This year is my first attempt at having an herb bed. The plants are going to flower very rapidly. I've tried to keep them pinched back, but I'm wondering if there's something else I should/should not be doing?
Is it too late to plant seeds to replace those that have flowered and declined?
The Thai basil completely flowered out in just 3 days' time. I trimmed off all the flowers/buds, and that didn't seem to bother the plant. But should I still use the leaves or will they be bitter?
I can't seem to keep the flat leaf parsley and cilantro from flowering either. However, it has been unseasonably hot and very dry for us. I thought thyme really liked heat but even those aren't holding up.
The Valentino basil has done very well and made for a tasty pesto. The sweet and red basil and oreganos were also fairing well until the rabbit found them!
I was trying to get a pic of the birch, but you can see about half of our humble herb bed. The bed has since morphed somewhat because I had to make room for a Hollywood juniper.
I have consistently killed the golden oregano there in the foreground. Tried moving it to shadier spots but it obviously wants more water or something. I've gone through at least 4 plants. I love how it brightens and contrasts.
plantmover - Just what I had on hand; I'm a bit of a poor man's farmer. Here is a picture of one of my herb containers from 2005. I just moved the Sage and Chives into the ground. The Marjoram I moved into another pot a couple years ago and the catnip got killed off this winter, or at least it didn't come back this spring. I'd try for a bigger container, all the plants were healthy but small, my Marjoram is doing way better in a larger container. I've seen herb gardens made in strawberry pots and I always wanted to try one; that might be a good option.
Plantmover, I've had hanging baskets along my deck railing for several years now (new plantings yearly). Have had parsley, thyme, chives, oregano. The parsley never lasts long because the butterflies lay their eggs on it and the cats destroy it but I don't care, its for them anyway. The lemon thyme does the best. I did mix in some flowers this year for color and made the mistake of adding a feverfew...it gets too large. Used regular potting soil and water them every morning until the water comes out the bottom hanging over the deck. I don't think I'll do it again next year, thinking the herbs need more space plus, the flowers need to be fed and the herbs don't. I wanted to put a very large planter on the deck but DH is staining the deck this year.
I've also done tulips in the early spring and then stuck green onions in after the tulips were bloomed through. My green onions always went bad before I got around to using them and then I didn't have any when I needed them. I actually have one out there that has been coming back for at least two years. My grandmother says carrots will work this way too. Her Grandmother ran a general store and would take carrots that didn't sell and plant them out back, when a customer wanted carrots she would go and pull them. That wasn't that long ago. I think she ran the store until the '50's and she died in the '70s. I just get them at the farmers market and stick them in a pot. All of this should work for you since we have similar zones.
I'll take pictures of everything when I'm up and the sun is as well. I think I'm sick and I am having insomnia.
I like the strawberry pot idea too, zhinu. Your planter looks good. After reading you and bugme's comments, I think a compromise is in order: keep the larger stuff in the ground but use the pot/planters for the small stuff, like lemon thyme. Bugme, those plants look lovely together; too bad the flower/herb combo doesn't work better.
I can't imagine going to the store and getting carrots right out of the ground--that's some fresh produce! I've been contemplating trying veggies in pots since our HOA doesn't permit vegetable gardens. My mom has a zucchini in a pot on her porch this year, and it is doing terrific. Plus, the rabbits would have a hard time reaching those!
It sounds like you planted some fairly mature plants if they flowered that quickly. My cilantro always seems to bolt quickly, even when I plant the so called slow bolting varieties. The bonus is that when it goes to seed you have coriander spice. Try some middle eastern recipes.
The parsley is a biennial and I really don't even try to keep up with the bolting. I make sure I plant seeds every year so I have young plants, mature plants and seeds. Actually, like dill, it is a good self seeder.
The thyme is a perennial and winters over well here (Oregon). I am not sure about VA. I use it flowers and all and love the flavor and aroma it gives. I would never make chicken stock without it. One of my plants is about five years old.
With basil it helps if you start pinching early and often before it starts to flower. This will help yield a nice bushy plant. Throw those little pinched leaves in your salad and enjoy.
Here is the sage, it's looked better. We had a really hard growing season here this year. We had snow in April, a generally cold wet spring. Other then the 80 degree day we had two days before it snowed, we didn't have above 70? until after DSD was out of school. Then we had 80+ weather for weeks, with no rain. This one didn't get enough water during the hot spell.
This isn't the original catnip, but this is self seeded from the earlier plant in the picture. I didn't think they were going to come back, they came in really late this year. The one in the picture didn't come back this year. All of the plants other then the catnip are at least 5 years old, the catnip is a year younger.
Do you live in a neighborhood or an apartment/townhouse? I only ask, because I can't imagine a HOA that disallows vegetable gardens, unless everyone is sharing a common space (even then...that seems unthinkable). What gives?? We have an HOA here that prohibits people from hanging their laundry out to dry because it looks "lower class." Fortunately, I live in a lower-class neighborhood. :D
Yes, we live in a covenant community, thinking we were only gonna be here 5 yrs or so and wanted the assurance of resale value. That was before I had time to garden...like zhinu, I get a bit anxious to move. This association is very strict. To even expand or decrease an existing bed, we have to have permission. Clothelines are a no-no, as is shaking out rugs outdoors! The list goes on and on. It's been 5 yrs as of June, so hopefully the housing market will settle down some over the next 18 months or so.
The only thing we can't do here is keep chickens (*sob*) and make any permanent modifications to our homes without consulting the preservation society (we're in a historic district). Otherwise...we're free to dig, hang, and shake as we please. For now.
I can't imagine not even being able to shake out a rug. What are you supposed to do with it, then? Vacuum it, I guess...or throw it away and buy a new one. :p
I too am new to herbs..first year. Also am new to this site. I live in zone 8..about 6 miles from FL panhandle in hot, humid So Ala. My basil all bolted early from bought seedlings. Seed started basil is now doing great. I think I like the idea of using both. Any thyme I tried died in just a few weeks. Too much shade? Too much water? We started off with a drought but have ended up with rain every week and sometimes everyday. I am doing trial and error so enjoy all your help fromeveryone. I did plant oregano and rosemary last year andfound out that rosemary never dies back, oregano does but comes back in Spring. I have trouble knowing how to use what I have. I have basil, different types..mints...oregano..rosemary..sage..ferverfew...all in the ground, none in pots...I think I'd like some for winter?
Welcome to DG, colorapp...this website is the best thing since sliced bread! :)
I hope you're safe and doing ok with all that terrible weather. I can't imagine your herbs are very pleased with all the rain either, but hopefully they'll pull through for you.
I've had mixed success with thyme. Silver, common, and Aureus are all doing well in full sun and minimal watering. Ruby Glow and woolly thyme, sad to say, did not survive those same conditions. Getting them established seems to be the big hurdle for me. I think I didn't water them enough when they were immature, thinking they wanted to be hot and dry. Plus, I had them nestled up against a stone path...so I think the roots just fried.
You've got a nice collection of herbs going. Keep an eye on the mints and feverfew; those tend to really spread. I also want to do some herbs indoors this winter, but need to research whether to start the seeds outdoors in the nice fall weather or to just start them indoors from the get go.
plantmover - I'd say you can start them directly in the pot, might put the pot outside depending on the herbs, but that way they don't get transplant trauma. I've had some issues with that when transplanting herbs, were doing great in the pot, transplanted them and it took them awhile to bounce back.
I really want to do the strawberry pot indoor herb planter.