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New Herb Garden

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Okay, I’m thinking of starting a window herb garden. Cooking herbs people, NOT those kind!!!! What kinds are good to grow? Where do you get them? Any other tips.

BTW: I live in Northeast Oklahoma, as a climate.
post #2 of 10
French Tarragon (be careful, they sell Russian Tarragon as Tarragon, so pinch your starter plant leaf and smell for licorice type smell), Rosemary, Oregano (small leaves, so you need a lot of it depending on usage requirements), marjoram (same as oregano requirements), Basil (all kinds of wonderful basil, I use it the most of anything except S&P), Flat Leaf Parsley, and Cilantro (if you like it).

doc
post #3 of 10
I agree with all of Doc's recommendations (except oregano, which for some reason I only like dried.:o The smell of the fresh stuff actually makes me feel queasy). What about some thyme? My favorite (and one of my favorite smells) is lemon thyme. I use it a lot. Chives are another great herb to have around and pretty easy to grow.

Growing herbs from seed is very satisfying, but it takes a fair amount of time (and French Tarragon is only available as a plant, I believe.). So check out your local nurseries. They'll get more and more plants in as the weather warms up.

A great on-line source for herbs--both plants and seeds--is Richters. If nothing else, get their catalogue. It's a terrific source for herb descriptions and offers more varieties than most places.
http://www.richters.com/
Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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Emily

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"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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post #4 of 10
Ramlatus,

The most important thing to consider is what herbs do you want to use to cook with? This will answer your question of what kinds to grow. You can buy herbs and any local greenhouse or garden center including Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Lowes, Home Depot, Target, etc.

Depending on what zone you reside in, French Tarragon may be difficult to grow, there are other flavorfull varities such as Mexican Tarragon that are hardy in hotter zones.

Please browse the existing threads in this forum because this question has been asked multiple times and you will find a wealth of suggestions and how-tos. Towards the bottom of the page you'll see Display Options. In the bottom left of that window, show From The (change the drop down menu to) The Beginning. You'll see eight pages of 185 threads, many of which will provide insight to your question.

Specifically:

http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=14014
http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=10071
http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6974
http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=6553
http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4691
post #5 of 10
Ramlatus, You’ve already gotten some helpful responses to this post. I hope you’ll get even more. I'll be watching and learning from them as well. While we're waiting here's a couple things I've learned.

The biggest constraint for growing herbs indoors (in my doors anyway) is the amount of light they get. Individual requirements vary, but most would like maybe six hours of direct sunlight per day.

The second biggest constraint is the frequency and, more importantly, the consistency of the attention I give them. If a plant is fortunate enough to be sitting on a window sill with the requisite amount of direct sunlight, it doesn't take very long for it to cook in its pot or dry up and die from lack of water at our latitude (I'm in southwestern Tennessee), where the summer temperature is over 90 day in and day out.

One problem I have is where I now live the windowsill that gets the most light only gets 3 or 4 hours once the shade trees put out all their leaves. To make matters worse, it’s in a location that’s very unhandy to tend the plants. I decided to use a grow light or a fluorescent fixture instead but couldn’t decide what type or size to get or where to put it.. What I ended up doing a couple months ago was hanging a cooling rack under the 4 foot 4 bulb florescent fixture I already have in the kitchen.. In the initial experiment I used a rack I already had and used big paper clips for hooks and little paper clips for the chain so it really didn’t cost me a cent to try it out. Because of careless shopping, I already had two cool white bulbs and two warm light bulbs, which is helpful for the plants.

So far, this is working out a lot better than the windowsill. I replaced the paperclips with hooks and chains from Home Depot. I haven’t thought of an improvement for the cookie sheet size cooling racks. I’ve added two more racks and all three are different heights. The heights of course are easily adjustable. The herb garden is right over my head and behind from both the sink and the prep area so it couldn’t be more convenient to water or harvest. I’ve gotten in the habit of inspecting and tending to each plant while I’m making my morning coffee, solves my consistency problem. The only problem so far has been. I’ve had to drop the habit of carrying a kitchen towel on my shoulder. Early on while flipping the towel over my shoulder I hit the rack and sent the pots flying.

So far I have parsley, rosemary, sage and oregano up there and they’re all happier than they would be in the window. I need to add at least thyme basil and cilantro.
just an old guy learning to live off his own cooking
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just an old guy learning to live off his own cooking
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post #6 of 10
Almost forgot, mint is pretty handy to have. Just make sure it's in its own separate pot since it tends to take over. Spearmint is probably the most versatile, but there are loads of interesting varieties. I love the smell of Chocolate Mint! :D And it works well in deserts and coffees.
Emily

______________________

"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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Emily

______________________

"If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener." -- J. C. Raulston, American Horticulturist
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post #7 of 10
I know I keep sounding like a broken record, but despite the initial expense, one of the best decisions I ever made was to buy a Klimagro Greenhouse (one called the Classic fits right in my kitchen garden window, and a larger one called the Majestic sits on a table in the back bedroom).

These have a built in humidity probe and humidity meter for testing the soil moisture content, built in lights (not grolux, but lights that actually mimic the spectra of true sunlight), built in timers to turn the lights on/off (I set mine usually for 18 hours so the plants don't go to bloom or seed), built in fan for air circulation, sliding safety glass window panels (top, front and back sides) for easy access from all angles, and a built in heating element with adjustable temperature control and temperature sensor for automatically controlling the temperature (and does that come in handy in Minnesota winters sitting in a window that juts out from the house!!).

I've got a rosemary "tree" growing in my kitchen Classic greenhouse, and I can hardly use the Rosemary fast enough it grows so well. I've got aloe vera, I've got an onion that started growing in the pantry that I put into a soil pot and stuck it in the greenhouse which will then be transplanted outdoors soon, I've got a pot of oregano, I've got basil growing right in the soil, French Tarragon, Flat leaf parsley, and marjoram right now. This thing takes care of not having to worry about light availability, temperature extremes, when to water or not, and a built in drainage system. Since it's by the sink, I just use my extendable faucet to water the thing right from the tap.

Besides it's very beautiful sitting in the window and draws comments from everybody who visits! Since its on for 18 hours per day, it lights up the house when we get up to go to work, and it goes off as we go to bed. All automatically. Power consumption is minimal, and when I think of all the times that I didn't have to pay $4.95 for some little plastic container of questionable fresh herbs from the grocery store (if they have it in, not to mention the inconvenience its saved me from having to drop everything to go buy some fresh herbs, to the nice aromas that the herb garden gives off)....I just can't say enough.

It's definitely paid for itself over the 4-5 years I've had it.

www.klimagro.com

doc
post #8 of 10
This couldn't be any easier really, you have a pretty good climate so things are wide open. Certain herbs will take things over, others are harder to tend to. Rosemary, Basil, Thyme, Sage, Lambs ear, Lavender, Mint, oregano, Tarragon, Parsley, Cillantro are ALL super easy to grow and maintain.
Like all good meals, this too shall pass
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Like all good meals, this too shall pass
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post #9 of 10
CrazyTATT,

I believe Ramlatus was looking more specific information for "cooking herbs" or culinary herbs, of which Lamb's Ear would not be one. I would be cautious in saying that ll are "super easy to grow an maintain". There are many factors including variety, and multiple environmental factors which can affect their growability. If you would like to share with Ramlatus specifics on light, water, drainage, soil, nutrients, zones, life cycles, and varieties, please feel free.
post #10 of 10
The forementioned herbs ARE easy to grow and maintain. The Home Depot or any local Home/Garden shop, should offer an array of ready to use, out of the box, planters.

Moderate light, over the counter potting soil, and a little patience is all that is needed to support Basil(Sweet, Fire Thai), Thyme(Lemon Pepper and fire, my personal pics) and rosemary.Rosemary, Mint, Thyme, parsley, and Cilantro are easy to grow BUT, will take over everything if you let it.

Sage requires a "drier" soil, this is accomplished by either using a sand, and gravel potting base, or adding additional vermiculite to potting soil. I have had alot of succes in growin Tri-Colored, Pineapple, And Regular Sage, under moderate light, and little maintainance.

Mint(Chocolate, Lemon, Fire, Spear) are a garden MUST, they can handle almost anything nature can hurl its way. Root rot is the enemy here.

Mint, like thyme and rosemary, has the potential to over take all in your area. Keep it topped and trimed, all cuts will result in new growt anyways, so it can be to your advantage. I usually top bi-weekly in most cases, just use your judgment.

If you run into any problems involving mites or other insects, a simple solution of one part vineagar, to six parts water, in a spray bottle will usually solve the issue after a lite misting.

And yes, I know Lambs Ear isn't a "culinary" herb, but, it has great aroma and can add great depth to certain boqut garni/sachet, and like lambs ear, Lemon Verbana and Lavender make GREAT natural air freshners.

Hope some of this was of some use. Plants do need attention, but not like a child does, take care of them, they will do the same for you. Just remember to NOT over water, and prune regularly.

Sometimes it might be of advantage to bloom your seeds in a moist paper towel, then transfer to a rooting medium, but the choice is up to you. All the plants I've refered to take little time to start yielding a product, as little as 4 to 6 weeks in most cases. Plant when the moon is high and full, and start looking for useable stock in 6-8 weeks max.
Like all good meals, this too shall pass
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Like all good meals, this too shall pass
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