New to herbs, questions.......

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by tobo6, Jul 15, 2004.

  1. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    I've tried to grow herbs before in my kitchen window, but they didn't do so well. This year I bought a bunch good size plants and put them outside. So far they are doing really well, and growing by leaps and bounds. I really don't know how to use them, so any help is appreciated. So far I have chives, 2 different kinds of parsley, lavender, spearmint, sage, oregano, and thyme. I want to add more, so any recommendations on others I can buy would be appreciated. I'm in NW Oregon about a hour from the coast.

    Also, can I leave them outside over winter, or should I bring them in? I've used some parsley and chives, but don't know how to preserve them to use later.

    Thanks,
    Deb
     
  2. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    Next year, see if you can get basil going. It might like hideous conditions more than you have where you are --- it thrives in Oklahoma is bad soil and boiling temps! :haha: But it's such wonderful stuff, it's certainly worth a try.

    I had thyme growing in a pot for two years, left it out year round and despite everyone saying it likes it best outside, it wasn't at all happy .... til i brought it in last winter. It took off like crazy then. I now have it planted in a raised bed where it's establishing itself and I'll probably divide and bring half in for the winter (just in case). i pinch it off for spicing meats and stews - it's great! :)

    Spearmint loves abuse almost as much as basil. :) If it's doing well now, try repotting into a larger pot very soon (like in the next week or so) and wintering outside. Don't plant in the ground or it will take off. I use my spearmint for fruit-buttermilk shakes (ice, buttermilk, fruit of choice and lots of spearmint) and fresh fruit dishes (strawberries with cream and a touch of spearmint are heavenly). It makes great sauces and dips --- I actually made a pork roast a few days ago, and made a dipping sauce with spearmint, Bragg's liquid Aminos (which is like soy sauce), a touch of white vinegar, Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce and a tad of sweetener. It was great. I also chew on spearmint sprigs whenever I'm going out -- much more effective than breath mints.

    Sage is very easy to save --- I have it growing everywhere here. I just cut the plants down, leave the leaves on the stems and bring the stems in --- and in a few days, they're dried --- I package into ziploc bags. I also like to crush it and leave it around - it smells so good. I have it both in the ground and in pots. I put the potted sage into the greenhouse or bring inside over the winter, but the stuff in the ground always survives even the hardest freezes. Very hardy plant.
     

  3. suelandress

    suelandress Windy Island Acres Supporter

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    The problem with window boxes is that they aren't so good for perrenials. The roots have nowhere to go.
    Are you planning to keep your herbs in pots? If so, I'd bring them in for the winter. Pots aren't big enough to keep the roots from heaving when there is a frost-thaw cycle.
    I love thyme. Use it fresh in sauces and with any chicken dish. Makes a nice tea too.
     
  4. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

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    countrygrrrl's right about basil; try starting some if you can find seeds. I did a few weeks ago; my season (warm 7) is long enough.

    Parsley is a biennial which means it will set seed next year. I've tricked biennials into hanging around longer by snipping back the seed shoots; kept a Swiss chard going for 5 years but it's not as lush.

    Gosh, don't put any mint in a bed with weaker plants. Keep it in a big pot and bury that. You'll still have to control runners.

    If you want to cover your bases for weather conditions, you can mound soil over a couple of "limbs" leaving the tip sticking out; works fairly well on oregano, sage, lavender and thyme. If they root, you can repot those babies to take inside. Rosemary is an absolute must in an herb bed. It too can be layered.

    Garlic chives are extremely hardy while fine chives sometimes die back. Divide the clump in fall and bring some in for windowsill use. BTW, garlic chives will reseed terribly so snip back the pretty flowers if you decide to add them.

    Someone else will have to answer the preservation part; I've never bothered.

    katy
     
  5. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    I have most of the herbs in a raised bed, except the spearmint and lavender I put in a old black weber bbq, that I never use. I believe I have the fine chives, because they taste like green onions, not garlic, if taste is any indicater, lol. I tried a pinch of spearmint, but it was more bitter than breath freshness, does the taste change as it matures?

    Ok, I have basil on my list to buy! Keep all the help coming, I really appreciate this!

    Deb
     
  6. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

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    Garlic chives (Chinese) are wide and flat but don't taste like garlic. I chop them up and add to papusa dough for DS. Are we allowed to link to a supplier here? There's a little company in VT that sells sample packs for 35 cents--nice way to start just a couple of plants.

    katy
     
  7. countrygrrrl

    countrygrrrl PITA

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    !!! I think you are allowed to link to suppliers! :D

    And please do - I'd love to try garlic chives.
     
  8. katydidagain

    katydidagain Adventuress--Definition 2 Supporter

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    Boy, I'll probably get banned but this is the place I got my bean seeds and other test packets; I've ordered off and on from them since the late 80s so they're established. I wasn't pleased with the quantity of borage or asparagus seed but the rest were enough for a good start. I love their French Thyme--I grew it for years but finally lost it.

    Wow! They've redesigned their site with pictures and all. Glad I thought to mention them.

    http://www.artisticgardens.com/catalog/

    katy
     
  9. tobo6

    tobo6 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the link Katy that is great!

    Deb