herbs and nematoes

slowpoke_gardenerDecember 19, 2011

I am planing on cleaning out my winter garden of about 250 to 300 sq.ft.. Most of my turnips are gone, the mustard does not look great, the winter onions have stalled out, and the kale is not producing well.

My plan is to harvest the rest of the turnips even tho they are small. I will pull the winter onions and cut up to freeze. I don't want to save any because of the nematodes. The kale will be harvested and cooked (it has been kept picked pretty close). All roots will be disposed of.

I expect to till the garden several times in Jan., hoping to reduce the number of nematodes. After the freezing/UV treatment I will come back with a large amount compost, shredded leaves. grain rye clippings and sorghum, and maybe a little liquid fish. I also have a bulb auger to drill down a foot or more to drop in compost. A dose of beneficial nematodes is not out of the question, but I expect they will come later in the year. I plan on planting my Cole crops in this same spot because this is the only free space I will have.

Now for the hard part. I want to grow some herbs, and I know nothing about them. Do I need to buy a book? Do I plant in the ground or in a pot? My wife does not know anything about herbs either, my family has never grown herbs that I am aware of.

Any advice will be welcomed.

Thanks, Larry

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Larry, what kind of herbs do you like? Some are perrenial, such as sage, mint, oregano, rosemary, chives and thyme and some are annual, such as dill, cilantro, parsley, arugula. All four of these annuals are somewhat cold hardy. They are all alive though somewhat frost bitten in my garden. You can grow any of them, perrenial or annual, in pots if you want. I have sage, mint and chives in the ground and oregano, rosemary and thyme in pots in the unheated greenhouse. I don't know what to tell you about herbs and nematodes.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 2:45PM
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Dorothy. I don't know enough about them to answer the questions. I know a little about Salt and Pepper, that's about it.

The things I love most about gardening is tilling, weeding and trying new things. Gardening is more of a hobby for me because I spend more than I get back, but I never made any money on my other hobbies either.

I have grown mint, but never used it. I have grown horse radish but it was too hot, plus it was more invasive than Bermuda. You might say that the herb seen is new to me

Maybe a good place to start is to find out what DW might use if I grew it. I think I can grow almost anything with the info I receive on this forum.

As far as the nematodes go, this is the third time I have had to consciously battle them in the past 20+ years. I think root knot nematodes are not a lot more of a problem than Bermuda grass, at least I can see the Bermuda.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 4:50PM
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Larry, I use a lot of dry herbs but I haven't been good about growing fresh ones, but I did try a few more this past year. This was probably the worst year, but some did OK.

Basil is one of my favorites and I grow it every year, but there are a lot of basils, and I love the taste of sweet basil, but don't like the ones that taste like licorice.

I like mint but I have finally gotten rid of all of it in my garden and when I plant it again, I will do so in a bottomless pot with most of the pot buried in the ground.

I planted 3 horseradish roots in containers this year and it did fine. I just dumped out the pots this week and re-potted the small pieces altogether in one very large pot. When I picked up the first container, I heard a little pop but thought it was probably grass growing up into the pot. I started to pick up another one and had to really tug on it to lift it up. The horseradish had grown through the hole in the bottom of the pot and was growing in the ground under it.

Fresh horseradish is very strong. Some people don't work with it without protective gear (grin), but it didn't bother me to peel and handle it. I cubed it into small pieces then put it into the blender with a small amount of cold water. Once it was the consistency I wanted, I waited a couple of minutes and added the vinegar. If you wait too long to add the vinegar, then the taste will be too strong. Mine is plenty strong. I put some washed, but unpeeled, in a veggie bag to see if I can save it for awhile. The prepared is supposed to keep up to 6 weeks in the refrigerator.

I grew a cutting celery this year just so I could see it grow. It has a very strong taste when it is fresh but I would guess that it would be good to use in a soup to add that celery taste. I find too much celery in a dish to totally overpower the taste of the original dish so I am cautious with celery anyway. It is still green in my garden. Even the chickens must find it too strong because they haven't eaten it although I am letting them run in that area.

I grew flat leaf parsley and it is also still green. I grew all of the above from seed.

I bought one small rosemary plant last spring. It is still very small but is alive. I put a gallon milk jug with the lid off and the bottom cut out, down over the plant then put lots of leaves around the jug. Hopefully it will make it through the winter cold.

I cut basil and parsley before it got cold and put it in cups in my kitchen window. The basil rooted and I potted it into soil and it is still alive. The parsley has now rooted, but it is a little yellow. I may dig up a sprig and pot it inside.

My oregano died during the summer. I plant a little bit of dill but I never get any to use, but I guess I help a lot of butterflies by giving them a food source. I think I will put some dill and fennel seed in my flower bed this year rather than the garden.

George sent me some Jerusalem artichokes last year and they arrived in the mail box on a super cold day and stayed there all day. Some were just mush when I looked but a few were still firm. I put them all in a container and a few plants came up and lived but didn't produce very well. I kept the tiny little roots anyway and plan to see if I can get a plant from them.

I have never had nematodes so I don't know anything about dealing with them.

Post what herbs you are going to plant and maybe we can help with the seed. Carol

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 6:26PM
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Ok, I have more time now so I will tell you a bit about how I use the herbs I grow. Dill and Cilantro selfseed if you let them make seed, and I always do. They come up by themselves every spring and again in the fall. I like to throw snippets of fresh dill into salads with lettuce, radish and onion. Also chop it into sour cream with chives to put on baked potato, or to dress fresh cucumbers. I freeze both fresh dill and cilantro to use later. My daughter and I love cilantro in fresh salsa and frozen works just fine. And the frozen dill works fine in sour cream, but not in salad, of course. Dill seed is used to make dill-pickled okra and green beans.

I also raise basil. (Forgot to mention that) And like Carol only like the sweet type. I make basil pesto with pine nuts, parmesan cheese and a little garlic, and freeze enough to last through the winter. Basil also selfseeds. I dug up 8 seedlings before it froze out--it is very tender--and am growing it potted on the porch.

I add dried mint, which I dry in the dehydrator in early summer, to the green tea I make each morning. I also dry sage and use it to flavor cornbread dressing. Sage tea is also good and supposed to be good for the brain. I prefer to use rosemary, oregano and thyme fresh. That's why they are potted in the greenhouse. I chop all three very fine, mix into butter, and put under the skin of the breast before I roast chicken. Those 3 with garlic also make a savory potato/onion dish, sauteed slowly.

I have also raised the cutting celery in the past, but found it harder to use, so haven't for a while. It didn't hold its flavor well dried. Might work better frozen, but I haven't tried that. I'm not a big celery fan anyway.

I recently made a batch of homemade beef sausage using my own sage, oregano, and garlic and adding some salt, ginger, cloves and a little red pepper. Very good. I'm not a big fan of commercial sausage, but like my own.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2011 at 8:16PM
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