Gardening with Laurie: Herbs can be planted almost anywhere
By Laurie Garretson
Feb. 23, 2012 at midnight
Updated Feb. 22, 2012 at 8:23 p.m.
I really do enjoy gardening. But I really love gardening with herbs. Working in my herb garden is always a pleasure no matter what time of year it is. Herb gardening brings the best of two worlds together: working in the soil and working with wonderfully fragrant plants. What gardener wouldn't love it?
Gardeners often tell me that they don't have room for an herb garden in their landscape. I assure them that all herbs can be planted anywhere. They do not have to have their own specific garden.
Herbs grow nicely in vegetable gardens. In fact there are several herbs that make good companions for different vegetable plants.
And what about planting some herbs among your shrubs and perennials?
Container-grown herbs can be a wonderful addition to patio areas. The different scents from the herbs add a pleasant aroma to the air, and the plants alone are very attractive. Several different sized containers planted with different herbs make a nice display on patios and porches.
I've found that the closer the culinary herb is to the kitchen, the more likely the cook is to use it. Several types of herbs grow well in hanging baskets. Baskets can be hung right outside a kitchen door and make for easy access. It's nice to be able to just step out the back door to pick a couple leaves of mint to go in a glass of iced tea or water. Just this little thing can make a very refreshing difference to the taste.
Now is a good time to start an herb garden or to just plant some in containers. First decide what herbs you want to grow.
What do you want the herbs for? Do you want herbs to use in cooking? Do you want something that's aromatic? Do you want herbs that attract hummingbirds? Will the herbs be growing in full sun, shade or part sun or shade?
These basic questions are good to consider any time you decide to plant.
If you're not sure what to plant, maybe you should just start with a few of the basic herbs to see how they grow and if you enjoy them. From the basics, you can then branch out and try your hand at several different herb varieties.
Parsley is one of the most basic and most commonly grown of all the herb family. Parsley takes a long time to germinate from seed and is most often grown from a transplant. It prefers morning to early afternoon sun, and shade the rest of the day.
Flat leaf Italian parsley is more often grown for its taste. Curly parsley is grown more for ornamental purposes. To harvest, cut only the outer leaves. New growth comes from the center of the plant.
Dill is one herb that likes cooler temperatures. Now is the time to plant it for spring harvesting. Dill likes lots of sun and does get tall, three feet or more. Dill can be started from seed or transplants.
Basil is a very popular herb, especially among cooks. Basil grows well in full sun. There are several varieties to choose from and some even make beautiful decorative plants.
Chives is another culinary herb that's usually grown from transplants, although garlic chives do grow well from seed. Chives can take lots of sun.
Rosemary is not an easy plant to start from seed, so it's best to start from transplants. Rosemary is an herb that can easily fit in the landscape. It grows into a sizable shrub, so give it room. One thing rosemary does not like is wet roots. Plant in sunny or shady areas that drain well.
This is just a brief summary of some of the wonderful plants we call herbs. I hope you will try growing some in your gardens.
Until next time, let's try gardening with nature not against it, and maybe all our weeds will become wildflowers.
Laurie Garretson is a Victoria gardener and nursery owner. Send your gardening questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or in care of the Advocate, P.O. Box 1518, Victoria, TX 77902.