I just grow them because I like them - use some in cooking, but I usually forget to harvest them. The basil blooms, the parsley grows rampant, the fennel has a life all its own, the lettuce grows into fairy towers, catnip prowls around, thymes creep by, and the sages expound here and there.
I love growing herbs. I use mine mainly for cooking. They smell and taste so good. I put the rosemary stems between the pillow and the pillowcase. Dried herbs go into bowls or I give some to friends. Attracting nectar loving insects is always a plus :)
We use them for cooking, but our main reason is to supply the Farmers Market. There, we sell Basil, Lemon Basil, Cinnamon Basil, Thai Basil, Celery, Fennel, Dill, & Cilantro.
We have about a 100 ft x 100 ft area planted to herbs. It was very pretty all summer long.
I thought I had a later picture. This was taken in early July before it all started blooming.
I grow a lot of herbs, originally just for the smell like crushing a leaf as I walk past and the way you can smell them before you see them.
Now I grow some for use like the mints and basils, I adore thai basil.Parsleys etc and others I use in cooking as time goes by.and I try more flavours. eg sages and thymes.
I use large half-barrels for planting herbs/veggies, and sometimes plant similar-use herbs all in one. I like having oregano, basil, chives and garlic all in one barrel; run your hands over all of the leaves and you instantly smell like an Italian restaurant!
I chose fragrance because my favorite herb is lavender. But I also grow parsley for butterflies and oragano, basil, chives, and lemon grass for seasoning. But the fragrance of the lavender is heavenly...I smell it and know that all is right in the world. Ahhhhh.
I grow them mostly for scent because I love lavender and it grows so well here. But, I also grow culinary herbs and some medicinal herbs. The bees love them all. Like Kathleen, I don't always harvest them. At this time of year I often make wreathes. Don't know if I'll get around to it this year, tho!
I grow mainly parsley, dill, and rue as HOST plants for the butterflies to lay their eggs on. The Black Swallowtail and the Great Swallowtail eat the plants in the larvae stage (caterpillar). I grow many other plants and herbs for the foliage and fragrant blooms.
I picked the nectar loving insects, because so far they have received most of the benefit of my herb garden. I have been very remiss in using my herbs for cooking. However, the main intent IS cooking herbs. I have lots of extra parsley, fennel & dill for the swallowtails. I did see them laying eggs, but I didn't see any cats.
My herbs are mostly for cooking although I have a medicinal and magical spot set aside for special projects. I am hoping to learn how to mix and create my own salves and ointments. Still very much a beginner and just learning but very excited about the possibility's of a well stocked medicine chest and maybe gift baskets for friends when i get better at the crafting.
I love the fragrances, but more importantly, the deer, squirrels and bunnies do NOT! LOL
I learned (unfortunately, late in the season) that if mints are planted surrounding and amongst the flowers, the flowers do not get eaten or dug up. Valuable info here in the midst of the woods!
I plant them thinking I'll use them for cooking but then it's hot and I don't cook:lol: I voted for attracting insects. I like to see a lot of nature activity in the garden--makes me feel like I have a successful "business" going on out there:lol:
Lemon balm grows like a weed for me but it smells awesome, bees love the pollen or nectar and in the fall the finches love the seeds.
Love curly parsley--just the look of it all fresh and green is great, but no matter when or where I plant it within a day one or two fat bright green catapillars have knawed it down to nubs. I don't even know where these guys are coming from! LOL
I have only grown Basil for smell.. Traded for some lemon grass and hope to keep it over winter. Got some Lime Basil seeds in a swap and will try to grow it in spring. I want a herb garden.
Oh yes I also got some Yarrow that has the most beautiful tiny flowers I have ever seen. Bad thing is I don't know what to do with any of it.
OH I have forgotten my lavendar that has been growing for 4 or 5 years.
Guess I have more than I thought.
I want to try Chocolate mint and a few other things.
It's hard to say...I live in a small apt. complex and I think only 2-3 of us actually plant anything outside. I probably have the most variety and definitely the most containers:lol: I do think I've seen those butterflies in the area though. It's so funny how quickly they turn up--within a day or two of me purchasing and planting out the parsley, like clockwork:lol:
The cat is really beautiful too.
I grow for scent and flavor .
If you put the same herbs in everything you cook all your food taste the same.
Parsley, thyme, and oregano = Italian or just fresh basil with tomatoes is yummy. Thyme, Bay and garlic = Cock au Vin with a cup of wine cooked off to make sauce.
I was going to vote for cooking, but then I had to be honest - I haven't cooked anything that doesn't come out of a box or can lately so I just grow them with the good intentions of cooking again one day ;o)
It isn't just for flavorful cooking, but for the natural, fresh smell of them, the look, knowing I can grow my own food (at least herbs) and giving sprigs and cuttings to friends to enhance and enjoy their meals. I also freeze some for later use. I waste NOTHING!
Velnita--that is my little parsley mower:lol: I love the color of them and just let them finish off the plants. I wish they would let them grow a bit so there would be more food. Guess I'll just buy extra and throw down some seed for backup:lol:
Like herbal betty
i voted other for all of the above. Tho i don't have that many herbs,i have all kinds.and use them. I love the sight of them,the fragrance,the sound of the bees as they take over the catnip in bloom, the odor is joyously overwelming at times. Herbs indeed feed the soul as well as the body. Basils,mints,catnip,rue,comfrey,yarrow,thyme,echinecha,Joe pye weed,poppy.even the names have a certain beauty,As does the history. Yarrow surely saved lives during the Civil War as doctors used it to stop bleeding by stuffing dried or fresh leaves into solders wounds. Rue(also known as herb of grace) was used in ancient Greece and Rome to purify alters of goddesses in ceremonys,than the Catholic church borrowed the custom for awhile. Herbs have had a special meaning and special place in mans heart since time began for us.
Wish I had the patience to learn about herbs for cooking, but then that would mean less time in the garden! LOL! Here is the Black Swallowtail adult. Take care of those caterpillars, plant lots of parsley, rue, dill and fennel for them!
I have to agree with velnita, I grow many herbs for cooking but I chose "For their fragrance" for the LAVENDER herb! If I could only grow one herb it would, without a doubt, hands down, be Lavender, the scent is calming, soothing, therapy in an aroma!
I really couldn't decide what to vote but as I do a lot of cooking - I voted for that. Actually herbs make great companion plants and for many reasons I use them amongst other plants, including veg. Pity there wasn't a scale of preference in the vote.
Like others, I put down "for their flavor in cooking" though I also love using them as companion plants and to attract pollinators in my veggie garden. Ultimately, it's because of their cheerful sturdiness, their willingness to be useful, and their sensory delights. Herbs just make me happy! I love stepping out onto the deck off my kitchen and snipping off whatever I need.
Now that I have learned to grow and use fresh herbs, I would really hate to live without them. To be at full strength they really need to be fresh or at least dried not too long ago. I don't use them medicinally, but they do add lots of healthy nutrients to food. In fact, all those spices in Indian foods are mostly there for medicinal reasons. I try to add as many as possible to my husband's and my food.
I also plant some to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds, but I was only allowed to check one box.
And yes, I love their fragrance. Especially when I step on some escaped mint.
Hey Sheila - I'm over in Plano and have had luck with 'Goodwin Creek', especially, but all of the lavenders I've tried do pretty well around DFW. The key is the soil - if you have clay soil (like I do), you MUST amend it with something like expanded shale to drastically improve drainage. After adding expanded shale and some compost to the soil, I plant my lavender on a little mound, and then mulch underneath and around it with more expanded shale. Ditto for my rosemarys, and all do really, really well. They love full sun and hate wet feet.
SheilaFW, i think most lavenders would grow where you are? We have winters dont to the 30s ans sometimes 20's, and a horrid summer heat, I have 3 different ones that do well here; French, an English and a hybrid I have lost the name of...
As annuals, plenty of water and great drainage; protection from the Sun in the Hottest part of the day (Over 100 is what i am saying they would need shade, For even lots of 90s afternoon's would be good too, if possible but they DO love sun for most of the daynot all day shade!) but one tree will do the trick if it has ample leaves. Make sure the soil is right, and you are good to go! I too love the smell of lavender a a bit of the flower or one or two leaves added to a pot of herbal tea is fantastic!
Lavender grows very well in Northern New Mexico with temperatures down to about zero -- that I know of. Can't answer for the heat. That we don't have. And our lavender doesn't really get all that much water, but lots and lots of sun.
I went to a lecture last week where the herbalist said that lavender doesn't like to be planted in the fall -- just in case you were planning to put some in right away.
PAJARITOMT~ GOOD POINTS AND PESPECTIVE ! :D
Spring planting is best!~depending on temps winter can be O.K. too, lol...here anyhoo. Trimming all year round but winter is OK from what I heard on one forum, and about how I do it, heaviest in the Spring...
When I lived with my parents in Alamogordo NM (near El Paso TX) we had sheer dumb luck with the lavender we planted. I was just getting into gardening after my mom passed. Dad and I ripped out a long half dead evergreen hedge that ran directly infront of the porch. Full sun most of the year except for a few months in the summer where it got a little relief from the two non bearing mulberry trees in the yard.
I planted TB purple iris (which ended up almost 4 ft tall with huge flowers and between them we parked these itsy bitsy plugs of lavender by dad ordered from one of those cheesy cheap plant order forms stuffed in the Sunday paper--20 lavender plants for $9.99:lol: They looked like dead things but within a couple of years they were 1 1/2 ft-2 ft mounds with 18" flower spikes. I didn't think that they would live let alone end up so big and healthy. Soaker hose once a week or less if we were on water restrictions and I'd usually forget to trim back until spring. I haven't tried one here yet...wonder if dumb luck will work for me again:lol:
Let us hope it will work out well for you again. My observation is that iris does well in rather poor soil and rather dry climates -- it grows famously in Provence which is rather dry and is warm, but not hot. Don't know what there soil is like, but I would bet it is alkaline as Southern New Mexico is. Just a guess.
In North Carolina the soil is likely acid and wet. It might work anyhow though. Ask the locals.
I hadn't thought much about it, but all the places where I have seen lavender growing happily are rather dry climates. That tells me you are right and that those of you in wet climates need to make sure it has good drainage.
Something else I thought I would point out is that there exists a Herb Society of America. We have a local chapter here in New Mexico which I will probably join. I attended their Herbfest last weekend and really enjoyed the info and the garden tour that they put on. There were people from all over the country and were lectures on making creams and salves for the skin, planting and growing herbs, and cooking with herbs from a local chef. You might try to find out if there is an HSA in your area.
I've been able to get lavender munstead to overwinter in my zone. I amended the soil in that bed by adding grit and sand. My soil is slightly on the alkaline side and its dry, dry, dry here. Now if I could just find a rosemary that will overwinter sigh.
Yes, I am working on the rosemary situation as well. I just bought some Arp and another one, that, as I recall, was named Marie Hamilton. Both are supposed to overwinter. I have tried to overwinter Arp before without success, but I had it in a flower pot. This time I am going to dig and ammend a bed on the south side of my house and mulch it really will with whatever is at hand. Rosemary can be overwintered here, but it has to be very well protected.
I've tried 3 times - Arp, and 2 others I can't recall at the moment. I grew mine from seed cuz I'm a firm believer that homegrown is hardier. I think I might buy a bush next year and eat it down to sticks so I won't care if it dies LOL. On the up side my newly transplanted french tarragon has settled in very well
I grow herbs for use in the kitchen and give bundles tied with ribbon to friends. I plant basil, parsley, tarragon, thyme, rosemary, oregano, lavender and mint. The only one that seems to get nibbled by pests is the basil. Any suggestions to keep it pest free?
Thanks those of you that suggested Lavender for me. I will look for them in the spring. I don't have too much full sun areas, but may try a large deck planting so I can enjoy the aroma. We water a lot too, that is why rosemary doesn't like me!!
Why, oh why, wasn't there either an "all of the above" or "more than one of the above" option? Not only do I cook with my herbs, but we revel in watching what we've come to call our "busy basil bees" who also visit the sage, oregano and rosemary in their turn. This was a tough call for me, but selfishness won out and I voted with my taste buds!
EXACTLY mgpaquin. I'm always an 'other' voter cuz I often do more than one choice. I'm going to put a post on the DG thread and ask if we can have an 'all of the above' and 'more than one of the above' button on the polls that aren't technically specific.
O herbal wreaths way cool. Have you posted info on that in another forum that I might check out posyblossom? We herbies on the Herb forum would DEFINITELY be interested in that. ps how did you make the heart symbol? Note to all: I posted a request that 'all of the above' and 'more than one choice' options be added to polls that don't have a specific answer. Hopefully that won't be too hard to do and we will see it show up on future polls.
Hi Dahlianut, I must take time to go to the Herb forum soon. The little heart symbol is one of many you can make by putting num lock on and hitting the Alt key at the same time as the numbers on key pad. ex. Alt 1 is☺ some folks say it doesn't work for them,but it works great on my key pad.Alt3♥
alt 15☼The wreaths are wonderful and quite easy to do.Use a straw wreath form or a wire or wood wreath frame. Tie bunches of herbs on to the form,all the stems going in the same direction and keep wreath in a dry,dark,airy spot to dry for a week or so. Grapevine wreath,so fun and so fragrant, the Concord grapes that I did not eat ,dried and hung so beautiful and fragrant. It is all in a book,The Pleasure of Herbs by Phyllis Shaudys.♫♪♫Alt14♫Alt13♪
I have a lovely marble mortar and pestle. I get about 3 tbsp of flowers and leaves and stems, add a tsp of granulated sugar, and grind it up together. Then I pour hot water into the bowl to release all the oils, then just dump it into a 2.5 quart container with either lemons squeezed and splenda or green tea. I like the tea fine without sweetener other than the tsp to help grind the herbs... but DH prefers it like sweet tea.
Can be made with sugar, of course. Turbinado sugar works best for grinding but any granulated sugar will work.
I love the flavor of the lavender and it is so aromatic when served hot as tea it will lull even the most insomniac person to lullabye land.
KyWoods I too am not sleeping. There are so many things to be stressed about these days. I fall asleep and then wake up at 1 or 2 am and can't go back to sleep until 5. I'm going to try that lavender tea!
Thanks so much posyb for the wreath info and the symbol info. We'd luv to have you post on the Herb Forum. If you don't get a chance would you mind if I copy and paste your method to the Herb Forum?
Janiejoy my morter and pestle live on my counter. How fabby! I can do that. I'm not a sweet fan for tea myself either. I'll just brew up a pot of my Lousiana tea and work from there and work the same for lemonade! Thamks muchly
Once I got started cooking with fresh herbs, there was just no going back. The flavor and fragrance are out-of-this world, and they are such easy, low-maintenance plants to grow! Funny how far we as a country have come from our roots--now people are all impressed at all the "green bits" in my cooking, and act like it is some real accomplishment to cook with fresh herbs. It is so easy (and theraputic) to just step outside with kitchen shears and snip off a little of whatever I need. I usually end up humming "Scarborough Fair," too. I dry or freeze my own, when I know I won't have fresh over the winter. Sad that little bottles on the grocery store shelf, who knows how old, are the norm now. Not that I don't have an overflowing spice rack, too. . .there are so many that I can't or just don't grow. But life just wouldn't be the same without fresh basil, oregano, dill, chives, thyme, and sage! I'd have a lot less butterflies and bees, for one!
Dahlianut, I have been over there lurking,great Forum.I am flattered and you are more than welcome to copy and paste the info♥The book I referenced is a Month-by-Month Guide to Growing,Using, and Enjoying Herbs. Right now my big fascination is Apple Mint and Chocolate Mint☺My Fish eat the roots of Water Mint (Spearmint conditioned to water) all winter long and stay healthy and fat from it. It is fun to see it growing under the ice,even in sub zero weather and watch the fish munching away, what a tough,wonderful Herb it is and the fragrance,mmmm,good♥
Podster, you're right - ornamental oregano is lovely! I have a 'Kent Beauty' in a container with my Cuban oregano, but it's looking a little scraggly at the moment. Even though I don't cook with it, somebody or something likes its flavor!
I tried Kent Beauty here in New Mexico because I saw masses of it at the Denver Botanic Garden. Unfortunately in rarely overwinters here. But now High Country Gardens has some very nice ornamental oreganos which I plan to try. They are supposed to be hardier, Origanum 'Amethyst Falls', riganum 'Rotkugel', and Origanum libanoticum. Unfortunately, the catalog says they don't like fall planting, so I will have to wait until Spring to try them
The ornamental oregano is beautiful. It would probably do very well here in Oregon.
The benefits of cooking with fresh herbs cannot be exaggerated - even if you dry your own. The ones on the store shelf have been processed ever so long ago...and can be pretty expensive. Another benefit is knowing that the herbs you grow are not full of chemicals.
Posyblossom what do you do with all your mint? Mine grows so fast that I can't use all of it!
Has anyone tried crisping fresh sage with a little olive oil in a hot pan and serving it as a garnish for meat? It is so good.
You can put blue borage blossoms in ice cubes for punch. I have done that. I understand the Italians dip borrage flowers in a light batter and deep fry them as veggies -- kind of like the japanese do with watercress and parsley.
I haven't done this yet, but my husband loves mint jelly on his toast in the morning. I have tons of mint spreading all over my vacant lot so I am thinking of making some mint jelly. I also have a salad that uses chopped mint as a green. When chopped with tomatoes, onions and cucumber it makes a fine salad.
Say Hey ☺Portland!When that Mint starts going totally bonkers, I cut it,I bunch it and hang it everywhere. That is the best part,free Aroma therapy. I also have it growing through out the grass lawn. When I mow,the fragrance is sublime. Even walking in the grass sends out minty smells. Folks that visit here look around and say,"I smell Mint",so fun☺
I bet the bunnies don't eat oregano and rosemary. Chives are rather mild. I think they object to strong flavored plants. My bunnies don't bother my onions but my gophers sure do! I guess they are just that much sweeter than chives -- the gophers go down the row pulling onion after onion down their holes. Grr. They like shallots, too.
Posyblossom I am in the process of renovating an old 1905 house and the entire inside was stripped and painted and all that - and the fumes were overpowering. I hung sprigs of mint in all the rooms and the paint smell is gone! Amazing plant!
I found it impossible to vote because herbs are so much a part of my garden and I put them there for pretty well all the reasons on the list. Lemon thyme is my favourite for cooking, but I also use plenty of marjoram, sage, rosemary, chives, parsley, fennel, basil etc etc. The swallowtail caterpillars love the fennel, so I am encouraging it to seed around. I have creeping forms of thyme, mint and marjoram in my paving and next to the pond, so that you are surrounded by the scent when you walk on them. Lots of different lavenders for the insects and the pleasure of the scent as you brush past them. This year I have learnt to make lavender wands according to a tradition from Provence in SE France, which encases the flowers in the stalks so that you can hang them in your wardrobe or pop them in drawers - or just have them out for decoration.
Lovely to read how much you all love herbs and the different uses you put them to :)
If Shelia_ftworth is still around. She'd be intrested in the Arp rosemary. It was developed by TX A&M in a town near Arp TX (East Texas)and for some reason was named Arp. Should do well in Fort Worth.
Have folks in Arp.
Thanks for the link to Critter's article dahlianut :) Brilliant - I thought I was going to have to write one for a minute there, but it's already done - and better than I could...
Yes, experiment with different numbers. The fat ones in my photo were done using 49 stems.
I tried herbs once but we lived in an area highly infested with grasshoppers. One day our herbs were growing well, almost ready to use and *poof* the next morning the entire stock of them had been eaten by the hoppers. :( I've not tried since.
I think should we try again as we get further along in our gardening plans here I'll build a netted cover for those herbs.
Thanks cando1, I will be on the lookout for that variety when I get up to East Tx. Or see if I can get my DG friends up there to get me one and bring to a swap.
I love the thick lavender wands, very unusual.
Hi Portland, it's quite a long story, but mainly comes down to supporting my daughter, SIL and 2 granddaughters in finding a new way of life so that they could be together more as a family. I brought my mother (now nearly 98) with us four and a half years ago. So there are 4 generations of us here :) But we only moved from the UK, so my son and his family are a day away by car or a few hours by plane.
I love living here, though of course nowhere is perfect. I love the slower pace and rural nature of the south west. Of course different parts of both Italy and France vary enormously in culture, so it does depend just where you settle. Here we are far from city life, so to live in Paris or Milan would be an entirely different experience.
I use my mortar and pestle and a little coarse sugar and grind the lavender leaves into a paste. Then I pour the boiling water over the mortar and pestle and use that water to make my tea or lemonade.
I grow sage, thyme, lavendar, rosemary, parsely, chives, oregano, marjorum, bay, and basil. When we need something we can just cut what we will use and not have to waste leftovers from store-bought bunches.
Janiejoy--That sounds like such a good idea. Hope I can remember to try that in lavender season.
nksps---I grow lots of my own herbs, too. So much cheaper and usually better than the store. And, have you priced dried bay leaves?
To me, the American grown bay leaves aren't as flavorful and fragrant as the Turkish ones. But I hope never to go back to store bought of the other herbs you mention. How grown is easier and healthier because they are fresher and they never get sprayed.
They need light, but they also need heat. Hopefully your window is warm. Do you have a Trader Joe's anywhere near? They always have big clamshell boxes full of fresh basil for a not-too-exorbitant price. That will get you by until your window sill basil grows. I know how you feel. Luckily we have a Trader Joe's 35 miles away.
Nope, no Trader Joe's anywhere near us, and I cringe at the prices when I look at fresh herbs in the grocery stores. They just don't seem to have the flavor of home-grown, either. I guess if they don't seem to be germinating, I'll move them under a plant light somewhere warmer. I got several lights and set up quite a "germination station" in my basement last winter, so they could always go down there with all the tomatoes and peppers, if need be. I just wanted them where I could see them and drool over them! LOL
Too bad about no Trader Joe's, but you seem to be doing the right things to get them to grow. I think they do need light and I know they need heat. Even if the temperature isn't feezing they still refuse to grow outdoors. Do you have a heating mat? They would probably love it.
I used to put tomato, pepper and basil seeds in a plastic bag (planted of course) and then set the bag on top of my hot water heater. You can feel with your hand where the warmest spot is and set them there. That is the perfect bottom heat and they don't need light to germinate. Peek at them now and then. When they have germinated enough, take them out and set them on your windowsill. I now own a heat mat and can germinate several containers at a time. I do this in the basement, too. Then, as soon as they are up, I transfer them to the greenhouse. I love this process. Makes me feel so productive.
I'm starting to really study herbs and their medicinal value. There is a lot of good to be had from them that we are finding out about. Plus, most are beautiful and good for the enviroment... and attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. There is one herb I'm especially interested in growing, called Ashitaba. Its a longevity herb and the studies they've done have found this plant to be amazing.
I like to grow the herbs I can't buy in the grocery store -- like Thai basil, garlic chives and Holy basil. I also like to grow some of the ones that you can get in the grocery because they taste better fresh. Nutritionists are now discovering that things like rosemary, oregano and others are loaded with antioxidants, so much that just a small amount is helpful to our health. Also they make food far more appealing than plain food.