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!!
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.
- garlic chives
- lemon thyme
- thai basil
- lemon verbena
- lemon balm
- mint in a container as it is assertive
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
Here's what I have growing right now in Arizona:
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.
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.