Yet another container herb question

enmnmMay 14, 2013

Last fall I put my chives, cilantro, mint, thyme, and sage in my earthbox, covered it with a plastic greenhouse-type cover, and forgot about it. This spring when I went to clean it out, I found everything had died except the chives, which had grown to about 18 inches and was sprouting lovely purple flowers. I will admit that none of the plants were particularly hardy to being with, as I bought them at the end of the season when they were looking ragged.

Anyway, I was thinking that this year I would plant all the annuals in one container and perennials in another and overwinter them in an EB...or plant them outright in a junior EB. But then I also want rosemary, which I would love to overwinter and have failed every year so far.

Do you have suggestions for helping me optimize my patio herb garden?


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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

Good idea to keep annuals and perenials separate. I think you should also keep mints in a container of its own or plant it with annuals. Its roots can take over.

I dont know how big your container/earth box is but Sage, for example, can get quite large.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 9:04AM
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CA Kate

Well... I might disagree about mixing perennials and annuals. If you mix them you can pull out the annuals at the end of the first season and then there is extra room for the now-larger perennials. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2013 at 6:52PM
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t-bird(Chicago 5/6)

may have gotten too hot for the thyme and sage under there at some point. Maybe too wet. thyme and sage like drier conditions than do chives.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2013 at 10:16AM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

I also have EarthBoxes that I use for herbs. I have one specifically for the perennials we prefer--sage, tarragon, winter savory, sorrel, salad burnet, and then also plant parsley yearly. I find that this works well considering sizes of plants for me, keeping the sage and tarragon pretty well pruned back to prevent takeover. I overwinter by sticking in a corner and covering with a bale of straw. I have not had luck with overwintering oregano or thyme in my EB's for some reason--guessing they might stay too wet?

I love chives, and they have their own smaller planter box. An EBjr would work for them, or a smaller one too. They would also fit fine in a perennial box with others. I also use one EB for 8 basils yearly, and another for other herbs I feel like that year (my MIL got us 5 EBs eight years ago). For the last two years, it has had apple mint in one end (though I was constantly clipping new growth); then thyme, oregano, marjoram, and maybe an extra basil. Last year, the apple mint did great (I love my iced tea), but the others stayed rather small. This year, I decided to redo the soil in the boxes, and purchased an EB Jr for the mint. So, I went to dump the box--it was nearly solid mint runner root (and for those who aren't familiar with EB's, they're big and hold 2 cu ft of soil). No wonder the other herbs didn't thrive last year--they were completely crowded out! The Jr has now sprouted--I moved a couple of sections of runner root into it, and it will be apple mint dedicated. So definitely keep the mint to itself.

I also keep my rosemary in a separate pot that is currently indoors. I've never had them be particularly happy in an EB, and it's iffy to overwinter zone 6. In previous years, I have grown cilantro in the EB with good results, though I'm happy to let it bolt for the coriander seed.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 12:14AM
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Wow, thanks! What kind of light does your rosemary get? I have a window that faces south, but in the winter, it's still, well, not many hours of sunlight.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 5:09AM
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balloonflower(5b Denver CO, HZ 5-6, Sunset 2b)

It gets pretty direct early morning sun until noonish, then reflected light until the yard gets pretty shaded. I'm a bit surprised that it's happy there, but it is! I just put a post on another topic about killing rosemary on what's working for me with it as far as the pot and soil are concerned. It's a small 'tree' that I get at holiday time and pot to keep.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 3:17PM
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