Planting Time Ref.
Using Herbs To Fill In Gaps in Your Garden Herbs are plants that are used as flavoring agents. The common herbs used in cooking are referred to as culinary herbs. Mild or savory herbs impart a delicate flavor to food while the stronger or pungent herbs add zest to foods. These herbs are attractive and varied so their ornamental value is also important.|
The ornamental value of herbs enables them to be used in flower beds, borders, rock gardens, or corner plantings. Some herbs are annuals while others are perennial or come up year after year. You can locate annual herbs in your annual flower garden or vegetable garden. The perennial herbs should be located at the side of the garden where they won’t interfere with next year’s soil preparation.
Generally, you need about one inch of water per week, if not supplied by natural rainfall. A mulch will help conserve soil moisture and reduce weed growth as well. The mints prefer moist soil so they will require more frequent watering.
Annual and biennial herbs can be established by planting the seed directly in the garden or starting seeds indoors for later transplanting to the garden. You can save seed produced by the herb plants for next year’s crop or obtain seed from your local garden center or seed catalog.
To save your own seed, harvest the entire seed head after it has dried on the plant. The seeds should then be allowed to dry in a protected location that is cool and dry. After the seeds are thoroughly dry, thresh the seed from the seed heads and discard the trash. Store in labeled jars in a dark, cool, dry location.
Some herb seeds such as dill, anise, caraway, or coriander can be used for flavorings.
Perennial herbs can be propagated by cuttings or by division. Divide plants every 3 to 4 years in the early spring. The plants should be dug up and cut into several sections. You can also cut 4 to 6 inch sections of the stem and root these by placing the cuttings in moist sand in a shady area. In 4 to 8 weeks, roots should form on these cuttings. Herbs such as sage, winter savory, and thyme can be propagated by cuttings. Chives, lovage, and tarragon can be propagated by division of the roots or crowns.
Leaves of many herbs such as parsley and chives can be harvested for fresh seasonings. On these plants you can gradually remove some of the leaves as you need them. Don’t remove all the foliage at one time. These plants will produce over a long period of time if they are cared for well.
On rosemary and thyme, clip the tops when the plants are in full bloom. Usually, leaves and flowers are harvested together. Basil, fennel, mint, sage, summer savory, sweet marjoram, tarragon, and winter savory are harvested just before the plant starts to bloom.
Chervil and parsley leaves can be cut and dried anytime. Lovage leaves should be harvested early during the first flush of growth.
Many of the herbs we grow today are from the Mediterranean region of the world and thus hot, dry summer weather suits them perfectly. All too often gardeners lose herbs because they don’t have good enough drainage (they really do best in a raised bed) or because they don’t have them in the right exposure. Most require sun. The mints and a few other herbs will grow well in shade or partial shade.
Following is a list and description of some commonly used, adapted herbs for this area:
BASIL – This is one of the easiest of all herbs to grow. It is a rather strong herb, but one that is delightful when chopped fine and mixed with butter. In addition to the standard green forms, there’s a purpleleafed basil and a lemon-scented basil. Basil is quite tender so at the first sign of frost you can expect to lose it.
CAMOMILE – This herb makes one of the best of all herbal teas. There are two varieties. English and German camomile. The dried blossoms of either can be used to make tea. You’ll need to experiment with the amount you want to use, but try pouring boiling water over about one tablespoon for each cup desired and then filter this through a tea strainer after it has steeped for about 10 to 15 minutes.
CATNIP – Is an interesting herb to grow, especially if you have cats. The cats like to roll all over the catnip as well as any surrounding plants, so you’ll probably find it’s best to grow this herb in a hanging basket. Although it is sometimes used to make a hot tea, catnip’s main attribute seems to be known only by cats.
COMFREY – Comfrey is a rank-growing herb with large “donkey-ear” leaves that remind one of green sandpaper. It has been promoted as being high in protein and an excellent foodstuff, but unfortunately, it’s hard to find a suitable way to eat it. It is widely used as a tea made either from the leaves or from the roots.
LEMON BALM – Is a member of the mint family and it can be a very rank growing plant. The leaves have a strong lemon odor and make a delightful tea or they can be used to flavor regular teas. Because of its extreme vigor, it’s probably best to grow this plant in a confined bed area or in containers.
MARJORAM and OREGANO – These herbs are quite similar, although marjoram is considered the milder of the two. They’re both easy to grow and can be used year round. Except in an extreme winter, they look better in the fall and winter than in mid-summer when the growth begins to slow. Oregano is the familiar herb in pizzas and one plant would make a lot of pizzas.
MINTS – There are many mints. Spearmint is one of the most popular and the easiest to grow. Peppermint is more difficult to grow. There’s a pineapple mint, an apple mint, an orange mint (this is so vigorous it soon becomes a weed) and many variations of these basic fragrances. All mints appreciate moisture and do best where they get afternoon shade. A good place to plant spearmint is at the base of a downspout.
ROSEMARY – Rosemary comes in many forms from a bush that grows up to four feet tall to a lowgrowing groundcover variety. The fragrance is rather strong but rosemary is typically used with many meat dishes, especially chicken. One good idea is to use a cut sprig of rosemary to dip into barbecue sauce and then brush it on chicken.
Culinary Herbs to Grow in San Antonio Many of the herbs grown today were originally native to the Mediterranean region of the world, thus they thrive upon the hot, dry summer weather we have in San Antonio. All too often, herbs are lost in the garden because of poor drainage–soggy wet soil does not suit herbs. Other than the mints and only a few other varieties, herbs must be grown in full sun to thrive.
The following is just a short list describing some of the most popular and commonly used herbs in culinary cooking. This selection is also well adapted to our growing conditions in San Antonio.
Basil – An annual, basil is easy to grow from seed, but is readily available in 3″ pots in the spring. It is associated with, but not limited to, Italian dishes. It blends well with tomato-based dishes. It’s aroma is delightful when finely chopped and mixed with butter. Fresh chopped leaves added to a combination of vinegar, crushed garlic and virgin olive oil makes an excellent salad dressing. Basil can be used with pork, roast chicken, scrambled eggs, eggplant and squash dishes. Several green basil varieties are available, including Sweet Green Basil–most commonly used in cooking), Lemon Basil, Holy Basil, Thai Basil and Spicy Globe. There is also a lovely Purple Leaf Basil (a popular choice for use in basil vinegars) that adds a stunning accent to the garden.
Chives – Smallest member of the onion family, these delicate greens are easily grown from seed or transplants. You may use any way that you would use onions. Chives blend well with butter, sour cream, cream cheese, cottage cheese, and are added to sauces and gravies. Both garlic chives and onion chives are available.
Coriander – One of our favorites, this bright green, leafy herb is commonly known around town as “Cilantro.” It is a mainstay ingredient in Mexican dishes, particularly salsa. The leaves have a very strong “clean” flavor, but use only younger leaves, as the older growth can be too strong. The seeds have a flavor similar to orange and are used in pastries, sausage, cooked fruit, and are an important ingredient in pickling spice and curry powder. Easily grown from seed, Coriander (or Chinese Parsley) can be sown every few weeks, so that the gardener has a constant harvest during the warmer months of the year.
Dill – Both the delicate leaves and the seeds can be used. Use in pickling, add to cottage or cream cheese, most vegetables, fish and vinegar based salad dressings and marinades. Dill thrives in the cooler temps of early spring and early autumn, but it germinates easily from seed. The green and yellow striped caterpillars love dill and parsley. The caterpillars turn into our beloved Swallowtail butterfly, so plant enough to share.
Marjoram – Several varieties are available such as Sweet Marjoram, Winter Marjoram, Pot Marjoram and Creeping Golden Marjoram. All forms can be used in cooking. Marjoram blends well with oregano and sage. Add to roast pork, chicken, stews, stuffing, gravies, and spaghetti sauces. Marjoram is often confused with oregano, but has a more delicate, sweet flavor. It is best grown from transplants or cuttings. Except in an extreme winter, both marjoram and oregano look better in the fall and winter than in mid-summer when the growth begins to slow. Marjoram makes an attractive container plant.
Oregano – The name “oregano” is given to several unrelated plants that share the same or similar flavor. True Italian Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is the champion flavoring in Italian dishes, particularly spaghetti sauce. It is also used in Mexican dishes. It can be used to season all meats, stuffing, stews, soups and pizza. Greek Oregano renders a stronger flavor, but is more widely available in nurseries. Both are hardy plants, and Greek Oregano is useful as a landscape plant in that it can provide a green, dense ground cover in difficult soils. When it becomes too high, just like Asiatic Jasmine, one only has to mow it to keep it in control. Mexican Oregano is a small attractive landscape shrub with purple flowers. The leaves hold a pleasant aroma that is especially good in Mexican rice. All oregano leaves are best used dried and crushed.
Parsley – Without a doubt, parsley is the most used and least eaten herb in the world. Millions of pounds are used to garnish dishes, then thrown away! Parsley is loaded with vitamins and minerals, and can easily be added to any dish, just as any of the other popular herbs. Both flat leaved parsley, called Italian Parsley, and the curled variety, called French Parsley, are readily available in nurseries. Some say that Italian Parsley actually has a better flavor. Parsley is a biennial, producing leaves the first year and flowers the next. It has a long, main taproot, so prepare garden soil to a depth of 8″ to 10″. Parsley thrives in cooler temps, so to help it survive our hot summers, plant it so that it gets morning sun and afternoon shade.
Rosemary – Rosemary is a hearty, tough plant that thrives in San Antonio! It is one of the oldest herbs known to man, and doubles not only as a delicious culinary herb, but is a handsome landscape plant as well. Many varieties are available. It is available in two forms: an upright bush that grows to 4′ to 5′ tall, and a prostrate shrub that some gardeners use as groundcover. The fragrance is rather strong, but rosemary is typically used with many meat dishes, especially chicken and pork.
Sage – This is another herb that doubles as a durable landscape plant in the San Antonio area. Very drought resistant, it can be killed easily by over watering. Sage is best started from transplants or cuttings. There are many varieties of sage available including Garden Sage, Golden Sage, Blue Sage, Pineapple Sage, Tri-color Sage, and Clary Sage. All can be used in cooking. Sage leaves should always be dried before using. Sage is a must in stuffing for poultry. It blends well with pork, chicken, egg and cheese dishes.
Thyme – With over 400 species available, this herb is another valuable plant to use in beds, rock gardens and as a landscape accent. Varieties available locally include Common Thyme, Woolly Thyme, Mother-of-Thyme, Lemon Thyme, English Thyme, Silver Thyme, and Golden Thyme. Common Thyme is usually the variety used in culinary dishes. It has a warm, aromatic scent and flavor, and blends well with beef, poultry, fish, soups and vegetable dishes. As with rosemary, thyme is also a durable landscape plant and will perish in soggy wet soil. It requires full sun to thrive. Thyme, along with sage, rosemary, marjoram, and oregano, should be considered the basics of every herb garden.
In the preparation of teas, many more herbs are available to us. The mint family is one of the largest, hardiest and easiest to grow. Varieties such as Peppermint, Spearmint, Pineapple Mint, Orange Mint, Apple Mint, etc. are available. Other herbs famous for creating delicious, soothing teas are Lemon Balm, Lemon Grass, and Chamomile.
As you can see, herbs are an important part of the local culture and a really interesting alternative to planting regular ornamental plants. For some really neat examples of herb gardening ideas, come out and see for yourself along the Texas Trail at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo!
Article contributed by Texas Cooperative Extension staff in Bexar County. Call 210/467-6575 for more information.
Nature's Herb Farm lists most herbs; great photos. SAT area. Mostly plant wholesaler. Phone: (210) 688-9421. email: email@example.com. 7193 Old Talley Road Lot #7 SAT 78253, Hours: 9am – 4pm Monday – Saturday
Raised bed herb gardens [Texas Gardener's Seeds] Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. Brought to the dinner table, they are aroma and flavor enhancers and add decorative beauty. They will grow in small containers on a porch or window sill or in large containers in patios or formal gardens. They are fairly adaptive to different soil conditions, like to keep their feet on the dry side, and require little maintenance on the part of the gardener.
Rule of Thumb: 1/3 soil; 1/3 composted mulch; 1/3 contractors or playground sand. (I'll talk about soil amendments in another segment.) If you are planting herbs that like their feet a little drier, lessen the soil and compost and increase the sand to 1/4, 1/4 & 1/2. (Mother nature goes with "approximates.”)
Caraway Spice: Caraway Growing In The Garden Growing caraway seeds requires some patience, as the caraway plant is a biennial and doesn’t do more than grow vegetatively in the first season. The caraway plant resembles a carrot and sets seed in its second year.
The caraway plant (Carum carvi) is an herbaceous biennial that will mature to 30 inches tall. The plant is only about 8 inches tall in the first season with carrot-like foliage and a long taproot. By the second year, the plant will triple in size and the foliage becomes more feathery with stout stems. Tiny white flowers appear on the umbrels, which begin in May and last until the end of summer. The spent flowers yield small hard brown seeds– the caraway spice that is an important part of many regional cuisines.
Caraway spice is an under-used and infrequently grown plant in most herb gardens. It is native to Europe and Western Asia where it thrives in full sun and well drained soil with pH ranges of 6.5 to 7.0. It isn’t a good plant for hot, humid climates and prefers cool temperate zones. Sow the seeds 1/2-inch deep in fall or spring.
Once seed germinates, thin the caraway plant to 8 to 12 inches apart. In colder climates, mulch the roots of the plant heavily with straw or organic mulch, which will add nutrients to the soil.
Germination is slow and sporadic when growing caraway seeds, and the herb may be intercropped to help prevent weeds and manage soil conditions.
Very little cultivation is required in caraway growing, but adequate moisture is an important component in the first year. The foliage of caraway plants need to be kept dry during irrigation, so a drip hose is an excellent way to keep the soil moisture level up.
Cut the plant back in the fall as it will die back and re-sprout in spring. Caraway has few pests or disease problems. Plant a second crop a year after the first for consistent production.
Caraway is used as a spice in breads, especially rye bread. It is also found in European cuisine. For example, it is used in caraway seed cake, and it is frequently added to sauerkraut.
New Delhi: Caraway seeds also known as Shahjeera or Siya jeera is widely used for flavouring bread, biscuits, cakes and cheese. Other than a great spice, caraway seeds can do wonders to your health.
How To Grow Catnip or Catmint [Nepeta cataria] Catnip and Catmint are the common names for Nepeta cataria, a hardy perennial herb of the Mint Family, with pungent fragrance which is highly attractive and exciting to cats.
Catnip grows to a height of three or four feet, and features downy, light green foliage with small lavender flowers that grow on spikes up to five inches long.
Catnips grow well in almost any soil, but does best in a moderately rich loam that is well-draining. It's aroma increases when grown in sandy soil or via the hydroponic method. It will grow acceptably in either sun or shade.
Catnip is easily propagated by seed, stem cuttings, or rootball division.
Seed should be sown in rows late in fall or early in the spring and lightly covered.
When sown in the fall, a denser crop is ususally achieved. When plants reach five inches tall, thin so that they stand 12 to 18 inches apart.
Catnip can also be started early indoors and transplanted outside after the last chance of frost.
Cats aren't the only creatures that benefit from Catnip as the leaves may be candied to enjoy as a dessert and it's oil is used to relieve the symptoms of headaches and nervousness.
Mentha pulegium, commonly pennyroyal, or pennyrile, also called squaw mint, mosquito plant and pudding grass, is a species of flowering plant in the family Lamiaceae native to Europe, North Africa, and the Middle East. Wikipedia
Scientific name: Mentha pulegium
Natural Insect Repellent-Pennyroyal Pennyroyal is a perennial herb that is related to the mint family. Its low growing nature and colorful blooms, which can range from reddish purple to lilac, makes this plant a favorite for the herb garden and around the home. But since it is related to the mint family, it can quickly become invasive. To solve this, either control growth through a tough border that the pennyroyal cannot grow through or plant in a container.
Pennyroyal comes in two different varieties that with a quick glance cannot be distinguished. The European variety has four stamens, which is the pollen producing reproductive organ. The American variety only has two stamens and a square stem.
Both types can be grown inside and out. The European pennyroyal has more of a trailing growth habit, which is very conducive to a vertical garden or hanging basket. American pennyroyal works well in container gardens mixed with other herbs and flowers.
Regardless of the variety that you choose, you can start pennyroyal in three ways. The first way is through seeds. These can be purchased from seed catalogues and/or harvested from a friend’s plants. If you purchase your seeds and do not plan to plant immediately, make sure to store them in a cool place away from sunlight.
If, on the other hand, you plan to plant as soon as they arrive, then you will need to prepare to gather your materials. A good all-purpose soil and a flat or container will get you started. The day the seeds arrive, sterilize your container by scrubbing it with an old brush to remove any dirt or hard water stains. Once that is done, place in a bucket of water with a capful of bleach added. Let soak it for 5 to 10 minutes and then rinse. Allow to completely dry out in the sun. Not only will the sun speed up the drying process, it will also sterilize the container beyond what the bleach was able to do.
If using a pot, place a paper coffee filter in the bottom of the container. This will act as drainage material. If you are using a flat, skip the step above.
Once this is done, place your potting soil in the container/flat and moisten with water. Continue to moisten until moisture comes out of the bottom. Now you are ready to plant your seeds, which can simply be sprinkled on the surface of the soil and lightly covered with ¼ inch of soil. Mist with chamomile tea that has cooled. This simple step will prevent damping off, which a fatal fungal disease that seedlings get from being too wet.
At this point, you can cover with clear plastic wrap or leave uncovered. Place in a location that does not receive indirect or no sunlight. Believe it or not, not all seeds require sunlight to germinate. But they do require an evenly moist environment that is warm, so do not be afraid to place your seeds away from the light.
Once you begin to see little green dots appear, remove the plastic wrap if it was used and move to the light. Continue to monitor the soil moisture and water as needed.
Growing Pennyroyal: How To Grow Pennyroyal Herb Pennyroyal plant is a perennial herb that was once widely used but is not as common today. It has applications as an herbal remedy, culinary uses and as a decorative touch. Growing pennyroyal in the herb or perennial garden will add color with its reddish purple to lilac blooms. There are two plants called pennyroyal.
Pennyroyal can be propagated from seed, cuttings or spring division. The seed needs light to germinate but grows quickly once it sprouts. Plant them in prepared seed beds outside after all danger of frost. Sow the seed on the surface of the soil and mist the bed to moisten it. Keep it moist and germination should occur in two weeks.
Pennyroyal is an easy to grow herb. European pennyroyal makes a wonderful trailing plant when grown in a hanging basket or at the edges of mixed color containers. American pennyroyal can be grown indoors in troughs or outside in the kitchen garden.
Pinch the terminal ends of the herb to stimulate bushiness and a more compact growing shape. Grow pennyroyal as a ground cover in sunny areas with junky soil. The plant will persist even in unfavorable conditions and can be helpful in vegetation-free zones as an erosion control.
Epazoste, WormseedDysphania ambrosioides, formerly Chenopodium ambrosioides, known as wormseed, Jesuit's tea, Mexican-tea, payqu (paico), epazote, or herba sancti Mariæ, is an annual or short-lived perennial herb native to Central America, South America, and southern Mexico. Wikipedia
Grow in full sun for best results, in a warm spot in the garden. Follow the How to Grow Epazote from seeds and feel free to eat beans. Sow indoors in April/May and transplant or sow direct outdoors once soil warms up in early June. Optimal temperature for germination: 21°C (70°F).
FeverfewFeverfew Growing Guide Soil: Any sunny site with good drainage. Position: Full sun to partial afternoon shade.
Most individual plants die in their second or third summer, after blooming heavily.
Companions: Mint. Also grown with beds of other tea plants where insects are not wanted. Feverfew repels insects of all nature, so it is a good plant to grow near entryways.
Start seeds indoors in containers in late winter, and set out seedlings in spring. You can also work with purchased seedlings, or lift and move volunteer seedlings found in the garden. Set plants at least 12 inches (30 cm) apart in all directions. They are easily recognized by their lacy leaves.
Frequent cutting of blossoms helps feverfew stay in bloom longer. Depending on climate, feverfew is a biennial or short-lived perennial. When seeds are started early, it will bloom its first year.
Feverfew can reseed too well in hospitable spaces, so keep an eye on it for invasive tendencies.
Sow indoors Feb. 1 to Apr. 1. Sow outdoors Mar. 1 to Apr. 15. Harvest Apr. 15 to June 1.
YarrowFive Reasons to Grow Yarrow Yarrow is a flowering herb with many uses medicinally and in the permaculture garden. Here are 5 reasons why you will benefit from growing yarrow.
Common yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is native to the dry, disturbed soils of prairies, meadows, and the edges of forest in the northern hemisphere. This perennial grows best in hardiness zones 3-9. Like many other prairie plants, its deep, fibrous roots enjoy absorbing water in my rain garden. It will grow to 36-inches high and produce white flowers. Other varieties produce pink, yellow, red, or orange flowers.
Even if you don’t grow yarrow in your garden, it is a fun herb to forage for. The fern-like foliage of yarrow can be spotted in sunny, cleared areas.
Here are five reasons why I enjoy growing yarrow in my garden.
1. Yarrow Accumulates Nutrients (Fertilizer)
Yarrow is a nutrient accumulator. According to Edible Forest Gardens, its deep roots mine the subsoil for potassium, phosphorus, and copper, making yarrow a nutrient-rich mulch.
Fruit trees: Because of its ability to fertilize, yarrow is often grown in fruit tree guilds to enhance fruit production.
Mulch & Compost: Yarrow can also be chopped and used as mulch around the garden, or added to the compost bin to boost its nutrient content.
In a food forest, where edible perennials like tall nut trees have recently been planted, it will be important to protect the soil until the trees have matured. A mixed cover crop can be used in this less-visited area to build soil, mine minerals, break up compacted soil, and attract beneficial insects.
In Gaia’s Garden, Toby Hemenway suggests a mixture of the following, which would only need mowed once or twice per year:
For more about food forests, see Benefits of the Edible Forest Garden.
Would you like to learn more about using herbs like yarrow to improve the biodiversity of your garden, reduce maintenance, and increase yield?
You’ll find loads of information just like this in my book, The Suburban Micro-Farm.
Clean up Lead Contamination
Yarrow mines copper from the subsoil which is an important micronutrient for plant growth and an essential amendment for acidic soils. According to Gaia’s Garden, however, plants that mine for copper can also concentrate lead if it is present in the soil, “such as along the foundation of old houses where lead-based paint may have weathered”. A simple and inexpensive soil test can inform you about contaminated soil.
This is why yarrow and many other accumulators of copper and zinc are used to clean up lead-contaminated sites: The lead concentrates in the plants, which are dug up at the end of each season (roots and all) and disposed of. It may take more than one season to remove all of the lead, and regular soil tests are important. Because the leaves may be toxic in lead-contaminated sites, it would be important to NOT use these plants for mulching, medicinal, edible, or craft purposes.
2. Yarrow Attracts Beneficial Insects & Pollinators
Yarrow, with its white, yellow, or pink flowers, attracts many types of pollinators in search of nectar while it blooms summer through early fall. A wealth of beneficial insects such as lacewings, parasitoid wasps, ground beetles, spiders, ladybugs, and hoverflies find habitat for egg-laying or refuge for overwintering in the fern-like foliage. According to Carrots Love Tomatoes, yarrow emits a pungent odor that repels pests, and is therefore a boon to grow near pest-prone gardens.
3. Yarrow makes a good Ground Cover
If left to its own devices, yarrow will grow to about 3-feet high, producing flowers throughout the summer. However, yarrow can be grown as a running ground cover that can handle light foot traffic if it is mowed a few times a year (according to Edible Forest Gardens). Yarrow may not flower if it has been cut, but the beneficial insects will still be able to utilize the foliage for refuge.
4. Yarrow has Medicinal Uses
The flower and the upper portions of leaf and stem have many medicinal uses, making yarrow an important herb to have in your medicinal garden.
A yarrow tea can help to reduce a fever and a yarrow poultice can calm the inflammation and soreness of a bruise.
Yarrow has many first aid uses such as stopping bleeding, or as a general first aid remedy for calming and healing rashes, bug bites, bee stings, cuts, and burns.
According to Homegrown Herbs, the yellow flowers should not be taken internally, such as in teas, tinctures, elixirs, syrup, or honey. Only white or pink flower yarrows should be used for internal medicine. Also be aware that yarrow should not be taken internally by pregnant women.
5. Yarrow is Edible & Crafty
Individual flowers are edible, and Homegrown Herbs suggests using them for a confetti effect in cookie batter.
The dried cut flowers also make beautiful wreaths and dried bouquets.
Useful or not, yarrow is a joy to have in the garden!
Yarrow Care – Growing Yarrow Herb In Your Garden While often sold as a flowering perennial, yarrow plant (Achillea millefolium) is actually an herb. Whether you decide to grow yarrow in your flower beds or in your herb garden, it’s still a lovely addition to your yard. Yarrow care is so easy that the plant is virtually care-free. Let’s take a look at how to plant yarrow and also tips for how to grow yarrow.
How to Plant Yarrow
Yarrow is most often propagated by division, so chances are you’ll buy your yarrow as a plant. Space your plants 12 to 24 inches apart if you’re planting more than one yarrow plant.
You can also start your yarrow herb from seed. Start seeds indoors about six to eight weeks before your last frost date. Sow the seeds in moist, normal potting soil. The seeds should just barely be covered by the potting soil. Place the pot with the yarrow seeds in a sunny and warm location.
The seeds should germinate in 14 to 21 days, depending on the conditions. You can speed up the germination by covering the top of the pot with plastic wrap to keep in moisture and heat. Remove the plastic wrap once the seeds have sprouted.
Regardless of whether your yarrow plants are grown from seed or bought as full plants, you will want to plant them in full sun. They thrive in a wide variety of soils but do best in well drained soil. Yarrow plant will even grow in very poor dry soils with low fertility soil.
Some caution should be taken when growing yarrow, as in the right conditions, it can become invasive and will then be in need of control.
How to Grow Yarrow
Once you have planted your yarrow, it needs little care. It doesn’t need to be fertilized and only needs to be watered during times of severe drought.
While yarrow needs little care, it is susceptible to a few diseases and pests. Most commonly, plants will be affected by either botrytis mold or powdery mildew. These will both appear as a white powdery covering on the leaves. Both can be treated with a fungicide. Yarrow plants are also occasionally affected by spittlebugs.
YARROW: HOW TO PLANT, GROW, AND CARE FOR YARROW Yarrow is a hardy perennial with showy flower heads composed of many tiny, tightly-packed flowers. Their fern-like leaves are often aromatic. Yarrows are easy to care for and versatile: they are good for borders, rock gardens, or wildflower meadows. These flowers are excellent for cutting or drying.
Use a garden fork or tiller to loosen the soil in your garden to about 12 to 15 inches deep, then mix in a 2– to 4–inch layer of compost.
Plant in the spring in well-drained, average to poor soil. Yarrows thrive in hot, dry conditions; they will not tolerate wet soil. If you grow yarrows in rich soil, the plants may require stalking because the rich soil encourages growth.
Space the plants 1 to 2 feet apart. They are quick to establish and spread, though some species, like Achillea millefolium, are invasive, so be careful when choosing your plants. Most kinds grow to be about 2 to 4 feet tall.
Remember to add a thin layer of compost, followed by a 2–inch layer of mulch around your plants each spring.
If you receive less than 1 inch of rain a week in the summer, remember to water your plants regularly.
Divide yarrow plants every 3 to 5 years. Lift the clumps of flowers in early spring or fall and remove any dead stems from the center of the clump. You can replant the divisions in well-prepared soil.
If you plant yarrows from tip cuttings, plant them in spring or early summer.
Coronation Gold, for its beautiful mustard-yellow flowers and silvery gray leaves
Fanal (“The Beacon”), for its rich red flowers with yellow centers
Cerise Queen, to add some bright pink color to your garden
WIT & WISDOM
Native Americans used ground yarrow infused in water as a wash to treat sunburns. It is also sometimes used as a remedy for anxiety and stress.
Yarrow is thought to symbolize everlasting love.
Chicory [Cichorium intybus]Chicory Common chicory, Cichorium intybus, is a somewhat woody, perennial herbaceous plant of the dandelion family Asteraceae, usually with bright blue flowers, rarely white or pink. Many varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, chicons (blanched buds), or roots (var. sativum), which are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive. It is also grown as a forage crop for livestock. It lives as a wild plant on roadsides in its native Europe, and is now common in North America, China, and Australia, where it has become widely naturalized. "Chicory" is also the common name in the United States for curly endive (Cichorium endivia); these two closely related species are often confused.
Common chicory is also known as blue daisy, blue dandelion, blue sailors, blue weed, bunk, coffeeweed, cornflower, hendibeh, horseweed, ragged sailors, succory, wild bachelor's buttons, and wild endive.
Wild chicory leaves usually have a bitter taste. Their bitterness is appreciated in certain cuisines, such as in the Ligurian and Apulian regions of Italy and also in southern part of India along with coffee, in Catalonia, Greece, Turkey, Syria, Lebanon and Palestine.
In Ligurian cuisine, wild chicory leaves are an ingredient of preboggion and in Greek cuisine of horta; in the Apulian region, wild chicory leaves are combined with fava bean puree in the traditional local dish fave e cicorie selvatiche. in Albania, the leaves are used as a spinach substitute, mainly served simmered and marinated in olive oil, or as ingredient for fillings of byrek.
By cooking and discarding the water, the bitterness is reduced, after which the chicory leaves may be sautéed with garlic, anchovies, and other ingredients. In this form, the resulting greens might be combined with pasta or accompany meat dishes.
The chicory plant is one of the earliest cited in recorded literature. Horace mentions it in reference to his own diet, which he describes as very simple: "Me pascunt olivae, me cichorea, me malvae" ("As for me, olives, endives, and mallows provide sustenance").
In 1766, Frederick the Great banned the importation of coffee into Prussia leading to the development of a coffee-substitute by Brunswick innkeeper Christian Gottlieb Förster (died 1801), who gained a concession in 1769/70 to manufacture it in Brunswick and Berlin. By 1795 there were 22 to 24 factories of this type in Brunswick. Lord Monboddo describes the plant in 1779 as the "chicoree", which the French cultivated as a pot herb.
In Napoleonic Era France, chicory frequently appeared as either an adulterant in coffee, or as a coffee substitute.
Chicory was also adopted as a coffee substitute by Confederate soldiers during the American Civil War, and has become common in the United States. It was also used in the United Kingdom during the Second World War, where Camp Coffee, a coffee and chicory essence, has been on sale since 1885.
The cultivated chicory plant has a history reaching back to ancient Egyptian time. Medieval monks raised the plants and when coffee was introduced to Europe, the Dutch thought that chicory made a lively addition to the bean drink.
In the United States chicory root has long been used as a substitute for coffee in prisons. By the 1840s, the port of New Orleans was the second largest importer of coffee (after New York). Louisianans began to add chicory root to their coffee when Union naval blockades during the American Civil War cut off the port of New Orleans, thereby creating a long-standing tradition.
A common meal in Rome, puntarelle, is made with chicory sprouts.
The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reports that Chicory is a native plant of western Asia, North Africa and Europe.
Cichorium intybus has been declared an invasive species in several states in the USA.
Information On How To Grow Chicory Chicory plant (Cichorium intybus) is an herbaceous biennial that is not native to the United States but has made itself at home. The plant can be found growing wild in many areas of the U.S. and is used both for its leaves and its roots. Chicory herb plants are easy to grow in the garden as a cool season crop. Seeds and transplants are the primary means of growing chicory.
There are two types of chicory plant. Whitloof is grown for the large root, which is used to make a coffee supplement. It can also be forced to use the tender white leaves called Belgian endive. Radicchio is grown for the leaves, which may be in a tight head or a loosely packed bunch. Radicchio is best harvested very young before it turns bitter.
Seeds can be started indoors five to six weeks before they are moved outdoors.
In warm climates, sowing outdoors or transplanting occurs September through March.
Planting chicory in cooler climates should be done three to four weeks before the danger of frost has passed.
Sow chicory seeds 6 to 10 inches apart in rows that are 2 to 3 feet apart. You can always thin the plants if they crowd each other but close planting discourages weeds.
The seeds are planted ¼ inch deep and thinning is done when the plants have three to four true leaves.
You can also sow a crop for fall harvest if you choose a variety that has an early maturation date. Planting chicory seed 75 to 85 days before anticipated harvest will ensure a late crop.
Chicory herb plants that are to be forced for blanched leaves will need to have the roots dug up before the first frost. Cut the leaves to 1 inch and store the roots for three to seven weeks in the refrigerator before forcing. Plant the roots individually after chilling to force the leaves to grow in a tight, blanched head.
How to Grow Chicory
Learning how to grow chicory is similar to learning how to grow most lettuces or greens. The cultivation is very similar. Chicory requires well drained soil with plenty of organic matter.
It performs best when temperatures are below 75 degrees F. (24 C.).
Extended care of the chicory crop requires vigilant weeding and a mulch to prevent moisture loss and further weed growth. Chicory plant requires 1 to 2 inches of water per week or enough to keep the soil evenly moist and reduce the chance of drought stress.
The herb is fertilized with ¼-cup of nitrogen based fertilizer such as a 21-0-0 per 10 feet of row. This is applied approximately 4 weeks after transplant or once the plants have been thinned.
Herb to Know: Chicory Hardy perennial. Chicory, also known as succory, blue-sailors and ragged-sailors, is a hardy perennial native to Eurasia but was transplanted and now grows naturally throughout North America, south to Florida and west to California. It is common along roadsides and in other wild, untamed areas, especially in limestone soils. All species in the genus Cichorium are native to Eurasia. The words chicory, succory, Cichorium and intybus are all derived from Greek or Latin names for the herb.
Chicory resembles dandelion in its deep taproot and rosette of toothed basal leaves; unlike dandelion, it puts up a stiff, hairy flower stalk clothed sparsely with small, clasping leaves. Stalks may grow 2 to 5 feet tall and branch several times. Stalkless flower heads 1 1/2 inches wide form singly or in twos or threes in the axils of the stem leaves in midsummer. They are clear blue (or, rarely, pink or white) and consist of 16 to 20 strap-like, toothed ray flowers.
Blossoms are primarily bee-pollinated and open early in the morning and close about five hours later.
Linnaeus, observing this tendency, planted chicory in his floral clock in Uppsala, Sweden. (There, the flowers opened at 5 a.m. and closed at 10 a.m.) Flowers may stay open longer on cloudy days. The herbalist Mrs. C.F. Leyel has observed that “the lovely blue color of the petals is changed into a brilliant red by the acid of ants, if placed on an ant-hill.” The plant tops make a dyestuff that produces a variety of colorfast yellows and greens, depending on the mordant used. In the language of flowers, chicory symbolizes frugality.
The second-century physician Galen called chicory a “friend of the liver,” and contemporary research has shown that it can increase the flow of bile, which could be helpful in treating gallstones. Laboratory research also has shown root extracts to be antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and slightly sedative. They also slow and weaken the pulse and lower blood sugar. Leaf extracts have similar, though weaker, effects.
Hyssop herbHerb to Know: Hyssop Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) is a beautiful, well-behaved, easy-to-grow member of the mint family that deserves a place in any herb garden.
Older plants form neat, rounded bushes 1 to 3 feet high; younger plants are looser in form. The stiff, erect, typically square stems bear opposite, linear, medium green leaves 1 to 1 1/2 inches long. Tufts of smaller leaves are borne in the leaf axils.
Plants are evergreen where winters are mild. Clusters of six to fifteen violet-blue, pink, or white flowers in the upper leaf axils form dense spikes. The two-lipped, tubular corolla is 1/2 inch long and has four protruding stamens that match it in color. The calyx is tubular with five teeth. Plants bloom from summer to fall.
Native to southern Europe and Eurasia, hyssop came to North America with the early European colonists; the herb is listed among the seeds John Winthrop, Jr., brought to the New World in 1631. Over the years, it has escaped from gardens and is now naturalized at roadsides and in waste places here and there in North America from Quebec to Montana south to North Carolina. It is hardy in zones 3 to 10.
People perceive the odor of hyssop differently. It has been described variously as sweet, not sweet, skunky but not unpleasant, clean and aromatic with a hint of turpentine, medicinal, and minty/camphorous. Some European women are said to sniff hyssop flowers pressed in their psalm books to help them stay awake during church services.
In the “language of flowers”, hyssop symbolizes cleanliness and sacrifice, and it has been used since ancient times for ritual cleaning of holy places. (The hyssop referred to in the Bible, however, was most likely some other plant.)
Hyssop is a bee plant par excellence. Legend has it that beekeepers rubbed their hives with hyssop and other herbs to encourage bees to stay. Hyssop also attracts hummingbirds and butterflies; claims that it keeps cabbage butterflies away from crops or repels flea beetles have not been substantiated.
The names hyssop and Hyssopus come from a Semitic word for a different herb. Officinalis means “from the storeroom”, that is, the druggist’s storeroom. Although H. officinalis has no alternate common names, several other plant genera have members that bear the common name hyssop. Among these are Agastache (anise and giant hyssops), Bacopa (water hyssop), Gratiola (hedge hyssop), and Verbena (wild hyssop).
In Herbs and the Earth (1935), Henry Beston says of hyssop, “The garden has no more quietly dependable and satisfactory border plant.” His is no idle claim. Hyssop is versatile. It can be grown as a hedge or as a specimen plant. Plant it against a wall or as edging with rue in front, vervain (Verbena officinalis) behind. Contrasting foliage color, shape, and texture make purple sage a superb companion, or try gray, pebbly-leaved catmint, frosty lavender, and glossy-leaved rosemary. The gray filigree of Roman wormwood also admirably sets off the blue flowers and smooth green leaves of hyssop. Tall, wispy-leaved herbs such as dill, fennel, and anise form another kind of contrast. Hyssop is also useful for concealing the bare legs of pink- or white-flowered roses.
Hyssop is easily grown from seeds sown in March or April, or in the fall for germination the following spring. Sow the seeds 1/4 inch deep indoors or out. Germination time is 7 to 10 days. Propagate named cultivars vegetatively.
Divide established plants in spring or fall, or take cuttings in spring and root them indoors or in the shade. Hyssop may self-seed. You can move the volunteer seedlings to another spot in the garden or pot them up. Beston notes that hyssop “can be transplanted as casually as one moves a chair.”
Transplant seedlings or rooted cuttings to 1 foot apart for a hedge, 18 inches apart in the garden, and water them until they are established. But don’t overwater.
Like other Mediterranean herbs, hyssop likes a warm position and light, well-drained alkaline soil. It will tolerate soil as alkaline as pH 8. Full sun is best, but light shade will do. Plants grown in shade will be lankier. Hyssop will flower the first year from seed.
It is a good subject for pots or or a window box.
Hyssop needs no winter covering. Prune it hard in spring to encourage new growth. Pinching out the tips of the stems will promote bushier plants; however, heavy shearing of hedges will prevent flowering.
How To Grow Hyssop [Hyssopus officinalis] Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) Labiatae, is a compact, bushy perennial usually grown in herb gardens, but is great in flower gardens in masses, as a hedge or border, and in pots. It is native to Europe and Asia, naturalized throughout North America.
Hyssop blooms in late summer through early autumn with flower spikes of deep blue, red, pink or white. It is a member of the mint family and has a very aromatic somewhat medicinal smell. When the leaves are crushed they have a mint like odor. Because of its medicinal smell Hyssop has a history as a cleansing herb.
In the seventh century it was scattered on floors of sick rooms. It was also used to improve the smell of kitchens. Both the leaves and flowers can be used. The leaves can be finely chopped and used in cooking to flavor salads, soups, liqueurs and stews. It cuts down on the fattiness in some dishes. Use sparingly because of its unusual flavor. The leaves and flowers can be dried for teas. Oil from the plant is used in perfumes.
Hyssop can be started in containers, indoors or outdoors. If you plant in a container make sure the pot is deep enough to accommodate a large root system. Sow seeds indoors or directly in the garden in early spring. Hyssop prefers full sun to partial shade with a well drained, even dry, soil. You can amend soil with organic matter. Sow seeds just beneath the surface, approximately ¼-inch deep.
Germination generally takes between 14 and 21 days, but can take as long as a month, so be patient. Transplant if sown indoors after all threat of frost has passed. Space between 6 inches and 12 inches apart. You can also sow the seeds outdoors in late fall for spring germination.
Hyssop usually grows to a height of 24 to 36 inches
Borage<Borage Borage is a warm weather annual herb that’s a lovely fuzzy leafy addition to your textural garden. It’s great in containers, too. Full sun is best, and the more sunlight it gets the more upright and attractive it will stay, normally getting about a foot and a half tall and equally as wide. It does easily reseed each spring, so you may need to look for and remove any errant seedlings to keep it where it belongs. Its young leaves add a cucumber flavor to salads. But one great reason to plant borage is the lovely light purple, star-shaped flowers, which are not only beautiful, but also attract bees to the garden, which will be important in pollinating other plants in your garden. Deer resistant.
Garlic ChivesGarlic Chives Garlic chives really do deserve an exalted place in our gardens. These perennials will stick around with you for years, where you can snip the flat leaves to flavor your recipes. Or, just let them accent flowering perennials with their foliage.
In fall, garlic chive flowers bring on the bees, butterflies, and tiny pollinators! You can eat the flowers, too, or dry for cut flower arrangements.
As with most bulbs, well-drained soil is best, but garlic chives can take clay soils. Adding compost or other well-decomposed organic matter is also good.
Plant in part shade to sun, though not blasting sun all day. They are happy with just morning or afternoon sun for a few hours.
They tolerate drought and freeze just fine.
Divide in fall or spring to spread around or share with friends.
Bronze FennelBronze Fennel Foeniculum vulgare This is a beautiful perennial herb that adds texture, color, and flavor to your garden. Even if you don’t like to cook with it, it’s a very attractive plant and a great butterfly host plant for many butterflies, including the swallowtails.
This herb gets about 3 feet tall (possibly taller, and you can cut it back) and about 18-24? wide. You don’t have to relegate it to an herb bed. Its color and texture make a beautiful accent in your perennial beds.
Give it full sun in well-drained soil. If it gets too much water or the soil is not draining properly, it is prone to rot.
CilantroCilantro Cilantro’s an easy herb to grow from seed or transplants. This cool-weather annual is a perfect replacement for summer’s basil.
Fall is the perfect time to plant it from seeds or transplants. Plant seeds in October to take over when basil dies back in the first frost. From seed, it comes up really fast on our cool days and nights. Give newly planted seeds enough water to stay moist until they germinate and grow a bit; then not much water is needed. Plant seeds at two-week intervals to carry them on as long as possible. If temperatures drop below 20°, protect them with row cover.
Its feathery leaves on plants about 12-24? can be included in your perennial beds or in the vegetable garden. Harvest leaves by simply cutting what you need, but not all the way to the ground. The plant will continue to grow and produce new leaves for your next harvest. Be sure to have several plants so that you’ll have plenty of cilantro all season long. Above 85° or so, cilantro starts to bolt and flower. Keep the flowers around for beneficial insects that will pollinate your summer crops. When the seed heads brown up, harvest them as coriander for the kitchen. Or, completely dry in the house and store in a cool area to plant again next fall.
Full sunlight is fine, but so is a bit of shade, and cilantro isn’t too picky about soil.
Lemon BalmHow to Grow Lemon Balm Lemon balm’s Latin name is taken from the Greek word for bee (Melissa), and from the ancient belief that a swarm of honeybees could be attracted to an empty hive simply by placing sprigs of the plant inside. Follow these How to Grow Lemon Balm from seeds instructions and grow some wonderful “Lemony” flavour. Grow in container or contained area of the garden as this plant spreads. Latin
Season & Zone
Start indoors 6 to 8 weeks before last frost, and transplant out or direct so in late March to mid-April.
Starting--Barely cover the tiny seeds. Use a sterilized potting soil, and keep watering to an absolute minimum – just enough to keep the medium from drying out. Germination takes 10-14 days. Once seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant at a spacing of 45cm (18″) into the garden.
Growing--Choose a shady spot or a location where plants can be protected from midday sun. Lemon balm prefers a fertile, moist soil in a cooler part of the garden. Plants grown in partial shade will be larger and more succulent than those exposed to full sun.
Harvest--Pick leaves throughout the summer for fresh use. The aroma is rapidly lost when dried or stored.
BeebalmBergamot The kitchen garden is a perfect place to plant bergamot seeds. The plants will produce lovely flowers and contain herbal qualities. Call it Bergamot, Beebalm, Monarda, or Bee Mint, it’s all the same plant and it’s easy to grow from seeds.
The flowers are a magnet for hummingbirds, bees and other pollinating insects. Bergamot is a native North American plant and its aromatic leaves, which contain citronella, have traditionally been used for tea. As a bonus the purple flowers are also edible. Bergamot is a perennial that will spread generously, but can easily be contained.
How to Grow Bergamot Bergamot is also known, somewhat confusingly, as Bee Balm, Scarlet Bee-balm, Horsemint, Oswego Tea, and by its genus name, Monarda. All varieties are aromatic and highly attractive to pollinators, including hummingbirds. Pick the leaves as desired for fresh use in the kitchen. For drying, harvest leaves before the flowers open. Cut flowers for drying as soon as they’re fully open. Masses of tiered pink-purple blossoms grow from August until frost. Follow along with this handy How to Grow Bergamot herb seeds Guide and attract some pollinators to your garden.
Season & Zone
Timing--Sow indoors late February to mid-March, or direct sow in early spring when a light frost is still possible. Seeds can also be direct sown in October. Optimal soil temperature for germination: 15-21°C (60-70°F). Seeds should sprout in 10-40 days. Bottom heat will speed germination.
Starting--Barely cover the tiny seeds with soil. Thin or space transplants 45-60cm (18-24″) apart. These vigorous perennials will grow in, closer together over time.
Growing--Any ordinary garden soil will work. Plant in full sun to partial shade. Where summers are long, plants are prone to mildew, so avoid overhead watering. Deadhead regularly to prolong the blooming period. Plants spread by rhizome growth, and should be dug and divided every three years.
Harvest--Pick the leaves as desired for fresh use in the kitchen.
Peter’s Purple bee balm--CTG Plant of the Week Peter’s Purple bee balm is one of many great Monarda species for Central Texas. ‘Peter’s Purple’ bee balm has been around a while, but it can be hard to find sometimes. Research at the Dallas Arboretum has shown it to be extremely resistant to powdery mildew, a necessary quality for survival in our landscapes. Like its relatives in the mint family, Peter’s Purple creeps easily into surrounding areas of the garden, so be prepared to dig and divide it yearly to keep it in bounds. It isn’t hard to dig up, and transplants easily, so it’s a great pass-along plant.
From late spring through late summer, Peter’s Purple will be covered in gorgeous light purple blooms that are irresistible to hummingbirds. Bees also go crazy for this plant, hence the common name: bee balm.
It is deer resistant, though!
It loves the heat and full sun, but can take light shade, and is very drought tolerant, as well as tolerant of both well-drained and clay soils. It needs a little supplemental irrigation during the hottest, driest times of the year, otherwise, be careful not to overwater.
In shady areas, Peter’s Purple will get lanky and may be unable to support its height and fall over.
Listed as hardy to Zone 6, this Monarda breezes through even the coldest Central Texas winters. It will go dormant in winter, so cut it back to return in spring.
Shooting quickly up to four feet tall, a single 4 inch transplant will also easily grow to a two foot wide clump in its first year.
Lemon GrassLemon Grass Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratu) has become a favorite of American gardeners, althought it is best known for providing lemon flavoring to Asian cuisine. A versatile herb, slices of fresh stalks are added to salads, soups, stews, stir fries, and seafood dishes (remove the leaves just before serving). Leaves can also be dried to make teas.
Lemon Grass is easy to grow and is especially nice to plant along paths and walkways where the leaves release their fragrance when brushed by people walking by. Out in the garden, it forms a loose, vase-shaped clump to 6″ across in its first year. Treat as an annual in colder climates, or cut back plants and bring them indoors before frost to overwinter.
Lemon grass is an easy-going tropical plant that is quite happy in full sun and average garden soil. It is a tender perennial, hardy only in Zones 9-10. Where temperatures dip below 20°F in the winter, Lemon Grass should spend the summer outdoors but be brought in for the winter.
You can either plant it in the ground (after the last frost in spring) and then pot it and bring it indoors before the first fall frost, or you can grow it in a pot year round.
In the summer, give Lemon Grass full sun (6 hours minimum), water it as you do other plants in your garden, and feed it a 1/2-strength solution of a balanced (20-20-20) water soluble fertilizer regularly from April through September --monthly for plants in the ground, biweekly for container-grown plants.
In the fall, acclimate plants gradually to indoor conditions (you're essentially reversing the hardening-off process) by allowing them to spend days outdoors and bringing them in at night. Bring them in for good before they're hit by a frost.
In winter, set pots of Lemon Grass in your sunniest window, water only when the surface of the soil mix is dry to the touch, and do not fertilize. Lemon Grass tends to look the worse for wear in northern winters, no matter what you do. Don't worry--it will perk back up once it goes outdoors again in spring.
Lemon Grass forms dense clumps that can grown 2-3ft tall every 1-3 years, depending on how vigorously they are growing. they become quite woody in the center, so you may need an old pruning saw (don't use a new one--you'll quickly dull its blade) to cut the clumps into pieces. Harvest by cutting out entire culms (stems) at any time of the year. Chop them, and use them fresh.
Lemon Grass Lemongrass is a tropical grass that thrives in summer heat. It is well suited to container growing, and ideal for greenhouse cultivation.
It can be grown as a perennial in our climate, but care must be taken to control moisture in the soil over winter, and to provide protection from frost. It is somewhat challenging to grow, but the reward is fresh, strongly aromatic stalks with very minimal carbon footprint. Hopefully these helpful tips will teach you how to grow lemongrass from seed.
Season & Zone
Timing--Sow seeds indoors in late winter (mid-February to early March on the coast). Transplant outdoors only when night time temperatures are steadily above 10°C (50°F).
Starting--Press the seeds gently 5mm (1/4″) into pre-moistened, sterilized seed starting mix. Use seedling trays with plastic domes, or containers sealed inside large plastic bags. Use bottom heat from a Seedling Heat Mat to maintain a soil temperature of 21°C (70°F). Keep seed trays or containers in a dark room or cupboard. Seeds should germinate in 5 to 21 days.
The trick is to maintain a moist, not wet, environment. Once seedlings appear, remove the dome or plastic bag, and move them into full sun or beneath strong, full spectrum, artificial light.
Growing--Harden seedlings off in early summer by gradually exposing them to full sun and cooler temperatures.
Transplant individual seedlings into 5 gallon (or larger) containers, and apply high nitrogen organic fertilizer like Alfalfa Meal or Blood Meal at the time of transplanting. Just mix 1/2 cup into the soil before transplanting. Keep the soil relatively moist throughout the growing period, watering at least 2 or 3 times a week – more in hot weather.
At the end of the growing season, once night time temperatures begin to approach 10°C (50°F), cut back your lemongrass plants to 15-20cm (6-8″) tall, reduce watering, and discontinue feeding. Move your plants to a bright, airy spot, protected from frost. Water only enough to keep the soil barely moist to nearly dry. If plants seem congested, consider dividing them into clumps in early spring, and potting them on. Resume watering and feeding once spring growth appears.
Harvest--Use secateurs to snip whole stalks from the base of the plant as needed. Stalks should be at least 15mm (1/2″) thick before picking. Lemongrass dries well for use as a tea, and whole stalk segments can be bundled and frozen for use in soups and curry paste all winter long.
LavenderHow to Grow Lavender The English lavender varieties we offer are variants of the species L. angustifolia. Lavandula stoechas is commonly known as Spanish lavender, and L. dentata is often referred to as French lavender. These nationality-based categories are more confusing than helpful. It’s best to know the specific variety you are looking for and track it down that way. We love all of the varieties. Comforting, beautiful to look at. Plant some of each variety for fresh lavender all season long. Follow this handy How to Grow Lavender from seeds guide.
Season & Zone
Timing--Lavender germinates most evenly if seeds can be collected in the autumn and sown on the surface of a seed tray with bottom heat maintaining 4-10°C (40-50°F). The seedlings are then overwintered in a cool greenhouse or cold frame with good ventilation. Seedlings can then be potted on as needed.
Another method is to start the seeds indoors in February planting a few seeds in a few pots with sterilized seed starting mix. Dampen the mix, press the seeds into the surface, insert the pots into plastic bags, and put them in your freezer for 2-7 days. Let them come to room temperature on their own, and then use bottom heat as indicated above.
Starting--Barely cover the seed, as they germinates in 14-21 days in warm soil. Do not use a plastic lid or covering because this will make the surface of the soil too moist. If watering is necessary, water from below. If germination is low after 3-4 weeks, lower the temperature to 5-10°C (40-50°F) for 2 weeks, then raise it again. Pot up the tiny seedlings and grow them on in a protected greenhouse or windowsill to set into the garden in the spring.
Growing--Lavender prefers full sun and well drained, fertile soil. Trim plants back hard in spring, just as new growth starts – but never prune back into the woody part of the stems. This will give a rush of even growth for the first leaves and bloom. Cut back again in early autumn, but again – never into old wood.
Harvest--Gather the flowers just as they open. Dry on open trays, or by hanging in small bunches. Pick the leaves anytime to use fresh, or if you’re dehydrating lavender leaves, gather before flowering starts.
PapaloPorophyllum ruderale Porophyllum ruderale is an herbaceous annual plant whose leaves can be used for seasoning food. The taste has been described as "somewhere between arugula, cilantro and rue." The plant is commonly grown in Mexico and South America for use in salsas. When fully grown, this plant grows to about 5 feet in height and 3 feet in diameter.
The plant is easy to grow from seed in a well drained soil, which should be allowed to dry between watering.
Having been used by many cultures, Porophyllum ruderale is known by many names, including Bolivian coriander, quillquiña (also spelled quirquiña or quilquiña), yerba porosa, killi, pápalo, tepegua, "mampuritu" and pápaloquelite. Despite the name "Bolivian coriander", this plant is not botanically related to Coriandrum sativum.
This plant is known in Mexico as pápaloquelite, commonly accompanying the famous Mexican tacos. Not all Mexicans enjoy its taste, but some find that it improves the flavor of tacos and typical Mexican salsas and soups.
In Puebla cuisine, pápalo is used as a condiment on traditional cemita sandwiches, a regional type of Mexican torta. Papalo was used in the Azteca era, but never as medicine, only as food.
One study claims that Papalo exhibits some health benefits such as: lowering cholesterol, lowering blood pressure, and aiding digestion.
Papalo – Heat Loving Cilantro Alternative Papalo is a fabulous, but still relatively unknown, ancient Mexican herb you should be growing. A heat-loving alternative to cilantro, its flavors are both bolder and more complex. It has been described by some as somewhere between arugula, cilantro and rue; others say it tastes like a mixture of nasturtium flowers, lime, and cilantro. Younger leaves are milder flavored, gaining pungency and complexity as they mature.
Papalo (PAH-pa-low) is known by many names; Quilquiña, Yerba Porosa, Killi, Papaloquelite and broadleaf in English. It is a member of the informal quelites (key-LEE-tays), the semi-wild greens rich in vitamins and nutrients that grow among the fields in central and South America.
These green edible plants grow without having to plant them. They sprout with the first rains or field irrigation, often providing a second or third harvest, costing no additional work but giving food and nutrition.
Other quelites include lamb’s quarters, amaranth, quinoa, purslane, epazote and Mache or corn salad.
Papalo pre-dates the introduction of cilantro to Mexico by several thousand years, which is a very interesting story all by itself. South America is thought to be the ancestral home of papalo. Cilantro is also known as Chinese parsley and was brought to Mexico in the 1500s by Chinese workers in the Spanish silver mines of southern Mexico and South America. Spain had a huge trade industry with China, exchanging silver from America for china, porcelain and various drugs – opium and hashish among them. They also imported many Chinese workers for the silver mines, as European diseases had decimated the native population which had no immunity. The Chinese workers brought along foods, herbs and spices which were familiar to them, so cilantro came to the Americas.
Papalo is sometimes called “summer cilantro” due to its heat loving character and not bolting and setting seed until the late summer or early fall.
The name Papalo originates with the Nahuatl word for butterfly, and Papaloquelite is said to mean butterfly leaf. The flowers provide nectar to feeding butterflies, while also attracting bees and other pollinators to the garden with their pollen.
Part of the aroma and flavor is seen above with the oil glands which look like spots on the underside of the leaves. Those glands produce a fragrance which repels insects from eating its leaves.
There are two different leaf shapes grown – a broadleaf and a more narrow leaf, often called poreleaf. We have found the broadleaf variety to be more palatable, quite a bit more pungent than cilantro but quite tasty.
When beginning to use papalo, start with 1/4 to 1/3 as much as the normal amount of cilantro. The flavor is much stronger and lasts longer, so a little goes a long way until you’ve gotten used to it. We grow and offer only the broadleaf variety.
When we hear about people complaining of papalo tasting of soap, detergent or having a rank or funky odor, usually they have encountered the poreleaf or narrow leafed variety. It is quite a bit more pungent than the broadleaf type, so usually comes as quite a shock to our palates.
Papalo seeds look much like dandelion seeds, with the stalk and “umbrella” to help carry them on the wind to their new home. Having the umbrella attached is very important to good seed germination, which we will show you in just a bit.
The harvested seed comes from our grower in a big clear plastic trash bag, as it just isn’t possible to harvest and clean the seeds without breaking the umbrellas off. The seeds are almost weightless, so a big bagful that you can hide behind weighs less than a pound.
A closer look at the clump of seeds. We haven’t found a better way to separate them without damaging them, so we usually pack them much like this – by the ever so gentle pinch! There are probably 30+ seeds in this photo.
Papalo is often described as having “very low and variable” germination. This is true if the seed is packed in a standard seed packet, which breaks off the umbrella from the stem. From experimenting, we have found germination will drop to around 10% if the seed is broken, but will be as high as 90% or better if the seed is intact.
This photo of papalo in our germination tray shows the proof. Using seed germination paper to keep the seed damp, there was 100% germination in less than 72 hours. In fact, the seedlings hit the lid of the germination chamber, trying to get to the light.
A close-up shows how the stem emerges from the bottom of the stalk, immediately turning vertical in growth, searching for light.
From our germination experiments, we have developed this simple but highly effective packing box. It keeps the seeds intact for planting as well as protecting them from being broken during shipping.
Young seedlings don’t have the oil glands developed yet, so they are milder in flavor and aroma than when they begin to mature. This planting is a bit thick, but it is sometimes difficult to separate the seeds without damage. In this case, just plant them thick and don’t worry about it. If desired, you can clip the unwanted or unneeded seedlings to thin them. Make sure not to pull them out, as this really disturbs the roots of the adjacent plants and seriously disrupts their growth.
Even in a very harsh spring with sustained high temperatures and punishing winds, the young papalo grows strongly. The weather effects can be seen in the drying of the leaf margins, as well as the scruffy and dry leaf appearance. The holes are not from a bug chewing on the leaves, but from the oil vaporizing from the porous oil glands. The lighter colored spots on the leaves are additional oil glands.
A fully mature papalo leaf in good growing conditions looks like this – a moderately deep, rich green with oil glands distributed across each leaf. The leaves have a medium thickness to them with a fairly substantial feel. They don’t feel delicate like some vegetable leaves, but aren’t thick and succulent either.
Touching them will release some of the aromatic oils, so you should be able to immediately experience their singularly unique aroma, even from an arm’s length away. This is the same with organically grown or home-grown cilantro – the aroma will be much more pronounced.
The seed heads start out looking much like marigold flower heads. After flowering they will set seed and begin the cycle anew. When harvesting seeds to save, make sure to clip the seed head after it has fully matured and begun to dry, but before it is completely dry. Otherwise, you will go out to the garden to collect seed to find it has all blown away!
It’s always used raw and added at the last minute, giving its signature, unique piquant flavor to dishes. It’s used in fish dishes, salsas and guacamole. There is a memorable guacamole that uses cucumbers and papalo for added depth of flavor that we can’t get enough of.
We also really like it in scrambled eggs, fresh salsas and finely diced in a strong flavored salad of spinach, arugula, mustard greens and kale. Devilled eggs take on an entirely new dimension with a couple of leaves finely diced and mixed into the filling. People always try and guess what the mystery seasoning is, and always mistake it for something else.
In restaurants in the state of Puebla in Mexico, it’s common to find a sprig of papalo in a glass jar of water on the table, next to the salt, pepper and salsas — ready to be added raw to soups, tacos, tortas or beans. The diners will take off a leaf or two and tear it up finely before sprinkling it over their meal.
How to Grow and Use Papalo (w/Recipes & Sources) When starting them as transplants make sure they are extremely warm. The germination rate is much higher if they think it is early summer. It’s easier to direct seed them in May or later, but if grown in pots I harden them off and plant them into the garden when they reach about 6″ tall. While still young I pinch off the growing tips to get them to bush out into a sturdier plant, otherwise they can be spindly and flop over. Papalo prefers full sun but I had great luck in spots that only got about 4 hours of sun a day.
MintHow to Grow Mint Mint is a tasty, versatile herb that can spice up a fruit salad, lamb or fish dish, or even a glass of iced tea or a cocktail. Mint comes in many different varieties, each of which is easy to maintain and lasts for many years if cared for properly.
The plant is fairly invasive, however, and may compete with surrounding plants for resources if allowed to grow without restriction. To grow mint, you either need to plant it in containers or find a method of restricting the growth of its roots below ground.
Acquiring the Mint
Take a cutting from a pre-existing mint plant. Mint is difficult to grow from seed, and it is virtually impossible for some varieties, like peppermint.
Cut a 4 inch (10 cm) sprig about ½ inch (1 cm) above a junction to allow new branches to grow in its place. The sprig does not need to have many leaves, and almost any sprig will do.
Place the sprig in a glass of water, and remove any leaves that fall below the water line.
Within a week, small white roots should appear under water. Wait a few more days to another week to allow the roots to develop into a decent length.
Add water to the glass as necessary. Make sure that you change the water every four to five days to prevent rot.
OR Purchase a mint seedling or small mint plant. You can find mint seedlings at most nurseries and garden stores. There are many varieties of mint, such as sweet mint, chocolate mint, spearmint, lemon mint, apple mint, and peppermint. Spearmint is most commonly used for cooking. Mint is a fast-growing, fast-spreading plant and is perfect for one of your first attempts at growing plants.
Planting the Mint
Ideally, you should plant your mint in the spring, or in the fall if you're in a climate that is free of frost. Though mint is a resilient plant, it's best to start growing it under optimal conditions.
PLANTING, GROWING, AND HARVESTING MINT Mint is a perennial with very fragrant, toothed leaves and tiny purple, pink, or white flowers. It has a fruity, aromatic taste.
"If any man can name … all the varieties of mint, he must know how many fish swim in the Indian Ocean.” –Walafrid Strabo (c. 808–849)
Mints are vigorous perennials that thrive in light soil with good drainage.
Ideally, they prefer a moist but well-drained site, something like their native habitat along stream banks.
Most will tolerate some shade, and the variegated types may require some protection from direct sun.
For growing outdoors, plant one or two purchased plants (or one or two cuttings from a friend) about 2 feet apart in moist soil. One or two plants will easily cover the ground. Mint should grow to be 1 or 2 feet tall.
For best growth in confined areas such as containers, topdress plants with a thin layer of compost or organic fertilizer every few months. Aboveground pots will need winter protection in cold climates.
In the garden, plant mint near cabbage and tomatoes.
At first, mints develop into well-behaved–looking bushy, upright clumps, but they soon set out to conquer new territory with horizontal runners and underground rhizomes. Unless you block the advance, a pert peppermint plant can turn into a sprawling 4-foot giant in just 1 year.
It’s not the stuff of horror movies, however. Mints benefit from picking and pruning.
They are shallow-rooted and easy to pull out, so there’s no reason to worry, as long as you provide physical barriers such as walls, walkways, or containers.
Mice dislike the smell of peppermint. Spread it liberally where you suspect the critters. Mint is also considered a deer-resistant plant.
Frequent harvesting is the key to keeping mint plants at their best.
Young leaves have more flavor than old ones, and mint can be harvested as soon as it comes up in spring.
Although fresh is best and sprigs keep for a few days in water, mint leaves can be frozen or air-dried in bunches. Right before flowering, cut the stems 1 inch from the ground.
You can harvest one mint plant two or three times in one growing season.
You can also just pick the leaves as you need them.
You can grow the plants indoors for fresh leaves throughout the winter. If you want to dry them, it’s best to cut the leaves right before flowering. Store the dried leaves in an airtight container.
The best way to propagate mints is by taking cuttings from those that you like best. It’s easy—take 6-inch cuttings of rooted stems and plant them horizontally in the soil.
Mint stems will also root in a glass of water. Start with a small cutting from an established plant.
Apple/Pineapple Mint: Mentha suaveolens
To relieve a tension headache, apply a compress of mint leaves to your forehead.
Mint is a symbol for virtue.
Make Flavor Cubes by freezing trays of strong mint tea, then use the ice cubes for your drinks!
PlantainPlantago major Plantago major (broadleaf plantain, white man's foot, or greater plantain) is a species of flowering plant in the plantain family Plantaginaceae.
The plant is native to most of Europe and northern and central Asia, but has widely naturalised elsewhere in the world.
Plantago major is one of the most abundant and widely distributed medicinal crops in the world.
A poultice of the leaves can be applied to wounds, stings, and sores in order to facilitate healing and prevent infection. The active chemical constituents are aucubin (an anti-microbial agent), allantoin (which stimulates cellular growth and tissue regeneration), and mucilage (which reduces pain and discomfort).
Plantain has astringent properties, and a tea made from the leaves can be ingested to treat diarrhea and soothe raw internal membranes.
Broadleaf plantain is also a highly nutritious wild edible, that is high in calcium and vitamins A, C, and K. The young, tender leaves can be eaten raw, and the older, stringier leaves can be boiled in stews and eaten.
Plantago major grows in lawns and fields, along roadsides, and in other areas that have been disturbed by humans. It does particularly well in compacted or disturbed soils. It is believed to be one of the first plants to reach North America after European colonisation. Reportedly brought to the Americas by Puritan colonizers, plantain was known among some Native American peoples by the common name "white man's footprint", because it thrived in the disturbed and damaged ecosystems surrounding European settlements.
The ability of plantain to survive frequent trampling and colonize compacted soils makes it important for soil rehabilitation. Its roots break up hardpan surfaces, while simultaneously holding together the soil to prevent erosion.
Guide to Growing Plantain Native to Europe and tolerant of a wide range of conditions, Plantain has traditionally been used to relieve diarrhea, treat lung conditions, and similar conditions relating to excess bleeding and inflammation. Humble and hardy, Plantain is classified as a diuretic, alternative, astringent and vulnerary and is commonly used topically to assist with burns, cuts, scrapes, bites and other mild external injuries. A mainstay of traditional European Herbalism.
Greater Plantain is low to the ground and will grow to a height of approximately 8-12" showing tiny white flowers.
Plantain prefers full sun to partial shade and will tolerate a wide range of soil conditions, including rocks and sand.
MAINTAINING--Plantain is adaptable to a wide range of growing conditions and
can be direct sown outdoors in mid-spring, or
started indoors in early spring and transplanted out in late spring.
Germination rates can be enhanced with a one week period of cold stratification prior to sowing.
RosemaryHow to Grow Rosemary Rosemary and its cultivars are best started from plants. When grown from seed, germination is slow with variable results. Plants can be set out in the spring when the weather has warmed in zones 1 through 9, and in spring or fall in zone 10.
All rosemaries require full sun, but in the warmer climates they will accept some light shade. They thrive in a light, well-drained, average garden soil with a pH range of 5 to 8. During the growing season, pinch back growth tips two or three inches to promote bushy plants; cut back hard only in early spring to allow the new growth time to mature.
Most rosemary varieties are reliably hardy to only 20°F (zone 9); however, gardeners in cold-winter areas can successfully grow rosemary indoors in a container with a fast-draining potting soil. Bring the plants indoors at least several weeks before your area's first frost date. Feed the potted rosemary regularly with fish emulsion and provide good air circulation to ward off harmful mildew.
Planting Time ReferencesWhite Flower Farm See plant descr. then click on Growing guide
West Coast Seeds see plant descr. then go to Growing Guides
By Zip 1st freeze 11/12... last freeze 3/20
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