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Herbs: need help and suggestions

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skellogg
Sundance, WY
(Zone 3b)

February 8, 2011
9:10 PM

Post #8361934

Ok, I know practically nothing about cooking with herbs, and even less about raising them. Except after reading posts here, I find I have had some I have been growing over the years and just didn't realise they were herbs, lol! But, I would like to start using them more in my cooking, and would like everyone's opinion on where to start. Do you find there are some you use way more ofter than others? What do you think I should start with? We are in zone 3-4, so can't grow outside year round, but would like to have a few in smaller pots inside in the winter that I could use for things. Where do I start? Thanks!
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 9, 2011
4:23 AM

Post #8362064

Start with telling us which ones your have grown, are growing or want to grow please?

How is your lighting inside? I have a MN sister that keeps fresh basils on a bright windowsill in winter so it can be done.

How do you want to use your herbals? Do you like teas or to use them in cooking? Or prefer to just use them for medicinals?
skellogg
Sundance, WY
(Zone 3b)

February 9, 2011
5:32 AM

Post #8362141

LOL! I really don't know which ones I want to grow, since I'm so totally ignorant about these things, but would love to have some things I could use fresh in cooking. The "herbs" that I have grown were and are outside in various beds because I like the flowers. Have never used them for anything else, just to look at, fragrances, and such. I've tried lavender, but it's not cold hardy enough for my yard apparently. Grew some basil last year, but sure it won't overwinter.
Lighting inside isn't bad, have 2 nice south windows, and 2 east windows and 1 west window, but do get quite a bit of sun. Unfortunately, my kitchen faces north so not sure if that window will work for plants. Don't really know how to use them for medicinals, but having info on that would be great to have, just in case. Are there some links that I could check out to find info on all of this? Oh, and to be able to use them for teas would also be awesome! What do I plant for those? Whole family drinks lots of tea, so it would be wonderful to be able to grow things to give to all of them! But, again, I really don't know anything, so need all kinds of advice and info! Thanks! Hope this helps, lol!

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

February 9, 2011
9:08 AM

Post #8362545

skellogg

I use thyme if the meal contains beef
I use sage if the meal contains chicken
I use fennel or Rosemary if the meal contains pork
I use parsley in just about anything
I use basil and parsley if the meal contains tomatoes
I use tarragon if the meal contains fish (Tarragon will not survive winter here - at least for me it doesn't)
I use mint if the meal contains lamb

I like Marjoram with carrots
I like sage with green beans
I like mint with English peas

catzgalore

catzgalore
Burleson, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 9, 2011
5:54 PM

Post #8363399

Sandi,
If you grew basil and you let it flower and go to seed you'll probably have lots of little basils come up this spring. I love basil flowers, so pretty. You can snip off stems here and there next year that way you can use them and have the flowers too. You can hang them to dry, use them fresh or both. Cilantro/coriander grows very easily also. There are also many herbs you can grow to host butterflies as well. Dill is another easy grow multi use herb. Great on fish/seafood.
I love rosemary on chicken and pork. I am adding lime basil and lemon basil to my herb bed this year.
skellogg
Sundance, WY
(Zone 3b)

February 9, 2011
9:09 PM

Post #8363766

Cool! Should have some basil this year, and I actually gave some to my sis last year too. She keeps hers inside, so I should be able to get some from her too. I obviously need to plan a seed list now. Neither DH or I really care for lamb, lol! Probably cause we spent too many nights without sleep in the lambing shed. But we do like and eat a lot of pork, beef, and poultry, and some fish. Funny I do have mint growing outside too. That list helps wonderfully Honeybee! Thanks so much! I do have a question on the sage, tho. We have tons of sage brush in our part of the country, and it's a huge problem. Is that the same stuff? Gosh, I'd get run out of the state if I planted that on purpose! We spend way too much money, work, and time, just trying to get rid of that stuff. Also, do the lemon and lime basils have a citrusy taste too, or just a scent?
Wow, I can't wait to get this started! This will be great fun! Gotta find some pretty pots for inside too, lol!
podster
Deep East Texas, TX
(Zone 8a)

February 10, 2011
5:01 AM

Post #8363932

Herbs are like flowers. There are annuals (a couple are basils, dill) , biennuals (like parsley) and perennials. The perennials depend on your zone for outdoor growing. I have heard many that live in the north are able to leave oregano in ground overwinter. There are many annuals that reseed freely like lemon balm and others that are root hardy like the mints.

I keep a bay and use the leaf in cooking meats, soups and stews. I use the oreganos, fennel and anise seed and rosemary in breads and sauces. Anise hyssop, lemon balm and the mints make wonderful teas. I am not a fan of parsley but love par-cel which is a celery flavored parsley. I use that in soups, salads and even dry it for winter use. I grow rosemary and love the fragrance but find I use it sparingly. On fish I like anything lemon like basil, lemon verbena and lemon balm.

Catz you will love the lemon and the lime basils. Another favorite basil here is cinnamon ~ it is wonderful used in salads and desserts. This year I tracked down some seed for licorice basil which is a favorite flavor of mine. You will find if you let the lemon and the lime bloom at the same time you will blend the citrus flavor for next years seed so you may want to only let one type of basil bloom and seed at a time or start with fresh seed.

Most of the herbal scents are strong only when brushed against or crushed in the garden but make a delightful touching, feeling garden. Comfrey which is not edible is a healing herb as well as a nutrient builder for soils. Aloe is a succulent but also considered a healing herb. Dried bay leaves will serve as a bug repellant when used in the pantry.

Jump in and read and ask questions and make you wish lists and share the addicition. It is a soothing one... 8 )

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

February 10, 2011
12:19 PM

Post #8364719

skellogg - I don't know what sage brush looks like, but I very much doubt that the herb called sage is the same thing.

I don't have a photo of my sage, but you should be able to find one online. Then you could compare the two.

I missed Oregano off my list. I like this on pizza and other Italian type dishes. The one I grow is "Greek Oregano"
evelyn_inthegarden
Sierra Foothills, CA
(Zone 8a)

February 10, 2011
2:56 PM

Post #8364965

Sagebrush is Artemisia tridentata and garden sage is Salvia officinalis.

HoneybeeNC

HoneybeeNC
Charlotte, NC
(Zone 7b)

February 11, 2011
7:43 AM

Post #8366200

Thanks, Evelyn. I'm glad they are not the same :)
skellogg
Sundance, WY
(Zone 3b)

February 11, 2011
2:27 PM

Post #8366794

Me too! Thanks Evelyn! And I need to add a couple of things to my list of seeds too now!
MarciaS
Greenacres, WA

February 22, 2011
12:33 AM

Post #8385728

Hi I have tried so many times to grow Herbs in the house but they keep dying I don't know why. I water them when they need water if the pot is light weight. Sometimes I water 1 time a week however they still dye.
skellogg
Sundance, WY
(Zone 3b)

February 22, 2011
6:46 AM

Post #8386108

And it's entirely possible that mine won't survive either, but I'm going to give it a shot anyway. I really don't do houseplants at all, however I have a few plants in pots that I do overwinter inside. About 1/2 a dozen or so, not many. So far, I've managed to keep them alive, so thought I'd try it with herbs. I won't try them all inside, just a few. I do have some mint in my beds outside, and maybe a couple of other things, and those will stay out, assuming they make it thru the winter, lol! Mints are like weeds for me tho, it's pretty hard for me to kill them. It would be great to have some fresh herbs for cooking and such with, so wish me luck! Gotta get some pots for them now, so gotta go visit Sis this weekend. (She bought tons of them last year at auction, so raiding her stash, lol!)

dreaves

dreaves
Hutto, TX
(Zone 8b)

February 26, 2011
7:28 AM

Post #8393716

Marsha/Skellogg,

What kind of light do you have for your herbs? They definitely need sun. The seed packets I have for Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Cilantro, and Parsley all say "full sun". If you have a window-sill that gets full morning or afternoon sun (several hours), they would probably grow there. You'd just need to turn the pots occasionally so the plants don't lean towards the light. Most potting mixes have some nutrients, so it's most likely the issue with growing is sunlight.

David
skellogg
Sundance, WY
(Zone 3b)

February 26, 2011
10:26 AM

Post #8394012

Thanks for the info David. I plan on growing mine in windows that face to the south and get lots of sun, so hopefully they will do fine there. I picked a really neat bakers rack for just that and put it in the window in my office. It gets sun as long as the sun is out, so maybe?? Course, in the summer, they will be outside. That's the beauty of pots, can move them wherever I need to, lol! And most of them I am going to start as soon as I get the seeds, inside, so hopefully they will have a good start before spring actually gets here. It's 8 below today, not counting wind chill, so I'm thinking it will be awhile before spring gets here. Hopefully in May tho, lol!
cathy166
Stamford, CT
(Zone 6b)

February 28, 2011
4:21 PM

Post #8398599

Why not choose one shelf in your baker's rack and install a simple fluorescent light? Or you could go to wallyworld and buy a couple of inexpensive plant lights. They're inexpensive to run, and the plants love it. You can tie the lamps to the bottom of the shelf above, and they take up no room (ask anyone who starts seeds indoors).

The sage you need may also be called purple sage (salvia officinalis) for its purple flowers. In zone 6 it comes up every year as do lemon balm and lady's mantle. Oregano, too. The dill just keeps reseeding itself. Use dill in chicken soups, and you will be amazed at the aroma. Just pinch off the bloom spike from basil, and watch it spread beautifully.

One of the things I love about herbs is that they smell so heavenly when watered with a hose or light sprayer. You know, they give so much and ask so little.
skellogg
Sundance, WY
(Zone 3b)

February 28, 2011
7:55 PM

Post #8399073

Great idea on the lighting! I actually have an old unused florescent light out in the garage, and when at my DM's house, found a plant bulb for it that she was going to throw out, lol! Nabbed that thing and brought it home, so one of the things on my agenda for tomorrow is hanging a light! Am thinking I'll try to pick up one or 2 more also, for another shelf unit I have just sitting in the garage collecting dust. And then get to seed shopping, of course, lol!

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