what are the Mediterranean herbs?

kawaiineko_gardener(5a)November 10, 2011

All I'm asking is to please answer the questions I asked; please don't tell me 'look in the search box' or treat me as stupid for asking the questions.

If I knew the answers to the questions I'm asking, I wouldn't be asking them. I also have no experience with herb gardening, so that makes things more confusing.

Based on research I've been doing with herb gardening, Mediterranean herbs like dry and gravely soil that is sandy.

However what are the Mediterranean herbs? The only ones I know of are lavender and rosemary. I'm not sure of the others, which is why I'm asking; what are they?

Also with Mediterranean herbs, I heard that once they're established they don't need to be watered at all.

Is this true? I know with something like cactus, you still have to water it just not very often; it still requires watering though. Is this the rule of thumb for Mediterranean herbs that like dry soil?

Oh I had one other question about the type of soil mixture herbs in general like. I know veggies like loamy, rich, 'black' soil that is fertile.

However do herbs prefer a 'nutrient poor' sandy soil that is light on compost/fertilizer?

Below is a 'soil mixture' i found that is suitable for lavender. Since other Mediterranean herbs prefer a dry soil too, would the soil mix below work for them as well?

* one part finished compost

* one part pumice or perlite

* one part coarse sand

* one part fine soil

* lime to adjust ph to at least 7.0 (depends on amount of mix prepared)

* a few crushed eggshells (optional - provides alkaline ph as they degrade)

The final question I have is does a soil mixture for herbs need to have compost or some sort of fertilizer added or is it not necessary?

I'm asking this cause I know it's necessary for growing veggies, so I'm wondering if that rule applies to herb gardening as well.

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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

Lean soil is what you want. No fertilizer. I don't like sand in soil mixes and compost isn't needed for these. You are container planting? Or directly in the ground? If containers, the container gardening forum has some oft-spoken about soil mix recipes. For something commercially available, I usually suggest bonsai soil mixes or something very similar for these plants.

Other Mediterranean herbs include sage, thyme, and oregano. Oregano grows anywhere you put it, much like mint so it doesn't need anything special or these types of soil mixes.


    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 9:55AM
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Lavender, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage, santolina, bay, basil, savory and thyme are the best known.

Like Fatamorgana, I also do not like sand in soil mixes - if nothing else, they make the pot too heavy to lift! A good-quality, general-purpose potting mix is, IMO, the best option. Potted plants, which are always high maintenance, will need a little all-purpose fertiliser added from time to time - say once a year or so (add a handful of compost, or sprinkle on some slow-release pellets), and a potted plant will need more frequent watering. A thorough soaking once a week is better than a brief sip daily. But don't rely on the clock or calender for watering - use the finger-test and judge for yourself when a plant needs watering. Most of the Mediterrean plants can take quite a lot of water - as long as it drains away quickly. They don't like wet feet, but in a pot the soil is best kept barely moist.

When planted in the garden, Mediterrean herbs generally can be left to their own devices - but they are definitely NOT desert plants, so in dry or very hot weather, give them a drink. Basil needs more water and fertiliser than most of its compatriots.

Remember, too, to treat baby plants with a little more TLC than you'd treat mature adult plants. Mostly this means protecting them from the harshest conditions (too hot, too cold, too dry, too wet, too windy, too much fertiliser etc).

Most of the Mediterrean plants like full sun (as much as they can get), and plenty of heat to make their leaves produce more of the essential oils which give them their flavour and aroma.

The site below provides information about the 'Mediterranean climate'.

Here is a link that might be useful: Mediterranean climate

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 5:50PM
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Well according to the research I've done, all herbs seem to prefer a 'dry' soil, NOT black loamy soil that you'd use for veggie gardening?

The Bonsai mix, you said that it would be suitable for Mediterranean herbs, but will it be a suitable soil mix for herbs in general?

I know you listed the above herbs as being considered Mediterranean. However I've heard fennel (both the bulb, and the leaf herb) and cumin referred to as Mediterranean as well. Is this accurate?

The herbs would be grown in containers.

The one last question I had about growing Mediterranean herbs, is as a rule, are they easiest, best grown, and is it the most practical to grow from cuttings/transplants or from seed?

    Bookmark   November 11, 2011 at 6:46PM
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fatamorgana2121(Zone 5/6)

I don't know what "herbs in general" entails. All plants have specific water, sun, and soil requirements. You would have to say which are you meaning specifically for any specific advice.

With regards to soil types and mixes, I personally would not grow things like parsley, mint, dill, and calendula as examples, in the same soil I would grow the classic Mediterranean herbs like sage and thyme in. There is no one soil mix for all herbs.

Learning each plant's needs is the key part of being able to grow it successfully. Libraries and the internet are full of sources to refer to for the care of any given plant.


    Bookmark   November 15, 2011 at 3:11PM
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In my Mediterranean garden, my herbs are sage, mint, rue, rosemary, lavender, za'atar (usually called Syrian hyssop or Syrian oregano), yarrow, calendula, sweet basil - annual and perennial - lemon verbena, and what we call in Arabic Sheba, which I'm pretty sure is called artemesia), aloe vera, chamomile (hopefully it'll live this time), tagetes, Stinging nettle (a "weed" that I let live as much as possible and use often),another "weed" growing wild is cleavers.
We've just entered into our winter, meaning no frost but windy, rainy and damp. Hopefully we'll get as much rain as possible, as we're getting desperately short of water around here. Most of my herbs are in the ground, some in containers, with a struggling veggie garden and the worst soil - if it could even be called that - I've ever seen. I started the herb garden with a few months of lasagna, then planted healthy starts from my local greenhouse. So far so good..........but I've killed lavender every year so far and this is the first year of 30 years of gardening that I haven't killed the basil!
I would go with transplants as you start out. I'd be happy to show pics if y'all want. Nearly everything I know about growing all this has come from these forums and my own research on the web, and looking into other people's gardens and asking those who know more than me, which when I started out here 15 years ago was nearly everybody.
Peace, Batya

    Bookmark   November 18, 2011 at 6:05AM
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Most of the herbs considered to be 'Mediterranean' will do well in any soil mix, with a key component being that your soil is well draining as Mediterranean herbs do not like to have wet feet. The lean soil mentioned by FataMorgana, along with plenty of sunshine and limited water is what will encourage your Med. herbs to produce more of their essential oils; more essential oils will give more fragrance and flavor to you herbs.

    Bookmark   November 22, 2011 at 4:09PM
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Try adding crushed egg shells to your garden. They are light and add nutrients to your soil.It's much better than sand
Hope it helps.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2011 at 1:14AM
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