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Growing Herbs

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Tasty Kitchen Blog: Kitchen Talk (Growing Herbs)

The birds are chirping, mornings come a little bit earlier each day, and that tickle in my throat is telling me that pollen is floating around in the air, bringing with it the promise of new life. Spring is finally here!

Many winter-weary folks have started flocking to garden centers, eager to begin work on their yards and planters. I love the garden center early in the season because the racks of herb plants are still packed, and the number of varieties that you can now bring home keeps growing. Varieties like chocolate mint, Thai basil, or my personal favorite, culantro, which I like to refer to as cilantro on steroids.

So let’s talk about herbs today! Tell us:

Do you have any tips for growing herbs at home?

I am, sadly, quite the pitiful gardener. But I keep trying, hoping that one day, I’ll be among those who have lush little pots of herbs on their kitchen windowsill, who never have to run to the store every time they need some basil for pasta, or cilantro for salsa. So I’ll be eagerly reading all your comments!

Betsy says to take the leaves off the top of the basil plant rather than the lower leaves to keep the plant growing fuller and not taller. (She also said she wasn’t quite sure and not to quote her, but sometimes I don’t hear well.)

Nanci adamantly warns never to plant mint in the ground or it will take over the world. She’d also love for someone to tell her how to grow cilantro, because it always seems to get tall and leggy and go to seed on her. (I’ll pretend I know what that means. Like I said, pitiful gardener.)

How about you? What advice do you have for growing herbs? Share your tips with us below!

 

33 Comments

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NancyRing on 4.15.2014

Cilantro – it starts “getting leggy and going to seed” once the soil it is planted in reaches 75dF. You should plant it in a container so you can bring it inside when the outside temperatures get too warm. Also – I plant several plants 10 days or so apart so they will be ready at different times. Just make sure you harvest {often!} in the same order!

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Rosemary Jameson on 4.14.2014

If you have bought the pots of herbs at the supermarket – parsley for instance – and chopped what you need, keep the pot moist and it will start to shoot again. Gradually get it used to the outside temperature and then plant in your regular herb bed or pot. Two for one!

liz on 4.13.2014

Cindy, the best way to get rid of beetles is to kill the grubs. Two ways involve using beneficial nematodes or milky spores. Google those terms since there is a proper time and method to killing the grubs. If you are planting and see any of the grubs, be sure to kill them by dropping them into a jar of water or squishing them.

While checking out the web, there were a few interesting ways to kill the adult beetle. One suggestion was to check the plants and flick the beetles into a bucket of soapy water. Leave the bucket by the plants and apparently the odor of the dead beetles will deter others. This may be an old tale that continues on. A second option isto plant some geraniums, white seems to be the preferred color, a few feet away from your plants. The beetles are attracted by the flowers, but after eating them, they are paralyzed and fall off. They can recover within 24 hours, but are often eaten by other yard creatures. I think I’m going to get some geraniums this year for my garden!

Also, the trick for not having too many garlic chives is to cut the flowers off as soon as they bloom. Once they go to seed, they are everywhere and their root system does make it hard to get rid of them. But, I have been successful in limiting these plants by getting rid of the blossems.

Cathey M on 4.13.2014

I grow all my herbs in pots every year, the Japanese beetles only go after my basil as well Cindy. I have gotten it under control by doing 2 things. I replace the dirt every year in the pots (these are two huge black plastic witches kettles). Buy replacing the dirt I’m throwing out the hidden grubs and insects hiding all winter. The other is I plant 3 marigolds in the same pot, marigolds are an excellent bug repellent. Do I still get a few leaves chewed on, yes, but minimal damage.

Hopefully all you’ll have to worry about is “what to do with all your basil in the early fall”.

Tulip, that’s odd with your mint. I keep mine in pots and it’s like a weed. Try ornamental grasses, not an herb but they are pretty and they birds will seed them.

Enjoy your gardens all.

Tulip on 4.11.2014

I’m one of those people who planted mint around a bird bath where it would get sun and water and fill in a bare spot — and it all died, so I need a LOT of help. What’s foolproof?

But for Deb B, who was trying to remove thyme leave from the stem, I did learn in India just to strip them off with your thumb and fingernail.