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Herb growing


 
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 03, 2006 11:30 pm    Post subject: Herb growing Reply with quote

Gardening - Growing Herbs In Containers
By Michael Russell

Today it is becoming increasingly popular to grow herbs either for decoration or for cooking. Herbs can be grown in the garden or in a container. Container planting comes into its own if there is lack of garden space, to ensure the survival and confine a plant or just for easy access.

Container planting enables you to position herbs where they can delight the sense of smell, prolong their growing season and create a visually appealing environment that is a constant source of interest. Herbs do thrive more vigorously in the ground but with a certain amount of care and common sense they can be grown in pots either outside or indoors. If placing a container on a balcony or free standing structure be sure to make sure that it is sturdy enough to support the weighty combination of soil and water.

Herbs in a group of pots can provide a focal point and look more pleasing to the eye than one lonely specimen. They also seem to enjoy each other's company and benefit from the microclimate that grouping creates. By changing the position of the pots seasonal gaps can be filled or the appearance of the garden can be changed.




Herbs in pots are an excellent way to create different color schemes in large or small areas. For a silver or moonlight garden, plant artemisias, santolinas and curry plants. To create a golden garden, use lemon thyme, variegated lemon balm, calendula, lady's bedstraw, nasturtiums and variegated sage. For a blue garden choose hyssop, borage, catmint, rosemary and sage.

The space needed by particular species will dictate how many plants can be put in a planter. A container 1 meter long can hold four or five low-growing herbs that will benefit from being kept well trimmed, such as sage, thyme, marjoram and salad burnet. A tub or barrel filled with culinary herbs; such as rosemary, chives, sage, mint (in its own container), or lemon balm make a delightful addition to a barbecue area.

These plants, though, are dependant on care and are more vulnerable than plants in open ground. If general guidelines are followed you can grow herbs in a container quite successfully.

First of all always start with a clean container and make sure that the plants will have good drainage. Make sure that the soil is friable and porous. It is best not to use ordinary garden soil but use a good commercial potting mix.

It is important to ensure that the container size and the plants are compatible. Small plants flounder in large pots and large plants will be stifled in a small pot.

Check indoor herbs regularly to see if they need watering. They should never be allowed to become bone dry. For instance rosemary never fully recovers if left to dry out completely. By contrast, though, sage will collapse if watered too frequently.

To aid vigorous growth keep the pot weed free, remove deadheads and trim the leaves back. Herbs should be fed through their leaves or the soil every two weeks during the growing season, easing off as their growth rate slows. If a herb looks sorry for itself, check if it needs water, or feeding and whether it is standing in a draught or not receiving the correct amount of light.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Gardening.... http://gardening.tips-and-gear.com/


Last edited by James Kilkelly on Sat Oct 20, 2007 5:29 pm; edited 3 times in total
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volga
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2006 10:36 pm    Post subject: herb gardening, sweet basil and garlic Reply with quote

Nice herb growing article GPI. Very Happy
Heres another.

Learn About Herb Gardening - Get the Natural Facts!
By Robert Mosse

One of the most appealing things anyone will learn about herb gardening is how relaxing and simple growing herbs can be.
Discovering all the wonderful, various herbs and what they do is a captivating pastime, and can be quite beneficial.
You can use herbs for cooking, as medicinal aids such as topical dressings or healthy teas, or simply for decorative plants in the garden.

There are so many herb plants to choose from, it can be a bit daunting to the beginning herb gardener.
A good source of information that you probably have is your cookbook, which often devotes a chapter or two to the uses of different herbs as flavorings and accents.

Planting a Basic Herb Garden
Get acquainted with herb gardening by growing herbs you think you'll use, plus throw in one or two that sound interesting to you.
Herb gardens can range in size from small containers to vast outdoor gardens.

To best learn herb gardening, start simple with a small, sunny plot, or use a clay pot filled with potting soil.
The Two Big Needs that herbs have are:

- lots of sun, and

- well-drained soil.

Most herbs have a preference of full or partial sun, and the seed package or nursery will have this information clearly stated.
Most herbs will not do well in very wet soil, and watering about every 2-3 days is usually sufficient.
Raised garden beds are a good fit for herb gardens. They have excellent drainage and can be easily arranged for proper sunlight.

When planting herb seeds, cover them lightly with soil, and don't plant the seeds too deep.
A good rule of thumb with herb gardening is "the smaller the seed, the shallower you sow."
If you are using young herb plants already started in growing trays, simply transplant them into your pots or garden bed.
Sometimes the plants in the trays are dry; if so, water them first before planting them.

Finally, remember that annual herbs (herb plants which only grow for one season and then die) and perennial herbs (herb plants which will return the following year) do best when planted separately.
This avoids disrupting the perennial plants' roots when it is time to dig out the dead annuals.
It also prevents leaving dead root pieces behind which can contribute to fungus growth.

Grow Fresh Herbs for Cooking
Cooking with fresh herbs from your garden is a wonderful experience.
To get started, here are gardening tips for two well-known herbs that are great for beginning herb gardeners.

Sweet Basil -- Sweet basil leaves are good in salads, and are a main flavoring ingredient in tomato dishes such as spaghetti and marinara sauce.
In the northern climates, basil is usually grown as an annual plant. In milder climates, sweet basil will return each year on its own, and therefore is considered a perennial plant.

The sweet basil herb is a pleasure to grow because it thrives in average soil, and likes sun or partial shade.
Sow the seeds after danger of frost is over, or start them indoors about eight weeks before growing season and then transplant them outside.
You can also purchase ready-to-grow starter plants from nurseries and through catalogs.

It's easy to promote the bushiness of the basil plant leaves by pinching and clipping the herb throughout the summer.
Use the leaves fresh during the summer growth months, and in the fall, dry the leaves and store them for use during the winter.

Garlic -- Garlic is full of minerals and nutrients, and is known to have great medicinal properties.
It is a staple in every chef's kitchen for cooking dishes from chicken and pasta to seafood and vegetables.
We've all seen garlic bulbs at the grocery store... but did you know that one simple garlic bulb has enough cloves to begin a garden full of garlic plants? Here's what you do:
When spring arrives and the weather has begun to turn warm, prepare a small garden bed in a sunny spot. Take the cloves and place them, pointy side up, in the soil. Plant them in clusters, or rows, and put a light layer of topsoil over them with some compost mixed in.
When autumn arrives, lift the garlic bulbs out of their bed.

Dry the garlic by slicing the bulbs into thin slices and placing them on a rack at room temperature.
You can also store the bulbs by braiding the stalks and hanging the garlic in a dark, cool space. You may also freeze the entire garlic bulb!

Learn about herb gardening with these herbs, and then begin to branch out with more. In the meantime, you'll add wonderful flavors to your recipes, and mouthwatering aromas in the kitchen!

Robert Mosse is a gardening and lawn care specialist and author of the "Easy" Lawn and Gardening Book Series. Learn more about herb gardening the fun way with great, hands-on info... and get the Guide for 101 Gardening Tips, completely Free at http://www.lawn-and-gardening-tips.com.
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Tom
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2006 5:30 pm    Post subject: Herb growing Reply with quote

Thanks for those articles.
last week I searched the net for a good article on herb growing and storing (basil container planting etc) and today I find two great ones under the same roof.
Must check back more often.
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2006 11:29 pm    Post subject: Herbs in recipes and cooking. Reply with quote

Tom,
If you are cooking always try and use fresh herbs by and large.
An exception would be the likes of bay.
The more tender herbs like mint, parsley and basil can be gathered in a bowl and snipped with scissors.
This is the fastest and safest way to chop the herbs.
If your recipe calls for the more hardy herbs like oregano, rosemary, or thyme you should use the stripping method.
Hold a branch of the herb upright in your fingers and run the fingers of your other hand down the stalk stripping the tiny leaves free.
The flavor will be more intense if you have gathered the herbs from your herb gardens because they will be absolutely the freshest herbs available.

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Last edited by James Kilkelly on Sat Oct 20, 2007 5:31 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Lilith
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 1:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had to figure out a good way to dry herbs here in our humid climate. They tend to mold before they get good and dry.

Now I dry them in paper bags in my truck with the windows rolled up and park the truck in the full sun. Things dry REALLY fast, don't mold, and hold their fragrance much better.

Of course, I do get some looks when I go to the store and the truck is parked in the lot full of brown paper bags.
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Bugs
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 21, 2006 4:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good way to keep herbs eg parsley fresh is to wrap them in tissue paper and then seal them in a plastic bag . The tissue absorbs the moisture and the bag keeps them airtight and fresh
Cool Bugs

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2006 11:55 am    Post subject: Fresh herbs in ice cubes Reply with quote

Some people freeze fresh herbs within ice cubes.
These cubes can then be added to cooking dishes at any time of the year.

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optimistic
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PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2012 8:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all. I am new to this forum and have some queries regarding herb growing.
We have a raised type rockery with some flowers in it and some heathers etc. It is close to the french doors leading into our kitchen. Do herbs attract bees and hence draw them to the kitchen? We would love to have the smell of herbs wafting to the house. How do herbs survive in the windy conditions we have had from the north the past month? Our garden is exposed to and gets all this wind.How difficult are herbs to grow and manage for newbies???? Thanks for any advice given.
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Sive
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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Different types of thyme would probably work for your rockery and maybe a prostrate form of rosemary......also sage. You could then plant mint in a container to keep it under control and parsley somewhere where there is richer, moist soil. I wouldn't worry about the wind nor the bees....no lovelier sound than that of bumble bees in your flowers.
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optimistic
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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 10:36 am    Post subject: Herbs Reply with quote

Thanks for taking the time to reply. I really appreciate it. and yes you are right, the sound of bees is lovely.I presume mixing the herbs listed below with flower and heathers is no problem? We want the smell of herbs close to the house and also for ease of getting when cooking. Thanks again. Hope you have a great day.

[quote="Sive"]Different types of thyme would probably work for your rockery and maybe a prostrate form of rosemary......also sage. You could then plant mint in a container to keep it under control and parsley somewhere where there is richer, moist soil. I wouldn't worry about the wind nor the bees....no lovelier sound than that of bumble bees in your flowers.[/quote]
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Sive
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PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2012 12:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't see any problems mixing herbs and flowers.....it's the actual growing conditions that are relevant. And in fact herbs such as thyme.rosemary and sage produce lovely flowers too, so they look pretty as well as being useful.
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