in a store. It's fixin' to bloom.

                                        1. re: Sue in Mt P
                                          morwen RE: Sue in Mt P Mar 16, 2011 04:55 AM

                                          I have a 3' bay in a pot. I'd like to root some cuttings but haven't had any success in the past. Have you tried with your bay?

                                          1. re: morwen
                                            Sue in Mt P RE: morwen Mar 16, 2011 11:09 AM

                                            I've had success with rooting cuttings in a protected bed next to my house. If the cuttings are too woody they won't root. Where are you?

                                            1. re: Sue in Mt P
                                              morwen RE: Sue in Mt P Mar 16, 2011 02:18 PM

                                              SW VA. I have to pot the bay because our winters are just cold enough that it won't winter over. Do you use cuttings from early summer growth or later in the fall?

                                              1. re: morwen
                                                Sue in Mt P RE: morwen Mar 16, 2011 04:59 PM

                                                Later in the fall. As long as it's not to old you should be good.

                                        2. re: meatn3
                                          Sue in Mt P RE: meatn3 Mar 15, 2011 05:55 PM

                                          meatn3 if you bring me a meat and 3 (please include okra) I'll give you a cutting1

                                          1. re: Sue in Mt P
                                            meatn3 RE: Sue in Mt P Mar 16, 2011 08:12 AM


                                            You made me laugh - I tried growing okra last summer and got 2 pods. What do you do with 2 pods? They, one at a time, sat on the windowsill and dried up. Same with green beans, 7 the whole season, produced one at a time.

                                            I'm a good planter, the rest is very iffy.

                                    2. re: meatn3
                                      meatn3 RE: meatn3 Mar 16, 2011 08:07 AM

                                      Oops, chive transplants were "dealt with" by my SO, so no longer an option to pass any along.

                                      1. re: meatn3
                                        NanH RE: meatn3 Mar 17, 2011 01:01 PM

                                        I am south of Raleigh and grew lemongrass in a pot on my deck. It was huge! I had no idea what I was getting, but it was practically a specimen plant.

                                      2. d
                                        dfrostnh RE: aphayes Mar 16, 2011 05:00 AM

                                        I grow most of what others have mentioned except too many different basils. It's like an addiction. I usually sprinkle seed in large pots that line one side of my kitchen walkway and let them grow. Of course, because I don't thin well enough, the production is poor. Last year I transplanted some to an old wash tub and they did much better. This year I will sow fewer seeds in each pot!

                                        I'm in NH, zone 5b. I've had good luck over wintering lemon verbena in a semi heated garage in a north facing window. In other years it spent the winter in a cool spare room. Lemon verbena likes to go dormant in the winter. You think it's dead but the branches are still flexible and might put out a few small leaves. Water sparingly. Maybe once a month? The plant is not using much water.

                                        The same window also holds a few scented geraniums. They are surviving but not happy. Again, not a lot of water. I'll repot when it's warmer and harden them off before putting them out full time.

                                        I like colored culinary sages as well as my hardy green sage. The foliage is lovely but they barely survive the winter. The herb garden is on the south side of the house around the kitchen porch so one section of the garden doesn't get sun until noon. I have lovage and salad burnet in that part. The snow has just disappeared enough to expose the salad burnet which is bright green and lovely. I grow it because the foliage is pretty but gosh, I should taste the leaves and see about adding some to a pilaf or soup. If I recall correctly, it may be better used fresh.

                                        Borage, to attract bees and because the flowers are a beautiful blue and edible.

                                        Lemon gem marigolds (not sure they are edible) because the lemon scented foliage is beautiful. Nasturtiums for the foliage and also peppery taste.

                                        I love the Rosalind Creasy book! Another book I love even though it's not great for northern gardens is Southern Herb Growing since it has great photos and growing info for herbs that are unusual to us northerners. The authors had an herb farm near Houston Tx.

                                        Because I grow things just because sometimes I end up exploring the internet for something to do with the harvest. After discovering a great recipe it confirms I was smart to grow the plant even though it took a few years before I figured out why.

                                        BTW last year I meant to make mustards and herb butters and kick myself that I didn't. It's been a looooong winter.

                                        3 Replies
                                        1. re: dfrostnh
                                          meatn3 RE: dfrostnh Mar 16, 2011 08:16 AM

                                          I'm trying to start a list of projects like mustard making, candying violets, etc. that I can post and see frequently. So many ideas fall off the radar otherwise.

                                          1. re: meatn3
                                            Sue in Mt P RE: meatn3 Mar 16, 2011 11:10 AM

                                            I make mustard in fall with cranberries. It's a hit with my friends at Thanksgiving for those turkey sammichs.

                                            1. re: meatn3
                                              dfrostnh RE: meatn3 Mar 17, 2011 05:59 AM

                                              That's a good idea. You can make a note of the recipe source and whether you liked it or not. I also have a file folder of recipes I print off the internet. I made a zucchini and potato gratin with fresh Greek oregano that made growing oregano worthwhile. I also had to buy a mandoline! I am enjoying curried cherry tomato ketchup on my morning egg sandwich.

                                          2. arashall RE: aphayes Mar 17, 2011 06:13 AM

                                            I have quite a few herbs, but I have a rosemary bush that has lived through two hurricanes and several freak winter freezes in Houston, so it's my favorite! That is one tough bush. Started in a pot, and is now in a raised bed with other herbs. Here's a question: How do I un-train a dog that has fallen in love with cherry tomatoes, and picks his own when I'm not looking. And now he has started munching on baby spinach!

                                            5 Replies
                                            1. re: arashall
                                              Nanzi RE: arashall Mar 19, 2011 09:28 AM

                                              I'm no help on the tomato & dog problem unless a fence will help. We spent several summers trying to figure out what was swiping ripe tomatoes from our garden, even wondering if it was a 2 footed neighbor. Then one night we caught the thief red needle nosed......it was one of our greyhounds!! She mad the mistake of bringing her bounty to the deck to devour. We found that a 2' fence did the job well. She could have jumped it easily if she'd chosen to. Our present GH doesn't seem interested in them, but then the little fence is still there too.

                                              1. re: Nanzi
                                                Sue in Mt P RE: Nanzi Mar 19, 2011 12:55 PM

                                                Hilarious! Who knew!

                                                1. re: Nanzi
                                                  arashall RE: Nanzi Mar 21, 2011 06:04 AM

                                                  Well, my cocker spaniel is not that tall, but I'm glad to know somebody else's dog also steals tomatoes :-) Last year the pot was on the patio, this year it's higher up. I guess they are better for him than doggie cookies.

                                                  1. re: arashall
                                                    ziggylu RE: arashall Mar 21, 2011 01:32 PM

                                                    We brought home a new std poodle pup last summer. His FAVORITE game was pulling the cherry tomatoes off the plants and romping around the yard with them. His second favorite game was harvesting peppers - he loved the sproingy action the peppers had on the plant when he pulled on them and let them go. He also seemed to think NM peppers made great chew toys. Strange...

                                                    Summer isn't the peak growing time here in AZ so I pulled everything up rather than try and train him out of it at the time - he was only 4 mos old at the time so we had other training priorities. LOL I skipped fall planting as well and I recently planted for this spring and we'll see how he does. I'm actually hoping he'll forget the good fun he had in the garden but we'll see...he's big enough now that moving the containers won't keep them out of reach. Or I may just have to plant extra for him. LOL

                                                    1. re: ziggylu
                                                      amyzan RE: ziggylu May 14, 2011 12:13 PM

                                                      Good luck with your poodle. They're rather clever, I hear, but I hope he outgrows the behavior. Our retriever mix did with some training, but she was a stray so had strong foraging habits we had to help her unlearn. She LOVED tomatoes on the vine. I suspect she saw the deer eating them, so chased them off but started sampling herself. She's good now about staying out of the garden with a few reminders. We never did get her to stop eating out of garbage cans, though, so now have all lidded cans in the house.

                                              2. b
                                                Breezychow RE: aphayes Mar 21, 2011 02:30 PM

                                                Years ago when herbs were first "taking off" on the home gardening scene, I did some herbal landscaping for people; so yes, I definitely grow my own herbs. I grow has many as I can, & always try to try new varieties each season & test them out for cooking or ornamental qualities.

                                                As far as essentials, my advice is to start off by growing what you already enjoy using, & then experimenting with perhaps a couple of extras that sound interesting to you. Transplanting? Not sure I understand your question - after hardening off, my seedlings go right out into the garden or into their permanent-home containers. And favorite use? Cooking - always cooking. Really can't be more specific, because herbs are so different in flavor & their culinary uses so vast, it would take a book!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: Breezychow
                                                  chefdaddyo RE: Breezychow May 4, 2011 05:32 PM

                                                  In the central, NJ area, I'm able to grow the usual suspects: rosemary, thyme, Greek oregano, cilantro, flat parsley, and basil. I kinda reach for the basil and flat parsley most often in the summer. All do well in large terra cotta post on my expansive deck. Solid afternoon sun, as all face west. Cilantro is the only 'loser', as I'm the only one who picks it; once per month! This fall, for the first time, I brought in the basil plant. Upstairs bedroom, lots of great afternoon sun, and the damn thing is still going! The leaves are not as emerald green as they are in August, but beats having to buy a crappy (and expensive) bunch in winter.

                                                2. Rubee RE: aphayes May 4, 2011 05:38 PM

                                                  For me in Phoenix, Arizona (all in pots, except rosemary)

                                                  Sweet basil
                                                  Genovese basil
                                                  Thai basil
                                                  Greek oregano
                                                  Lemon thyme
                                                  German thyme

                                                  I wish I had more luck with cilantro and dill.

                                                  1. meadandale RE: aphayes May 5, 2011 10:35 AM

                                                    Last year when I completely re-landscaped my whole backyard I decided that I wanted to remove the lawn and put in a minimalist landscape (drought tolerant). The areas I did plant I used mostly 'edible' perennial plants including:

                                                    english thyme
                                                    lemon thyme
                                                    common sage
                                                    pineapple sage

                                                    I also have a half dozen raised beds giving me about 100 sq feet of space for growing vegetables and annual herbs (parsley, dill, fennel, basil, cilantro, etc).

                                                    1. p
                                                      pramjockey RE: aphayes May 7, 2011 09:06 PM

                                                      New yard means new garden, so I'm only barely starting to get my herbs established at this point. My last garden - maybe 4' by 8' was a mix of vegetables and herbs, but I managed to squeeze out of it:

                                                      Greek oregano
                                                      Mexican oregano
                                                      garlic chives
                                                      thai basil
                                                      Genovese basil
                                                      veriegated sage
                                                      spearmint (specially separated because it is a weed as noted)

                                                      plus tomatoes, peppers, berries, etc. It was chaos, but it did pretty good. Now I've got room, but haven't really broken ground yet. I've got a few varieties of basil in biodegradable cups ready to go that may end up in containers since planting officially begins here tomorrow. The rosemary has to stay inside because of the freezes we get. I've never had good luck with cilantro - it seems to dislike the heat.

                                                      Uses for herbs? So many it's difficult to mention. Anything from pestos and sauces to garnishes to just throwing them on the coals to flavor the smoke when I'm grilling. Heck, sometimes I just grab a few leaves and munch as I'm working in the garden to help remind me why I'm out there in the sun.

                                                      1. c
                                                        CocoaNut RE: aphayes May 9, 2011 08:00 AM

                                                        This is kind of off-topic for your question, but I planted both parsley and creeping lemon thyme as a front lawn landscape enhancement last summer. Herbs can be an inexpensive garden accent of both color and texture. Throughout last summer, they provided a dual purpose.

                                                        We (north central TX) had an unusually cold winter so I was extremely surprised when both plants made their return for their second (and final) year of life. Though too hardened for flavor consumption this year, they've taken on new life in the form of flowering.

                                                        The thyme is beautiful, well mounded and covered with small white flower clusters. These flowers attract an amazing number of honey bees that busy themselves during the day and make the plant appear to "dance" with movement. (Mexican Heater also is a large attractor to honey bees)

                                                        I was about to dig up the parsley as I'm not fond of it's tiny flower spikes, but a friend advised leaving it as it is a favorite host plant to Black Swallowtail butterflies. So in it stays with hope of attracting a few butterflies to keep the bees and other of nature's (small) critters company.

                                                        Just thought I'd pass along the info -

                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: CocoaNut
                                                          NanH RE: CocoaNut May 9, 2011 08:09 AM

                                                          I keep some parsley in my landscaping for that very reason. I can pick them off the garden parsley and send them to the flower beds.

                                                          I didn't know creeping thyme was biennial. I thought it was perennial!

                                                          1. re: NanH
                                                            morwen RE: NanH May 10, 2011 01:02 PM

                                                            Creeping thyme is a perennial. At least in our growing zone (6a) it is. http://www.ehow.com/how_2078561_grow-...

                                                            1. re: NanH
                                                              CocoaNut RE: NanH May 11, 2011 04:01 PM

                                                              When I planted it, I made an assumption it was an annual. Happily incorrect, I hope to have this one for many years in it's perfect spot off my entryway!

                                                              The pictures at this link resemble mine.

                                                          2. m
                                                            Mother of four RE: aphayes May 9, 2011 08:11 AM

                                                            I'm in Fl in the winter and in MI in the summer. In both places I grow my herbs in Earthboxs and have had wonderful success. Actually my box's are over flowing with basil,rosemary,parsley,oregano,sage,dill , thyme and chives.

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