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Herb gardens


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One of the first things I plan to do when my partner and I move to Rehoboth Beach later this year is get an herb garden started. I'm so sick of having nothing planted but a few pots of oregano and thyme that having an actual garden is downright exciting. That this will be the first time I'll have ever lived outside of a desert climate makes the change even better.

What kinds of herbs do well in the DelMarVa area, particularly along the coastline? And what should I avoid and just buy fresh at the store? Any ideas?

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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I would buy lavender potted- it is so hard to grow from seed. I would recommend planting varieties of thyme, especially between stones. Its perrenial.

Basil is very easy to grow-- you can even buy fresh stalks from the store (cannot just be leaves) and put them in a glass/vase of water in the sunlight. In a few weeks or so, you will see tons of roots and can plant. But basil is pretty easy to grow by seeds. Its an annual so you have to plant each year.

Since you will be on the coast, I recommend planting rosehip. It grows very well by the ocean-- I don't know if your area will be cold enough.

If you want to grow mint, plant in a pot, as otherwise it will invade the rest of your garden.

I would just buy parsely and ciliantro fresh at the store. Ciliantro tends to bolt pretty early.

Dill is a good plant to have in the garden as it attracts beneficial insects (marigolds do the same).

I am so jealous... gardening brings such great rewards.

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Thank-you, Nerissa, especially for the information about dill. My partner and I both love it's flavor, but hadn't heard about it attracting insects.

I'd heard about mint's agressive tendencies. Lavender sounds like a great idea; I've run across a recipe recently for lavender ice cream. And your advice about thyme sounds good, too. (You've reminded me of one of my favorite children's books, The Time Garden, by Edward Eager; I've always associated the herb with magic because of that book.)

I'm wondering whether rosemary will grow well. We attended a fundraiser at a house on the Palos Verdes cliffs once, where rosemary had been planted all over the estate. It was in bloom at the time, and the grounds smelled wonderful. Of course, the climate in SoCal is quite different from Delaware, but I am hoping for the chance to have a few bushes growing. It goes so well with lamb, and I've found the flowers make an unexpected addition to salads!

We'll not discriminate great from small.

No, we'll serve anyone - meaning anyone -

And to anyone at all!

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The great thing about gardening is that you can try and see. If the plant does well then great, if not then the loss is only a packet of seeds or a starter plant. Gardens are not static, built to a masterplan with only one possible plant for each place, but dynamic with constant change. That is thier joy. Even if you don't make changes, plants will self-seed or die on their own.

I'm a great one for poking plants into gaps. Just try it. If it doesn't work in the place you put it, then move it. or throw it out and try something different

I don't know the climate or the area, but rosemary is pretty tough and stands sea air, as do the thymes.

Good framework plants. Are you going to put in Box edging?

Mint is invasive, so grow in a bucket, or somewhere you mow round. Buy lavender plants, but it is easy to propgate from cuttings. Sage should do well. Many herbs, like parsley, dill, basil are effectively annuals, so you will need to sow each year. Bay trees are good, as are some old roses.

Herbs like fairly poor soil, so do not fertilise. The most important thing is to get the ground clean first otherwise you will be weeding constantly. If you are entirely organic you will need to leave it covered so as to exclude the light (old carpet or geotextile) for a year or two. Otherwise till it, leave it for the weeds to germinate, then hit them with glyphosate a couple of times.

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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I agree with nerissa, don't bother with cilantro, but whatever else you want should grow here. I don't know what the soil is like near the shore - you may want to plant in large pots, but the temperatures and daylight should be great for gardening.

We grow several varieties of thyme, basil, marjoram, dill, oregano, mint, and rosemary. Marjoram is another that will take over your garden if not kept in check.

Heather Johnson

In Good Thyme

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What is the problem with cliantro? I planted some in a planter (along with several other herbs) and it seems to be doing fine. Is there something I should watch out for?

Bill Russell

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Martha Stewart did this in one of veggie beds on her show and I thought it was a nifty idea. She used chives as a natural border.

Bilrus-- more power to you. As jackal said, that is how gardening works. Some people have a magic thumb with african violets-- you may have perfect conditions for growing ciliantro at the moment.

Jackal is right about most herbs preferring not overly fertilized soil. You can still nudge them along with organic supplements, if for example, you are transplanting a seedling into the pot or ground.

You might try getting a bay leaf tree/plant, and planting in a pot. They grow rather slowly. I don't know their exact climate requirements so I am not sure if they can planted in the ground. Another plant that doesn't like over-fertilization.

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What a pleasure to find local talk of herbs. I drive out to Debaggio Herbs and buy grown plants there; I don't have the patience for seed. Anyone else recommend a trusted source?

http://www.debaggioherbs.com/

Steve Klc

Pastry chef-Restaurant Consultant

Oyamel : Zaytinya : Cafe Atlantico : Jaleo

chef@pastryarts.com

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I've got half a Jim Beam barrel (the genuine article, all scorched inside and smelling of aging bourbon) planted with two basils, cilantro, dill, chives, and oregano. They are all about 1-2" tall at this point. I'm looking forward to starting to harvest in the next few weeks.

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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I live in MD a bit further inland but you should be able to do better with herbs than I can because Rehoboth is a fairly protected area & the Gulf stream runs close to shore there giving it a fairly easy winter most of the time. I have a rosemary I have had in the ground for many years it had gotten to about 4 ft tall. as you say they perfume the yard wonderfully. This past winter was a real test. It did damage the bush but I didn't lose it. :biggrin: Chives are great. Another good one for this area is sage. Nothing like going out at Thanksgiving & picking fresh sage leaves to put under the skin of your turkey. Taragon grows well too. Bay must be kept in pots & brought in at first frost. You will find you are moving to farming country. Lots of fresh veggies, including some of the best tomatos ever, you'll need the basil. This time of year the area abounds in fresh asparagus.

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For those of you who have had cilantro get away from you, have you ever harvested the seeds (corriander) and dried and ground them? Or is it just not worth the effort?

Chief Scientist / Amateur Cook

MadVal, Seattle, WA

Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code

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thanks hjshorter

My name shows where my heart lies. :biggrin: I may live in B'more but my heart lies on the shore.

I've never had any luck with cilantro but something I have done is with fennel. I put in several plants one year, far more than I could use. Those left in the garden went to seed. I cut the seed heads & hung to dry. When the seeds were dry I shook the heads in a bag & collected the seeds. Kept the harvest in the freezer. I use them in Italian sausage, fish stew whatever.

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Two more cents here, but it will depend on whether you are planning on planting your herbs in the ground or in pots. Mediterranean types of herbs will do just fine planted right in the ground in well-amended but still slightly sandy soil. You'll be fine planting almost anything in pots, as well. There are a few herbs that don't do well in harsh conditions, but you will probably be able to grow anything you'd usually cook with at the beach.

In the DC area, I've always found a great selection of starter veggie and herb plants available at American Plant Food (2 places on River Rd. - one just south of 495 and one close to DC). They've always had starter plants of heirloom tomatoes that are hard to find and a nice selection of herbs.

Have a great summer and let us know what you cook with all these herbs!

Edited by Terrie (log)
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