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Monica Bhide

An Indian Herb Garden

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I have a statement to make - I CAN KILL SILK PLANTS WITHOUT TRYING

I said this to Chef Michel Nischan and he convinced me to try a herb garden anyway!

Okay so having said that - I have never been successful at growing anything but I am up for a challenge.....

so tell me what should I do first? What should I grow ?

I will document my progress here...

Go ahead .. but be gentle.. I am known to destroy :laugh:


Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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dhaniya.

my mom was able to make that grow.

and mint.

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yeah those two will grow anywhere. When they are in season, they are all over our garden in Dehra DUn.

Oh and lemongrass

Rushina

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so tell me what should I do first? What should I grow ?

why, Monica-start with tulsi and everything will follow just fine..

:wink:

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like saffron? why? if it ages, you'll lose it!

actually my mom's also managed to grow curry leaf from cuttings i think she smuggled on her last trip. or maybe she found a tropical plant dealer here. that one is thriving.

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saffron as in precious!such loving consideration as to where and how to best use it..lovely feathery,flavourful sprigs.no more of that store bought junk..for about a week :laugh:

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ohh..i thought you meant saffron as in sparingly because it was prescious.

lovingly works tho. just don't be stingy with it! *lol*

do you keep a stash of coriander seeds on hand? i wonder if you sprinkled a few seeds each week if you could be kept in it all summer....

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actually my mom's also managed to grow curry leaf from cuttings i think she smuggled on her last trip. 

Curry plants are available in US, at least i bought one couple of years ago from Well Sweep Hern Farm in NJ. My mistake, i should have put it in the container, and brought inside when winter came. Apparently curry plant is not hardy.

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this is the crop from a handful of seeds from my spice cupboard-wasn't really sure they would germinate but i guess i should have planted again as soon as i saw the shoots.will try another lot as kitchen plants!

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My wife has a good green thumb. She has successfully grown dhaniya from dhaniya seeds, mint from leftover stems, curry plant from a neighbour's plant. Their curry plant died but ours has survived 3 years and still alive.

And of course, Tulsi.

Monica, Let me know if you need help.

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YES I NEED HELP - BIG TIME

Can I trouble you for stems from the curry leaf and tulsi to get started?

that might help

I tried to grow coriander.. Ahem.. well first I called India and the mali - gardener - told me to crush the seeds with my shoe before I planted them... I guess I should have called before I planted them as they were and wondered why they were not growing...

I know this is basics to most people but I really dont know a lot about growing plants


Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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do you need to crush them? my mom just strewed them straight. maybe not enough water?

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and monica - if you can't grow copious amounts of mint, then yes - i'd have to say your green thumb is sorely lacking. :wink:

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and monica - if you can't grow copious amounts of mint, then yes - i'd have to say your green thumb is sorely lacking. :wink:

Never, EVER, grow mint in the ground. It will start spreading all over your garden. You will never be able to get rid of it.

Always use a big pot.

Having fresh mint leaves handy is such a good thing, especially when one has hankering for that freshly minted pudina chutney and besan pudina parantha.. like right now!!!!

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Monica, many seeds have a hard outer sheath which can inhibit germination. Some gardeners, therefore, will nick the sheaths with a paring knife (or, I guess, step on them *gently*) in order to help them sprout. With larger seeds, it also helps to soak them for 3-12 hours before planting them. I generally plant my seeds late in the day, when the soil is at its warmest.

Mint is all-but-infallible, though as noted it tends to be invasive...container gardening is a very good idea. My parents have about 100 square feet of it down near the water, and it began as two plants. Mint does like a lot of moisture, though, so in arid climates it's not *quite* as invasive.

Coriander is a good choice for a novice, as it grows quite readily. Two more no-brainers are potatoes and ginger. Potatoes can require a lot of garden space, but not necessarily. I tend to plant mine closer together than most people do, in order to keep them small (I do love my fingerlings). My wife's grandparents used to grow potatoes in a stack of old car tires: when the plants were a good foot or so above the tire, they'd add another tire and more soil; repeat as necessary. Eventually you end up with a tower of potatoes.

Ginger grows nicely in a large pot or planter; just buy one and stick it in the soil. Give it lots of sun, and it'll grow until you dig it up and cook with it. If my uncle could grow ginger in northern Newfoundland (a climate similar to central Norway) I'm sure you can in the DC area.

I'll add some more thoughts as my tired brain comes up with them.


“What is called sound economics is very often what mirrors the needs of the respectably affluent.” - John Kenneth Galbraith

 

"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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I have a statement to make - I CAN KILL SILK PLANTS WITHOUT TRYING

I said this to Chef Michel Nischan and he convinced me to try a herb garden anyway!

Okay so having said that - I have never been successful at growing anything but I am up for a challenge.....

so tell me what should I do first? What should I grow ?

I will document my progress here...

Go ahead .. but be gentle.. I am known to destroy :laugh:

Silk is easy to kill. It only needs a layer of dust.

Bow down, Monica. I killed an air fern. It was in the bathroom of my aunt's house, and the humidity should have made it thrive. But no. Dead. Quickly dead.

I have since successfully planted some herbs and such. Mint is your friend, but if you don't contain it, it will choke the life out of everything else around. (As noted subsequently to your post. Mint is the bamboo of the herbal garden.)

Cilantro (coriander?) is easy, but keep pinching the tops off so it doesn't bolt. ("Bolting" is when something gets really tall, really quickly, and produces flowers. These are undesirable conditions for things like herbs and lettuce.) Other herbs have good flowers (marjoram and thyme come to mind).

Monica, where do you live?

Surely people here will help you. I think you need some professional help, in the best way--someone who grows to come and point: "There's where you can plant that, ma'am."

Maybe a neighboring eGulleteer? No one should be forced to create a garden without help, never having done so.

P.S. You SHOULD kill silk plants. They're tacky!

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Monica,

I'm not here to offer any advice, because I'm as bad, if not worse, than you are. This green-fingered friend keeps giving me plants as presents and I'm so embarassed to even admit here that I've got just one left - even that looks like it could depart anyday. It just makes me feel a little bit better that I'm not alone.

Suman

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I have a statement to make - I CAN KILL SILK PLANTS WITHOUT TRYING

I said this to Chef Michel Nischan and he convinced me to try a herb garden anyway!

Okay so having said that - I have never been successful at growing anything but I am up for a challenge.....

so tell me what should I do first? What should I grow ?

I will document my progress here...

Go ahead .. but be gentle.. I am known to destroy :laugh:

Silk is easy to kill. It only needs a layer of dust.

Bow down, Monica. I killed an air fern. It was in the bathroom of my aunt's house, and the humidity should have made it thrive. But no. Dead. Quickly dead.

I have since successfully planted some herbs and such. Mint is your friend, but if you don't contain it, it will choke the life out of everything else around. (As noted subsequently to your post. Mint is the bamboo of the herbal garden.)

Cilantro (coriander?) is easy, but keep pinching the tops off so it doesn't bolt. ("Bolting" is when something gets really tall, really quickly, and produces flowers. These are undesirable conditions for things like herbs and lettuce.) Other herbs have good flowers (marjoram and thyme come to mind).

Monica, where do you live?

Surely people here will help you. I think you need some professional help, in the best way--someone who grows to come and point: "There's where you can plant that, ma'am."

Maybe a neighboring eGulleteer? No one should be forced to create a garden without help, never having done so.

P.S. You SHOULD kill silk plants. They're tacky!

Thanks Tana. We live in DC and have a tiny back yard that would be perfect for a small herb and vegetable garden. But I literally dont know where to start. Someone will have to come over and guide me step by step and then it will work - or at least I hope :biggrin:


Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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Monica,

I'm not here to offer any advice, because I'm as bad, if not worse, than you are. This green-fingered friend keeps giving me plants as presents and I'm so embarassed to even admit here that I've got just one left - even that looks like it could depart anyday. It just makes me feel a little bit better that I'm not alone.

Suman

Now I dont feel so bad! :biggrin:


Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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what "Herbs" are you trying to grow Monica, I am getting worried about you now. :raz:


"Burgundy makes you think of silly things, Bordeaux

makes you talk about them, and Champagne makes you do them." Brillat-Savarin

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DC's got some heat for a bit--go long on mint and lime basil, and a short run of coriander/cilantro.

And I need in on that curry specimen, please--trade you for tomato or pepper seeds.

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I don't know how curry plants respond to the cold, but otherwise I'd recommend them as really easy to grow and also the most helpful in cooking terms, since one often needs just a few curry leaves and that's when I find I'm either out of them or the ones in my fridge have all withered away. An aunt of mine who has really green fingers has dispatched curry plant seedlings across the world - just a few twigs bundled up into newspaper and shoved into suitcases and despite this terrible way of traveling, they've often sprung up again in their destinations.

My own curry plants come from her and are growing and branching very nicely. I grow them in a pot along with tulsi (basil). Like most of my plants, they've gone nuts with the monsoon that's finally arrived, they're all growing like crazy in all directions, so I had to do some pruning last weekend and that's when I realised the other great reason for having a herb garden. As I cut the plants and stripped the branches I got these huge heady waves of curry and basil scents, almost better than anything I've smelled in the kitchen. It was amazing!

The other food plant I've got growing was the result of one of those look-what's-growing-on-top-of-the-fridge moments (there was a great thread on this on one of the eG forums once). This time it was a packet of Madras onions - which may or may not be shallots, I don't think this group has ever decided - which I'd left for too long and were now sending out long green shoots. Instead of junking them I pushed them into a corner of a pot and now its like I have some alien life form, a bunch of long strong green shoots reaching out of the pot...

Vikram

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what "Herbs" are you trying to grow Monica, I am getting worried about you now. :raz:

well - dont let all my secrets out!

Alright - this weekend we are clearing the land and then I will add the seeds based on all the suggestions here. i will take pics and keep you posted on progress

Deliad - any chance I can get a cutting of the curry leaves from you next week?


Monica Bhide

A Life of Spice

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