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What To Plant?

Posted by moonwolf 6 (My Page) on
Wed, Jun 2, 10 at 13:06

Hi everyone,

I'm new to this forum but not to herbs. The one area of our yard has concrete planters (no bottoms on them and the roots of whatever we plant there go directly into the ground) which we usually put herbs and veggies (usually tomatoes) in. There are four lined up in a row. From left to right are the tomatoes (cherry and Early Girl), bush beans, cucumber plant and dill and the lemon balm. This year we're trying cucumbers (Boston Pickling) and bush beans (Cherokee Wax and Pawnee Shell). I have two pots of herbs (chamomile, lemon verbena) setting up on the planters and I planted dill with the cucumbers.

In the one planter, I have lemon balm and a free space beside it. I want another herb to grow with it and that would do well with the neighboring aforementioned veggies.
I have several choices. Would any of these do well?

Basil
Thyme
Marjoram
Comfrey
Yarrow
Lovage
Tarragon

I know I can find the first three around here. I may have to look for the others.

Thanks in advance,
Brad AKA Moonwolf


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: What To Plant?

Im no expert, but isnt lemon balm invasive?? If it is anything like mints, no bottom on the planter will mean rapid sneaky spreading


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RE: What To Plant?

When you say 'would do well' do you mean 'grow well with' or 'be good to eat with.' As doom says lemon balm is a spreader which will grow pretty large, although I don't think it will spread beyond the planter, except by seed. Since I don't enjoy herbal teas it is pretty useless in my view, although others will differ. For me the most useful of the herbs you list would be basil and thyme, with tarragon as runner up, followed by marjoram. Some people eat comfrey but it has been linked with liver damage so I would not risk it.It is also a large plant that requires a great deal of moisture. It's natural habitat is wet ditches and river banks. Yarrow is basically a weed and has limited kitchen use. Lovage is tasty but will grow to 6 feet tall and can spread. To get the most edibles out of your container I personally would choose from basil, thyme and tarragon and get the lemon balm out. Can you tell us the diameter of the planters?


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RE: What To Plant?

Here's the lemon balm and the tomato plants. I bought sweet basil last night at Wal-Mart. I grew lemon balm in a pot last year and it didn't come back this year. These were taken a few days ago.

Lemon Balm (after it was watered)
Lemon Balm

Tomatoes (the ones on the left are going to be taken out since we bought a healthy cherry tomato plant, Sweet 100, last night too)
Early Girl Tomato Plant and Cherry Tomato Seedlings

I don't know the diameter of the planters, but as you can tell, they're rectangular in shape. I'm growing the herbs for companionship to each other and the veggies.

Brad AKA Moonwolf


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RE: What To Plant?

Today, I bought 4 plants (2 for me, 2 for mom). We got spearmint, grey santolina, tarragon and pennyroyal. The lady who owns and runs the place is very friendly and knowledgeable.

Brad AKA Moonwolf


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RE: What To Plant?

Just to reinforce;
Your lemon balm looks like an innocent one right now but it can outgrow
that planter by itself, by next year.
Basil is a better companion to LB b/c its an annual but tarragon, thyme will be overpowered
by lemon balm next year. A rosemary may be a better perenial contender.

Lastly, ANY MINT IS REALLY, VERILY,,INVASIVE. Much worse than lemon balm.

Cyrus


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RE: What To Plant?

Moonwolf - if you tell us what you want the herbs for it would help. Do you want herbs you can cook with? Are you thinking of making teas? Are you looking for medicinal herbs? Or do you just want something pretty? If the lady is friendly and knowledgable I think she should be giving you better advice. She seems to have sold you a rather random selection of plants there. You have 2 spreading moisture loving mints, one of which (pennyroyal) needs treating with extreme care if used medicinally as it can actually be quite dangerous. Santolina is pretty, but it is rarely used either medicinally or culinarily. It is a low growing drought resistant shrub that can cover a meter square. If you put it in with your veggies it could either fill the planter or languish because of the watering and feeding necessary for the veggies. Is that the kind of plant you want? Tarragon is a great cooking herb but again can get to a decent size.

As for 'companionship' I'm still not sure what that means. On the whole I am very sceptical about companion planting unless there is proven reason for it such as known allelopathy. Most of the unsubstantiated 'X likes Y' statements I read seem to me to be pure nonsense which I see disproved in gardens all the time. I think you would be better off choosing herbs which you will get most use out of and then growing them in the planter with the most suitable conditions.

Please don't take the next bit as criticism, just common sense. You say you are not new to herbs and yet you don't seem to know much about them. Judging by the dense clump of tiny tomato seedlings you planted before you bought your Sweet 100 I suspect you are not an experienced gardener. (If I'm wrong, sorry.) I think that it would be best to get some of the basic techniques and ideas under your belt before getting tangled up in companion planting. And to listen to what seasoned (no pun intended) herb growers are telling you about the nature of some of your choices.


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RE: What To Plant?

I took out the lemon balm and just put tarragon in it's place. I put the lemon balm, spearmint and grey santolina into pots. Mom was the one that picked out the grey santolina for herself. The reason I bought pennyroyal was as a companion to a rosebush of mine. After doing a little research, I found santolina to be a companion as well (we just planted a second rosebush). I'm thinking of putting pennyroyal in a pot. I've used my lavender as a cut flower and to put in 'dream pillows' for friends.

Other herbs I'm currently growing are: lavender (Hidecote, 3 years old, and Dwarf Munstead, 2 years old), chamomile, lemon verbena, and dill seeds I planted beside my Boston Pickler cucumber plant. In the past five years of gardening, I have grown all the herbs above plus rosemary and this is the first year for santolina, lemon verbena and pennyroyal. I've also had peppermint in a container.

I am by no means a garden expert, but trying different plants gives you experience. I grow houseplants too, mostly hoyas, besides outdoor gardening. I wouldn't trade all that experience for anything. I've always been around gardening as my mom and my grandmothers have been growing veggies or flowers or both. Like I said, I've done very little gardening until five years ago and started indoor gardening about two years ago. I'll take a picture later, to show you the layout of the garden.

As far as I want herbs for culinary or medicinal purposes,
I haven't decided yet. After doing a little reading, most of the herbs I grow serve both functions.

Flora, no offense taken! Gardening, I think, is all about experience and you learn from it and pass it along to those who are willing to learn!

Brad AKA Moonwolf


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