Enough space for herbs here?

catkim(San Diego 10/24)May 6, 2009

I have a bed under some windows that has become overgrown and unattractive over the years, so I was planning to refresh it, or entirely replant it. I've decided I'd like to grow kitchen herbs here, but I wonder if I have enough room?

I'd especially like to grow thyme, basil, and rosemary, and if there's room, some cilantro too. And of course, when I actually go to purchase the seeds or plants, a few more will be added. Opinions? Suggestions for success?

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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Most of the common kitchen herbs don't take up much space, like good drainage, don't need rich soil, and need full sun. In other words, it's probably a perfect space for one. Albeit in your climate, rosemary will probably get bigger and be bush-sized. I don't have that issue in the snowy north.

Cilantro likes it cooler so in your location I'm not positive how it will fare. It may bolt too quickly. You can see how other Californian gardeners do with it or tricks they may have for growing it.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 4:06PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Basil types can be as tall as 5 feet! Genovese basil is smaller, about a foot tall and bushy with smaller leaves. Thyme will do well there, and will survive any cold winters. Cilantro in your zone is a cool weather plant that only has a short 3 month season before it bolts to seeds and tougher leaves, and will not return unless its seeds have dropped into the soil. Oregano is similar to thyme in its habit. Basil, and cilantro are not year round growers. Rosemary, depending on the type can be a big bush or a smaller 1-2 foot tall bush. If you want year round herbs, some of the ones you mentioned are not suitable, as above. THere is also dill, whhich can get to 4 feet tall and sindly looking except for the very thin fern like leaves. Again they are a single season herb, and once they flower then produce seeds, the greens die out. Dill and cilantro do not transplant very well either

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 5:54PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

SanDiego is the best place to grow herbs, as they like dry feet and cooler night.
Plant cilantro on fall, when it has started to cool off.
You will have them till next March maybe April. It is the same with chives, parsley, onions.
Basils can last till frost (if there is any in SD)But you have to replant them around every February directly in the garden or start them inside early.
I have seen rosemary growing as shrub everywhere around SD. But you can plant one but try to trim it to keep down to size. Similary, thyme and sage will do real well in SD. They like dry weather and well drained/sany soild. You can always trim them or plant a new one from seed.

Per ksroger's description, some herbs can grow taller. So plant those next to the foundation and shorter ones further away. If you grow taragons, shade them behind tall ones and where you get partial sun. Similary do with lavender.
Of course lavender is just for an accent and has no culinary use.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 12:48AM
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tn_veggie_gardner(7)

ksrogers said it...Basil & one or two others can grow quite large, but there are many herbs that would fit in that nice sized section.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 2:08AM
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batyabeth

Excuse me but lavender has more uses than you can shake a stick at (were you so inclined to shake sticks at things). Yes, it's gorgeous, but also a very useful plant and in SD, like where I live, it's bound to be very happy. It can take a lot of benign neglect,and will end up giving you much more than you give it. Peace.....

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 5:21AM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I've never had basil get 5' tall but that is probably because I don't plant types that get that massive. There are many varieties. Read their descriptions and possible heights before making a choice. Of course, vigorous clipping can keep them smaller as well.

Lavender is featured in many recipes and at home in a kitchen garden. It is a treat for the nose as well!

Peppers are always a nice addition to a kitchen herb garden. The plants and fruits are beautiful along with being useful. The hot pepper types are the most vigorous and beautiful, in my opinion.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 8:57AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Wow, thank you for so many responses and good information already!

I have a variety of lavenders elsewhere in the garden and consider them much too large for this location. Really enjoy their scent... Peppers! An excellent suggestion!

I do understand many herbs are annuals or short-lived perennials, so this bed would wax and wane and be harvested regularly and updated seasonally. There will be some labor involved, but the rest of my garden has been shifting toward lower maintenance, I don't mind trying this for a few years.

But -- I would like it to be an *attractive* herb garden. Are there ways to make it look abundatly full and yet restrained enough that it doesn't resemble a weed patch? ; ) Tips or tricks for growing them to look like a well-maintained garden? Support structures, special pots, other?

Better yet, I'd love to see photos of your herb gardens. I imagine there must be many sweet patches of parsley and ginger out there. Please share photos. Thanks!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 1:27PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

You might also want to think about the coloured sages. You can get purple and variegated versions which are attractive additions to a flower bed.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 1:46PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

My mammoth leaf basil had 10 inch diameter leaves and was almost as tall as I am. Genovese is very short and bushy. There are many basil types and some can grow as tall as 5 feet. The usual size for mine is about 4 feet once flower stalks show up. The flower stalks can get to 10 inces long. For basil, there are also some colored leaf types.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 4:09PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

I have some mammoth basil seedings in tray. I had no idea they will grow that big. I think now that maybe I will have just one or two. Also, I will keep them down to size by harvesing.
Maybe I will plant one in a big pot. .

I like globe basils too. They don't get very big.
I am gowing some thai basils from store-bought, rooted.
I have no idea how big they will get. With herbs, sometimes you have to trim them too. My thymes agre getting big now and need a haircut.
Winter savory is another good herb. As the name says, its perenial. I planted mine in mid December and survived many frosts. So did sage and thyme.
To batya
About lavender, what I said before was that it has no culinary use that I know of. Sure it has other uses. I have one lavender myself in my herb garden. So I am not against it at all. In fact, I am growing different variety of it from seeds right now.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 10:01PM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

I've never seen basil leaves this big before. The UPS driver came by last time I grew them and stayed a minute while I showed him my garden. He saw the big leaves and asked what it was. I plucked off a leaf and had him taste and smell it. He left very surprised at the huge basil leaf size. To get to that, a bit of slow release nitrogen is necessary. I also use a fertilizer made for herbs only from Gardens Alive. It was not being sold for a few years, but has now returned to their listings. Was planning to do some stuffed basil leaves, like stuffed grape or cabbage leaves, but have not had the energy.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 5:49AM
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eibren(z6PA)

Stuffed basil leaves! Yum. What a scrumptious idea! Hope you get the energy to implement that.

I wonder if they are ever used that way in sushi, as another poster mentioned that perilla is.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2009 at 11:27PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

Now , we hope that the questioer has got answers to his/her question. So we contiue with side issues.LOL
Talking about stuffing mammothe basil leaves, that is a grand idea, KS rogers. I will try it along with my shiso leaves, another great stuffer in my book.

What goes into stuffing, is flavored with herbs in my herb garden. O! I am geting hungry.Hehe

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 12:23AM
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ksrogers(EasternMass Z6)

Rice, is good, ease up on added herbs if your using bsil leaves. I would wrap in a couple as they get very tender and soft when heated. Cabbage leaves are muich firmer and hold their shape. Stuffing with rice, chopped onions and sweet peppers, and copped tomatoes is a good filling Stuffed cabbage uses hamburger and rice. Stufed grape leaves use rice, olives, and maybe a bit of ground lamb. Avoid quick coking rice and Minute rice, they are not tasty. Basmatic rice is my favorite, and works well even when I add some saffron to it. I even grow saffron crocuses here, which get flowers harvested in late fall. Some time back I mad a huge batch of Chinese pork fried rice. I bought some egg roll wrappers and filled them with the fried rice. Thats two side dishes made into one. Yes, basil leaves have been used in sushi California rolls as well as scallions, jicima, and many other things that add color, texture and taste. Even the sushi rice has a bit of sweetened rice wine vinegar added to compliment its taste.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 4:08PM
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maifleur01

Minced chicken or tuna salad wrapped in the mammoth leaves. Start a few then allow guests to build their own. Put onions, olives, pepper strips on side to wrap with leaves. For the less adventursome have pieces of leaf lettuce.

You could have a bar with several different herb leaves to add to or wrap the fixings.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 7:28PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

I like ks Rogers' recepie with some amendments:
Add some finlly minced chicken, or beef (or ground beef), or prk,...salt, paprika, turmeric, little bit of fresh savory, chives, lemon balm(It pays to have herb garden)

Half cook the rice for stuffing as it will steam and cook in the wrapping and absorbe= the flavor of other ingredients instead of plain water. Actually, I can just soak the rice over nigh and don't even cook it. Best is to wrap bite size, as an apetizer.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 11:40PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Is this a cooking forum? Nobody has a photo of an herb garden?

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 1:00PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Many food plants are herbs and so recipes are very appropriate!

As far as pix...I tend to be a "wild gardener" and plant things in no particular pattern save what requirements the plants have to grow and my particular whims at the moment. I intermingle my plantings of culinary herbs, medicinal herbs, vegetables, and so on with reckless abandon. Ok, it's not so reckless. But if you are planning out a garden with a "kitchen garden" theme, pictures of my gardens are not what you are looking for.

For garden plans you may try gardening books in your local library or back issues of the Herb Companion or Garden Gate magazines.

FataMorgana

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 3:21PM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

'Scuze me for being cranky, I don't want to get hungry every time I check this board. ; ) Thanks FM, wouldn't mind seeing your version of reckless abandon anyway, even if it wouldn't fit my space.

Cheers,
Kim

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 3:46PM
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eibren(z6PA)

I am saving all of those "wrap" suggestions in a special recipe file. Now I just need to find some perilla or Mammoth Basil. I do have grape leaves growing, though.

:o)

I'm like Fatamorgana-- my plants are all tucked here and there--no formal herb garden; my garden is mostly trees and shrubs at this point, with a tiny area along a path in back where I am trying to keep a bit of sun available to try new things and grow a few sun-loving herbs in pots.

I count my mulberry trees, wild grape vines, wild raspberries, walnut trees, Japanese honeysuckle, forsythia bushes, and pokeberry plants as being herbal, because they all have medicinal uses, and the leaves of some can be used for tea. I just planted a few Chippewa blueberry bushes--even if they don't produce blueberries, I will still have their leaves for tea.

I also have many gooseberry bushes, but the sparrows eat all the gooseberries before they mature.

:o/

Some spring, I would like to take some photos of my tree peonies, though. They're starting to have three or four flowers each.

While I was recovering from my hip replacement, the Yellow Archangel took over my old herb garden area, and I have been overplanting it with shrubs in a counterattack. It has occurred to me, though, that the Yellow Archangel really is a useful groundcover, because it is the only thing I know that can defeat wild mustard.

I do have one spot where I am defending two rhubarb plants and a blue comfrey from the Yellow Archangel fairly successfully, by laying down pavers. It won't last, though. Yellow Archangel will take over as soon as I am in my grave.

I have to admit, I am experiencing a certain satisfaction in realizing that when my plantings are no longer tended, there will still be an interesting mix of a few tough plants to fend off the weeds.

I heard somewhere that Yellow Archangel is edible, though. Sometime I may just try that.

... ... ...

My only useful suggestion for a formal herb garden would be to avoid lemon balm and Coltsfoot, at least initially. Lemon balm is actually quite a useful cooling tea, but it can easily take over the entire spot reserved for herbs, as will the Coltsfoot. I know.

:o(

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 4:02AM
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catkim(San Diego 10/24)

Well, eibren, I thoroughly enjoyed your description of the herb wars going on out in the garden. Had to look up all the plant names, though, Yellow Archangel and Coltsfoot being foreign to me. I see the YA is related to mint...(aha!)

So this week I ventured to my favorite nursery and scooped up a few tiny little innocuous-looking pots: 2 basil -- one Greek columnar and an Italian; a single Rosemary oficinalis; thymus vulgaris and thymus something-else; a different sort of mint that will remain confined; and three kinds of peppers -- jalapeno, cayenne, and one asian-sounding name that starts with 's'. That's the difficulty of impulse buying, I don't even know how big they get!! Anyway, I will read up on each, try to place them for optimum growth, and hope for the best. The bromeliads, orchids, and flax will be transplanted this afternoon.

Hmm, now I need a place for lettuces...

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 3:39PM
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maifleur01

Use the lettuce to outline your garden space. We have a small walled garden here and they use various lettuces in beds. This year it appears to be bands of a red romaine, parsley or carrots, a ferny kale, then another band of either green leaf or boston lettuce. Garden looks fairly formal until you really look at the plants.

Anyone that comes to KCMO should stop at Kaufman Garden on Rockhill. Do not be put off by the two graves.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 11:48PM
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cyrus_gardner(8)

I agree with fatamorgana, in vegetable gardening forums. it is an acceptable and common practice to get into colinary applicatios. After all, that is the commanding reason for growing them in the first place. Of course, in this thread the subject relating to the questioner/ starter's question has been discussed to exhustion.
AFTER ALL, YOU EAT WHAT YOU GROW AND YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT(grin!+ hehe)

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 11:58PM
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