How Much Makes a Garden?

NM advised me to plant herbs.  She thought that would improve my situation and I thought, well, why not?  I’m trying to learn to take people’s good advice.

On the other hand, I’m not the world’s greatest tender-to-er of anything and so I thought I’d just start small.  I planted some basil (mmmm), some rosemary (I think I’ve had a good rosemary chicken before), some sage (ooo, spooky), and some lavender (also ooo spooky).

They came in these cool biodegradable cups, so all I had to do was tear open the bottom and nestle them down in the dirt and give them some water and put them in full sun, which they all claim to like.

I have no idea how to know when to harvest any of it, but I figure I’ll just keep my eye on everything and at some point, I will just know.

I guess.

I’m kind of excited.

9 thoughts on “How Much Makes a Garden?

  1. Herb gardens are some of the best things for your soul, your diet and your hair.

    I think there’s something tactily spritual about herb gardens because it’s like growing things with true power.

    /mystic rant

    Anyway, Those are all good and beautiful and highly aromatic.

    I also love lemongrass and chocolate mint. And cilantro.

  2. B, did you put them outside, or in a window inside? You might want to keep the basil indoors for another month. Or at least be sure to cover it up on cold nights. I think those are good herbs to start with; you can add some other varieties of basil and sage if/when you start to feel more confident and ambitious. Or mint, or chives. There’s a lot of good information on the net about growing herbs around here, that tell you when and how to harvest and preserve them. I’ll dig up some links and send them to you.

    KC, I think growing just about any plant fills that spiritual function you’re talking about. The herbs do have certain powers, but so do tomatoes. Just different ones. Or so I think.

  3. They’re outside but they’re in a window box that is easily moved inside depending on the weather. Everyone seems pretty happy right now. I hope, anyway.

  4. I hope they have enough room. I put two plants in each window box, so I’m hopeful. I guess I should read up on them some. I’ve never tried to grow something–like the lavender–that will actually bloom.

  5. All of those did great in my garden last year, so as general success for this area is concerned, your odds are good. In fact, the rosemary flourished and lasted through the winter just fine, and is now one of the tallest things in the garden. Very fun.

    I had two different lavenders in my herb garden last year. Both were fine during the warm months, but only one made it through the winter. The one that didn’t is the “dentata” variety.

    I love all kinds of gardening, but I especially love herb gardening. Weeding in an herb garden is actually fun — it’s almost like cheating to be able to have your nose up that close to things that smell that good and still be able to act like it’s hard work.

  6. I have a few tips for you, if you don’t mind, about growing herbs, as I’ve had an herb garden for 15+ years. Keep in mind that this is from the Chicagoland area, your mileage may vary.

    Basil: my favorite! I have grown this in the ground, but have gotten the best results when grown in a pot. Basil is one of those herbs that, the more you pinch it off at the top to use while it is growing, the bushier your plant becomes. If you have too much (and you will, come mid-summer), make some pesto and freeze it for the winter. The first frost and it will go totally black on you, so pick the last leaves and dry them before that. If you let it go to seed (which you will know by the tall, purpley spikes in late summer), it will get all gangly on you, or else it will reseed itself for the next year in that same pot. Or else let one stalk or two go to seed and save the seeds to replant next year. Easy as pie, basil is.

    Parsley usually reseeds itself for the next yeas too, but as it is a biennial, it might take two years to get established. Italian flat leaf variety is the best.

    Oregano is great, low and semi-slow growing, and a perennial. The leaves can also be dried for winter use.

    Sage (which I know you use!) is super-easy to grow, but spreads rapidly, and has great woody stems and feeders that can quickly overrun its alloted spot. The same with mint. The preferred method for mint is to cut open the bottom of a plastic pot and just stick that in the ground, also to prevent the rapid spreading. From a 4″ pot, it can overtake a huge area in just a year or two, and nobody needs that much mint.

    Rosemary I loooove, but it is not winter hardy even here in the Central IL, so I tend mine carefully in a pot indoors in the winter, and put it outdoors in the summer. It’s very finicky as to moisture and sunlight, seesing as how I don’t (unfortunatley) live in the Mediterranean.

    Chives are super easy too. Just buy a pot at the nursery and transplant it. Lavender also spreads like mint, but not as quickly, and is just so pretty, I don’t mind it. Cilantro is easier to just buy, so I don’t grow it, but dill is another easy one to use for both the leaves and the seeds.

    I know I’m forgetting some, so my last hint would be to just plant or put your herb pots close by, where you can just walk out and cut some to throw in your pot or pan for dinner every day while they are in their glory.

  7. You can always grow basil from seed very easily. Parsley too, but parsley is best planted in the fall or late winter-it needs cold weather to germinate. I have had the Grosso variety of lavender planted in my yard for several years now. It is cold hardy here. Any of the English lavenders will be more cold tolerant than the French or Spanish ones. As for Rosemary the “Arp” cultivar is totally cold hardy (even to Chicagoland) and will get to be a small sized shrub.

    Now the dangerous news: mark your calendar for the Nashville Herb Society plant sale Saturday April 21 at 8am at the State Fair Grounds. I usually buy all kinds of plants there, from tri-color sages to lavenders, salvias and hyssop. Tons of mint cultivars and every kind of basil known to man. I think their website is, but google them just to be sure.

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