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1.

Growing Your Seed


2. Growing Herbs in Herb Gardens
3. HERB Specific Instructions & Tips
4. Harvesting Your Seed
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1.Growing Your Seed
Choosing Seed Varieties
Part oI the enjoyment oI planning your garden is choosing which seed varieties you want
to grow. Choosing varieties that work best Ior your growing conditions and take
advantage oI your environment will ultimately decide the outcome oI your growing
experience. Below are a Iew tips when selecting your vegetable, herb and Ilower seeds.
Vegetables: Selecting your veggies beIore you design your garden will help ensure you
have the correct amount oI room and the best growing conditions. For smaller gardens
choose bush varieties that take up less room. For shorter growing seasons try Iast
maturing varieties that can produce maximum yields Ior your growing season. Herbs:
Choose herbs by size, growing habits, and liIe expectancy. Many herbs can live as
perennials and will increase in size every season thus needing adequate space to grow
and receive the proper nutrition.
Planning
Planning is the key to success Ior any garden or landscaping you plan to grow this
season. Choosing a plants location, spacing, and Ieedings is important in the success oI
your gardening season. Always be on the saIe side when you garden so never bite o
more than you can chew! Grow a smaller garden, one that can be taken care oI iI time is
scarce. Always leave enough space between vegetables, herbs, and Ilowers in order Ior
them to breathe correctly and receive proper nutrition. Choose varieties that are correct
Ior your growing conditions. Perennials cannot survive in certain locations so know your
hardiness zone and choose perennials accordingly. For vegetables plan your yields
according to Iamily size and whether you will need to Ireeze, can or practice successive
gardening in order to have Iresh crops every couple weeks.
Sowing
Most soil mixes consisting oI peat, perlite, and vermiculite are excellent seed sowing
media Ior bedding plants. Besides light and moisture, seeds need warmth to germinate
well. A soil temperature oI 70F is suIIicient Ior most crops. Please see the planting
depth oI most seeds Ior optimal conditions. Some seeds preIer growing just below the
soil including most vegetables, herbs and Ilowers. Although some Ilower seeds need
light to germinate and should be placed on top oI soil.
Transplanting
AIter the seeds have germinated, let the surIace dry out occasionally. Seedlings should
never go through the night with wet leaves. Grow them at proper temperatures as given
in this guide Ior Iast, yet sturdy plants. When seedlings have developed their Iirst set oI
true leaves, they are ready to be transplanted to a 4 inch pot Ior optimal growing
conditions. Many ingredients can be used, to prepare a good growing medium Ior
bedding plants. Most commonly used are 2 parts soil, 1 part peat moss, and 1 part sand
with Iertilizer added. Mist the young plants Irequently during the Iirst week oI transplant
until they are well established, then water more thoroughly and less oIten. Keep your
seedlings growing Iast with the recommended liquid Ieeding program. Some vegetables
are recommended Ior direct sowing such as beans, peas, corn, carrots, radish, pumpkins,
cucumbers and others. Some varieties do much better by starting inside such as
tomatoes, peppers and herbs.
2. Growing Herbs in Herb Gardens
Herbs are essential ingredients Ior Ilavoring and spicing up recipes all over the world. Without them,
eating would be pretty bland. Herbs add Ilavor, character, and uniqueness to recipes. Used alone or in
combination, they help to make cooking Iun and enjoyable, and eating a sheer joy!
Herb gardening can be done in a very little space. All it takes is a Iew herb plants, grown along the side
oI the house or garage, and you have an ample supply Ior the kitchen. Try growing herbs in a container
on your balcony or deck. They are very comIortable in windowsill planters, too. Many herbs make
good indoor houseplants during the winter months.
Varieties:
There are a wide variety oI herbs which you can use. Depending on who is counting, there are 40 to 60
diIIerent kinds oI herbs. Each one has it's own distinct Ilavoring. Most are easy to grow. There are
annuals, perennials and even biennials.
With that many herbs, there should be lots or uses, right!?! Absolutely! Listed below are the diIIerent
categories oI herbs. Note, many Iall into two or more categories.
Aromatic Herbs-Grown Ior their scent, aromatics herbs are used in Ilower vases or dried
arrangements. Their oils are used in perIumes, candles, and toiletries to name a Iew. A couple oI
Iavorites are Lavender and Mint.
Culinary Herbs-We think oI this category oI herb Iirst and Ioremost. Most gardeners grow a
Iew or several varieties. Needless to say, Iood would be plain and boring without this group oI
herbs. Some oI the more popular include Basil, Chives and Dill.
Medicinal Herbs-Since ancient times, many types oI herbs have been used in medicine and
believed to have the power to cure a wide range oI ailments. We know some oI them have been
proved to be true. Others, like garlic, have preventative characteristics. (A garlic a day keeps the
Cholesterol away" ...sorry, I couldn't resist!) Also in ancient times, many herbs were believed to
have the power to ward oII evil spirits. We all are too Iamiliar with the belieI that Garlic worn
around the neck will ward oII vampires.
Ornamental Herbs-They are commonly grown Ior Iresh or dried arrangements. Ornamental
herbs also make the Ilower gardens look nicer. That is why herbs are oIten grown amidst the
Ilowers. In this sense, they are used like a Ilower. You probably consider most oI these to also
Iit within another category oI herb. II so, you are right!
The Value of Medicinal Herbs:
Since ancient times, herbs were, and continue to be used Ior a wide variety oI medicinal purposes.
Some herbs, most notably Garlic, were used to ward oII evil spirits. Over the years, many herbs were
proven to be eIIective in the treatment oI a wide range oI ailments and injuries.
Planting Herbs:
Herb gardens are Iun and easy to grow. They also take up little space. Many growers put herb gardens
up against their house or garage wall, so they can walk out and pick the herbs they need Ior the day's
meal.
Tip:II you are growing perennials or biennials, make sure to plan your Herb garden so as not to disturb
them the next year.
You can select your own Iavorites, or buy a package with a wide variety. We encourage you to
experiment and try new herbs each year. That way, you will be certain to try new recipes all winter
long.
Most herbs grow best in well drained, Iairly Iertile soil with a neutral pH oI 6.5 to 7.0.
Seeds can be sown indoors or out. Many seeds are very tiny and Iine. Make sure not to plant them
deeply. Just barely cover the seed and keep the top surIace oI the soil moist. Thin seedlings according
to the instructions on the seed packet.
Insects and Pests:
Few pests aIIect the herb Iamily. In Iact, some herbs, such as garlic, are used in organic pesticide
Iormulas. Occasionally mites and aphids can bother a number oI herb varieties.
Disease:
Disease is not too common among the herb Iamily.
Harvesting and Drying Herbs:
It is best to harvest herbs in the morning. This is when the oils are the highest concentration.
Immediately aIter harvesting them, wash them in cool water. Then spread them out on a drying rack.
Allow good ventilation. They should dry in two to three days. Many herbs can also be Irozen Ior later
use(culinary herbs).
Did you Know?It is the oil in herbs that gives herbs their aroma and Ilavor.
3. HERB Specific Instructions and Tips
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Chives are hardy perennials that are attractive, tasty, and easy to grow. These rugged herbs grow in lush
grasslike clumps that rise Irom a cluster oI small bulbs. The snipped leaves add a pleasing touch to
soups, salads, and vegetable dishes, providing both color and a mild onion or garlic Ilavor. In spring
and summer, chives boast globelike Ilowers that are popular as edible garnishes.
Growing Chives In the Landscape Use chives as a perennial edging or border plant in a Ilower bed or
herb garden. Depending on the selection, chives grow 10 to 20 inches tall and have the same tidy
appearance as ornamental liriope.
Chives Species and Selections Common chives (Allium schoenoprasum) have hollow leaves with a
mild onion Ilavor. Plants grow to 10 to 12 inches tall. The leaves disappear in the Iall at Iirst Ireeze and
reappear in early spring. Soon aIter, the plants produce lavender Ilowers that can be used to make a
rose-colored vinegar. The selection ProIusion has long-lasting edible Ilowers that do not Iorm seeds.
Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) are also called Chinese chives. They grow about twice as large as
common chives and Ieature Ilatter, wider leaves. Garlic chives have a mild garlic Ilavor and are popular
in Asian cooking. They are also appreciated in Ilower beds, where they grow to 20 inches tall when in
bloom. Their white umbel oI Ilowers, the Ilat or rounded Ilower cluster that springs Irom the same
point, appears in mid- to late summer when many other perennials have begun to Iade. Garlic chives
are evergreen in areas where winters are mild. II the Ilowers are leIt to go to seed, many seedlings will
sprout the next spring.
Did you know?In late spring and summer, lavender and white blooms will add Iresh color to your
garden. Chives also grow well in containers.
Sowing Chives:
Chives like rich, well-drained soil with a pH oI 6.0 to 7.0. Add a slow-release Iertilizer to the soil
beIore or during planting. Keep Iaded blooms pinched back to promote leaI growth. II you harvest
oIten, Iertilize plants every two weeks with a balanced liquid Iertilizer diluted according to label
directions. About every three to Iour years, divide the clumps in early spring or aIter Ilowering, as the
bulbs can become too crowded.
Did you know?Troubleshooting Chives When harvesting chives, do not cut down the entire clump
because the plant needs some oI its leaves to ensure Iuture growth.
Days to Maturity:
Mature at around 5 weeks
How to Grow Chive:
Plant chives in Iull sun; plants will survive in partial shade, but the mounds will not be as Iull.For
quickest results, start with purchased plants or transplants and set them out in the garden in early
spring. In the lower and GulI South, plant chives in Iall Ior a winter harvest. You can also grow chives
Irom seed, but it will take a year to produce a clump large enough to use. Sow seeds directly in the
garden aIter the last Irost. When seedlings are about 3 inches tall, thin them to 8 inches apart.
Tip:Add chives to dishes at the end oI the cooking process, as their mild Ilavor can be destroyed by
heat. Chives are excellent in egg dishes, potatoes, sauces, and with vegetables. Garnish cold soups and
Harvesting:
You can begin harvesting leaves as soon as they are big enough to clip and use. Cut Irom the outside oI
the clump, about 1/2 inch above soil level, always leaving plenty to restore energy to the plant.
Although Iresh is best, you can store extra Ior winter use by chopping and Ireezing the leaves, or you
can also preserve them in herb butters, oils, and vinegars, where they blend well with parsley and
tarragon. Harvest chives as you need them. In the GulI South, it is especially important to harvest oIten
to encourage new growth. Rather than shearing the entire plant, select leaves Irom the outside oI the
clump and cut each one about 1/2 inch above soil level. Cutting them higher may leave unsightly
brown stubs.
II you have more chives than you can use at the moment, chop Iresh leaves and Ireeze them in water in
ice cube trays. InIuse oils with Iresh chives or preserve the herbs in butters and vinegars. In: salads,
including garden, pasta, and potato salads, with the leaves and blooms oI garlic chives.
Insects and Pests:
Watch Ior aphids, especially in spring. Spray with neem or insecticidal soap. Spray will bead up on the
waxy leaves, so be sure it comes in contact with the pests, especially down in the crown oI the plant.
Garlic chives reseed generously iI you let the seed mature; this can be a plus, but in the wrong place,
you will Iind yourselI pulling up lots oI seedlings.
Diseases of Chive:
There are Iew known diseases.
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Plant thyme in your herb garden, at the edge oI a walk, along a short garden wall, or in containers. As a
special garden treat, put a Iew along a walkway and between steps, and your Iootsteps will release its
aroma. It even makes a pretty patch oI small ground cover. Growing thyme provides an anchor in an
herb garden in areas where it is evergreen in winter. Thyme is also perIect Ior containers, either alone
or in combination with plants that won`t shade it out. The Ilowers open in spring and summer,
sprinkling the plant with tiny, two-lipped blossoms attractive to bees.
Did you know? Optimum growth and Ilavor depends on moist soil. When plants grow under stressIul
conditions such as drought or heat, the leaves can become unpleasantly spicy Ior most tastes. Keep the
soil evenly moist.
Sowing Thyme seeds
Thyme does best in Iull sun. Start Irom young plants set out in spring aIter the last Irost. Plant in well-
drained soil with a pH oI about 7.0; it preIers slightly alkaline conditions. Add lime to the pot or ground
to raise the pH iI needed. Also add a slow-release Iertilizer to the soil at or beIore planting and again
each spring. Thyme must have excellent drainage. Mulching with limestone gravel or builder`s sand
improves drainage and prevents root rot. German thyme is perennial in zones 5 to 9, lemon thyme in
zones 7 to 9. Easy to grow, thyme needs little care except Ior a regular light pruning aIter the Iirst year.
Do this aIter the last spring Irost, so that the plants do not get woody and brittle.
Pinching the tips oI the stems keeps plants bushy, but stop clipping about a month beIore the Iirst Irost
oI Iall to make sure that new growth is not too tender going into the cool weather. Cut thyme back by
one third in spring, always cutting above points where you can see new growth, never below into the
leaIless woody stem. Lemon thyme is more upright and more vigorous than the other thymes. In the
North and cold climates, cover with pine boughs aIter the soil Ireezes to help protect Irom winter
damage. In zone 10, thyme is usually an annual, oIten succumbing to heat and humidity in mid-
summer.
Days to Maturity
6 to 9 weeks to mature.
How to grow Thyme: TIP:Mustard greens are not as cold hardy as kale and collards. II you expect a
hard Ireeze, pick your
mustard greens and reIrigerate. A large harvest will cook down to a good-sized nutritious side dish.
Harvesting:
Harvest leaves as you need them, including through the winter in places where it is evergreen.
Although the Ilavor is most concentrated just beIore plants bloom, thyme is so aromatic that the leaves
have good Ilavor all the time. Strip the tiny leaves Irom woody stems beIore using.
Insects Pests & Diseases
Sometimes aphids, Powdery Mildew, Bacterial spots.
Hardiness
Spider mites can be a problem in dry weather. Also watch out Ior root rot and Iungus diseases in humid
climates. Good drainage, good air circulation, and proper planting as described above will help prevent
disease.
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Mustard Greens are Iast growing, nutritious leaIy greens. They`re perIect Ior gardens and containers in
both spring and Iall. Although not quite as cold hardy as their cousins, collards and Kale, mustard
greens do tolerate a light Irost, which makes their leaves sweeter. In areas where there are no killing
Ireezes, gardeners enjoy these easy, piquant greens all winter long. The mustard patch is a pretty sight
in the cool season garden. The leaIy plants are good companions to Iall Ilowers such as pansies.
Mustard greens grow in a rosette oI leaves up to about a Ioot-and-a-halI tall. You can simmer the big
peppery greens or pick smaller, young leaves to eat raw in salads and sandwiches.
BeIorev you plant the seedlings Irom our pots, separate them into a Iew clumps to get stronger plants
Iaster.
Did you know? Optimum growth and Ilavor depends on moist soil. When plants grow under stressIul
conditions such as drought or heat, the leaves can become unpleasantly spicy Ior most tastes. Keep the
soil evenly moist.
Sowing Mustard seeds
In the springtime, sow the seed in drills about 18 inch deep and 15 inches apart, as the last Irost
deadline nears. II you live in the South, you can also seed in September or October Ior harvest in the
Iall and winter. Once the plants are up, thin to 9 or 10 inches apart, and then you can almost ignore
them. II you`re interested in harvesting a lot oI seed, however, Ieed the plants regularly.
Mustard leaves grow Iast and most tender in moist, rich soil. Sun is ideal, but because they make only
leaves and not Iruit, they are a little more tolerant oI shade than Iruiting vegetables like tomatoes.
Enrich the soil by spreading 3 to 6 inches oI compost over the area you plan to plant. Then turn it into
the ground or raised bed with a digging Iork. For pots, use a premium quality potting mix. It always
seems early when it`s time to plant mustard, but it pays to plan ahead. For Fall harvest, set plants in the
garden 4 to 6 weeks beIore the Iirst expected Irost. In spring, you can start about 4 weeks ahead oI the
last Irost date and continue planting a little aIter.
Days to Maturity
30- to 60 days to mature.
How to grow Mustard: TIP:add 10 to 15 pounds oI 5-10-10 Iertilizer per 500 square Ieet, or the
organic equivalent. Thoroughly work the amendments into the top 2 to 3 inches oI soil just prior to
seeding.
Harvesting:
Juncea leaves Ior salad when they`re small, young, and tender, or use the larger leaves Ior sauteing or
stewing. Add young leaves to stir-Iries and salads. Mustard greens add a nice, sharp Ilavor contrast to
mild, buttery lettuces and thereIore are oIten one oI the plants Iound in mesclun mixes.
Pods should be air-dried in a warm place Ior about two weeks. Spread them out on clean muslin, an old
sheet, or a Iine screen. Once dry, gently crush the pods to remove the seeds and hulls.
Insects Pests & Diseases
Sometimes aphids, Powdery Mildew, Bacterial spots.
Hardiness
Watch out iI you let the pods get too ripe, or your garden could become overrun with mustard plants,
which may be exactly what you want. II you want to harvest seeds, however, pick the pods just aIter
they change Irom green to brown, beIore they are entirely ripe; otherwise they will shatter and the Iine
seed will blow into every corner oI your garden.
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Dill is a zesty seasoning that is a popular addition to many Ioods but is most commonly used in
pickling to make dill pickles. Both the seeds and the leaves can be used, and the leaves are sometimes
reIerred to as dill weed. Even the umbrella-like yellow Ilower clusters can be use Ior their dilly Ilavor.
It`s technically an annual, but because it seeds itselI so easily, you will Iind that dill will just come back
each spring as new plants are sprouted. Dill extremely easy to grow which makes it a Iavorite among
herb gardeners.
Did you know? Not to plant your dill near closely related plants like Iennel or coriander.
Sowing Dill:
They will easily cross-pollinate with each other, which will leave you with hybrid dill seeds that don`t
have the right Ilavor. It will ruin your Iennel or coriander too. Regular varieties oI dill will grow to a
height oI 2 to 3 Ieet, and may shade other plants. But it`s a very Iine-leaIed plant so it doesn`t cast a lot
oI shade. And because it is a delicate plant, don`t start your dill where it will be subject to high winds.
They`ll need a Iull day oI sun as well.You can just sow your seeds right out into the garden, around the
time oI your last Irost date. Cover with a 1/4 inch oI soil. Spacing isn`t a big issue with dill because it is
a very Ieathery plant and can be grown quite close together.Even though it can get tall, you should try
to plant dill near the rest oI your main vegetable or herb garden. The plants attract lacewings, and
lacewing larvae will help control your aphid pests.
Days to Maturity:
60 days until seeds are ready, leaves in 30 days
How to Grow Dill:
Dill is one oI the most maintenance-Iree plants you are going to Iind. It had very long roots, so once it`s
established, you won`t need to worry about regular watering chores. Do give your plants a drink iI you
have a stretch oI dry weather though. It`s a light Ieeder and won`t require any additional Iertilizing. In
Iact, soil that is too rich in nutrients will lead to less-IlavorIul dill.To keep your plant Irom getting too
tall or leggy, continually pinch out the top buds. This will make Ior a bushier plant, giving you more
leaves to harvest.II you are growing your dill in a grouping, the tall plants usually provide each other
with enough support to stay upright. Plants growing Iarther apart, or just growing individually may
need a bit oI support to keep them Irom bending over. They shouldn`t need a cage or anything like that,
but a tall stake or trellis can help your Ilimsy dill stand tall. Dill does not compete well, particularly
within the Iirst month or so. Keep the area well weeded. Even with established plants, you want to keep
the weeds to a minimum. Your dill can survive but the aromatic oil production in the leaves will be
reduced iI the plant has to complete with weeds Ior water.
Harvesting:
You can start to snip oII dill leaves aIter the Iirst Iew weeks oI growth, but your harvest oI seed will
have to wait until the plants have Ilowered. Collect the seeds once the blooms have completely dried
and gone to seed. Don`t wait too long because they disperse quickly. You can easily Iind that all the
seeds on a plant are gone overnight. Not only will you lose your harvest, you will then Iind a lot more
dill around the yard next season.
Once your dill plants bloom and go to seed, they won`t produce any more leaves. For an extended
period oI dill weed harvesting, you can snip oII the new Ilowers oI some oI your plants to keep them
sprouting new leaves.Since it won`t grow more leaves aIter blooming, your harvest opportunities will
be reduced until winter. But your dill plants are somewhat Irost tolerant and can usually survived the
Iirst Iew light Irosts.Fresh dill weed can be stored in the reIrigerator Ior up to 3 weeks and still maintain
its Ilavor. Both the seeds and the leaves can be dried and stored Ior many months in an air-tight
container. Leaves can be Irozen as well, but they will lose a lot oI their Ilavor iI stored this way.
Insects and Pests:
Caterpillars oI the swallowtail butterIly are partial to dill, and they can eat many oI the leaves oII your
plants. Pick them oII when you Iind them, and spray your plants with an insecticide spray to keep them
away. These caterpillars are also sometimes called parsley worms. Having these lovely butterIlies
around the garden can be nice so don`t be too rigid about killing oII the caterpillars. Some people
actually plant extra dill to accommodate them.
Diseases of Dill:
Not very many diseases are a problem Ior dill. Alternaria blight is a Iungus that can attack your plants
right around the time when the seeds are starting to Iorm. The leaves will start to yellow and may drop
oII. A Iungicide may help, but you should pull aIIected plants as soon as you discover the problem to
keep it Irom spreading to the whole patch oI dill.
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Oregano, an herb with a robust scent and Ilavor, loves to grow in pots where it can spill over an edge oI
a pot or low wall. However, its trailing growth also makes it a good seasonal ground cover, or it can
serve as a nice edging along a path. In late summer, enjoy Greek or Italian oregano`s white Ilowers
against its bright-green leaves. Grow oregano in an herb garden or in containers.
Did you know?
The 'secret ingredient in Aunt Bee`s spaghetti sauce, oregano adds deep Ilavor to Italian or Greek
dishes, meat, Iish, eggs, cheese, tomatoes, and vegetables such as beans and zucchini. A light sprinkling
over a green salad beIore dressing it is a tasty enhancement. Oregano does not hold up well to
prolonged cooking when used Iresh, so add Iresh leaves at the end oI the cooking process or use dried
leaves Ior sauces or anything that requires lengthy simmering. Dried oregano Ilower stalks may be used
in craIt-making
Sowing Oregano seeds
Culinary members oI Origanum are easy-to-grow perrinials that tolerate a variety oI soils, as long as
those soils are well drained. Like most Mediterranean-type herbs, they need only moderate h2o and
grow best in a gravelly loam in Iull sun. II your soil retains too much moisture, grow oregano in raised
beds or containers. Water. As easy as oregano is to grow, it has one deIinite dislike: too much moisture.
Humidity, periods oI excessive rain, or overwatering leads to root rot, which eventually kills the plant.
To avoid it, ammend your soil with plenty oI organic matter to ensure better drainage. II too much
humidity is a problem, encourage good air circulation by giving your plants plenty oI room to spread.
Fertilizing: Oregano's Iertilizer needs are minimal and oIten nonexistent, especially iI you amend the
soil with compost or other organic matter. Keep in mind that container-grown plants need to be watered
and Iertilized more oIten than plants grown in the ground. I usually Iertilize my container herbs every 6
to 10 weeks during the growing season. Mulch. A stone mulch or light-colored gravel spread around the
base oI plants helps keep the soil surIace dry.
Days to Maturity
Every 6-12 weeks Ior Iull maturing.
How to grow Oregano:
Pinch or trim the stems oI oregano regularly to keep the plant bushy and tender. Oregano preIers a
sunny spot; however, in zone 7 and Iarther south, it beneIits Irom a little aIternoon shade. Set plants in
well-drained soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.0. Most herbs don`t like much Iertilizer; Ieed
occasionally throughout the growing season and always in early spring as the new season begins.
Oregano spreads easily; in late spring, cut it back to one-third oI its size in order to make the plant
bushier. In milder climates (zone 8 and southward), oregano is evergreen. In zone 7 and northward,
protect plants with mulch through the winter, or cover them with a cold Irame. Small plants in
containers can be moved indoors Ior the winter. Cut out dead stems in the spring beIore the plants
begin new growth.
TIP:Depending on the type oI oregano, the Ilavor can be pretty strong, so start with a small amount
a little goes a long way. Taste as you go and add more iI needed.
Harvesting Oregano:
Both Greek and Italian oregano produce white blooms in summer. This plant stretches tall as it gets
ready to bloom.
Harvest plants oIten Ior continued new growth. Begin by snipping sprigs oI oregano as soon as the
plant is several inches tall. The Ilavor oI oregano is most intense in mid-summer, just beIore it blooms,
making this the best time to harvest leaves Ior drying. This herb is stronger dried than Iresh. For a big
harvest, cut the stems just above the plant`s lowest set oI leaves; this encourages new growth Ior the
next cutting in late summer. Oregano leaves may be dried, Irozen, or reIrigerated.
Insects Pests & Diseases
Sometimes aphids, Powdery Mildew, Bacterial spots.
Hardiness
Your oregano plant will take oII in a sunny spot with good growing conditions.
Root rot, spider mites, and aphids can all attack oregano. Be sure oregano is well drained to prevent
disease, and pick oII any browning or spotted Ioliage. In the garden it is easy to mistake an oregano
plant Ior look-alike sweet marjoram, although the two are easily distinguished by their Ilavors and
scents.
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Sweet marjoram, a low-growing plant native to the Mediterranean, makes a pretty summer
groundcover or edging. A subtly colored plant, marjoram has thin, gray-green leaves and, in early
summer, small knot-like Ilowers along the stem ranging in color Irom lilac to white.
It grows well in the garden or in containers, and you can plant a nice kitchen window box using
marjoram with parsley, basil, and summer annuals.
Did you know?
The 'secret ingredient in Aunt Bee`s spaghetti sauce, oregano adds deep Ilavor to Italian or Greek
dishes, meat, Iish, eggs, cheese, tomatoes, and vegetables such as beans and zucchini. A light sprinkling
over a green salad beIore dressing it is a tasty enhancement. Oregano does not hold up well to
prolonged cooking when used Iresh, so add Iresh leaves at the end oI the cooking process or use dried
leaves Ior sauces or anything that requires lengthy simmering. Dried oregano Ilower stalks may be used
in craIt-making
Sowing Marjoram seeds
Plant sweet marjoram in the spring once there is no longer threat oI Irost. Sweet marjoram is slow-
growing, so you will want to start with young plants instead oI seed. Plant them 12 inches apart in Iull
sun in rich, well-drained soil with a pH between 6.7 and 7.0, adding a slow-release Iertilizer to the soil
at or beIore planting. Continue to Iertilize throughout the growing season. Sweet marjoram will grow to
about 12 to 24 inches tall. Be sure to trim plants when buds appear (and beIore they Ilower) to ensure
continued growth.
II you live north oI zone 7, take cuttings Irom late spring to the middle oI summer to keep in indoor
pots Ior the winter. Otherwise, liIt plants in the Iall. Marjoram may also be divided in the spring or Iall
to begin new plants.
Days to Maturity
Every 6-12 weeks Ior Iull maturing. Around 12-24 inches tall.
How to grow Marjoram:
Note that the care oI sweet marjoram diIIers depending on your location. In zones 9 and 10, sweet
marjoram is perennial, but you might need to use mulch Ior protection in winter. Marjoram in zones 7
and 8 must also be mulched in winter, and even then there is no guarantee it will survive the cold
weather. Marjoram should be grown only as a summer annual in zones 6 and colder. However, in south
Florida, marjoram is a winter annual, which means that it will not endure summer heat and humidity.
Water the plants during extended dry spells, but be sure not to over-water, as sweet marjoram likes a
slightly dry climate.
TIP:Sweet marjoram, used lightly at the end oI the cooking process, adds a nice, mellow Ilavor to
vegetables such as spinach, beans, peas, and carrots. It is good in salads and herbed butters, as well as
in vinaigrettes.
Harvesting:
Pick Iresh marjoram leaves as needed, beginning 4 to 6 weeks aIter planting.
Marjoram is a very useIul herb, as it keeps its Iull Ilavor even when dried. In order to dry marjoram,
pick the leaves just aIter Ilower buds appear but beIore they open, removing no more than a third oI the
plant`s leaves in a single harvest. Once the leaves have dried, strip them Irom the stem. You may
harvest again when Ilower buds reappear later in the season.
Insects Pests & Diseases
Sometimes aphids, Powdery Mildew, Bacterial spots.
Hardiness
Established plants require little care, other than occasional watering. Since marjoram is tolerant oI
drought, it makes an exceptional plant Ior beginner herb growers. II you happen to Iorget to water it,
that`s ok.
There`s no need Ior Iertilizer either when growing marjoram herbs. It`s hardy enough to basically care
Ior itselI.
During mild weather, marjoram plants grown indoors can be taken outside and placed in a sunny area.
However, container-grown plants should always be moved indoors or to another sheltered location once
cold temperatures or Irost is imminent.
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Did you know that Parsley is an easy to grow vegetable? That's right, a vegetable! Almost everyone
thinks oI it as a herb. We suggest you grow it in a Ilower garden near the house, or a container,
especially iI your garden space is limited. By planting it near your house, you can quickly harvest some
Ior cooking, and it will continue to grow well into the Iall months.
As a herb, parsley has a mild Ilavor which is used in a wide variety oI recipes. It also is an important
garnish, decorating many types oI trays and dishes. Kids seem to like to take Parsley garnish, and
munch on it.
Did you Know?Hamburg Parsley is grown Ior it's long root to Ilavor soups and stews. It is an excellent
source oI vitamins A,C, calcium and iron.
Try growing this herb in a sunny window and enjoy it Iresh all winter. We do! Thought for the Day:If
a parsley grower is sued, can you garnish his wages? Growing Parsley Plants: While Parsley is a
biennial, it is oIten grown as an annual, especially in colder climates.
Parsley plants can be started indoors or out. We suggest you sow these tiny parsley seeds indoors, and
let them grow Ior a Iew weeks prior to planting outdoors. They transplant easily. And, transplanting
aIIords easy spacing.
Sow seeds thinly. Parsley seeds are so Iine, you can sow on top oI the soil and just water them in.
Germination can take two weeks. Young plants will grow slowly, but steadily.
Parsley can grow in partly shady areas. The soil should be rich. This easy to grow herb, tolerates poor
soil and poor drainage. So, you can be put parsley in areas oI the garden that other plants do not like.
Harvesting:
Begin to pick parsley as soon as the leaves begin to curl and are oI suIIicient size Ior your recipe. For
best Ilavor oI this mild herb, pick early in the day when the oils are the strongest.
Insects and Pests:
Aphids will inIrequently enjoy a meal oI your parsley. Aphids have Iar too many other Ilowers and
vegetables that they preIer much more.
We recommend tolerating the occasional inIestation, rather than using insecticides.
Hardiness:
Parsley is very hardy. Parsley that has wintered over in your garden will begin their growth with the
Iirst rays oI sun in the spring . New growth begins shortly aIter the snow has melted. You will be
harvesting the leaves late into the Iall.
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Rosemary is a woody-stemmed plant with needle-like leaves that can commonly reach 3 Ieet in height,
eventually stretching to 5 Ieet in warmer climates unless clipped. In zone 8 and Iarther south, rosemary
makes a good evergreen hedge. In zone 7 and colder, try growing rosemary in a container you can bring
inside in cold weather. You can even train rosemary into topiary shapes. Plants are tolerant oI salt spray,
making them a good choice Ior pots on the beach.
Did you know?
The 'secret ingredient in Aunt Bee`s spaghetti sauce, oregano adds deep Ilavor to Italian or Greek
dishes, meat, Iish, eggs, cheese, tomatoes, and vegetables such as beans and zucchini. A light sprinkling
over a green salad beIore dressing it is a tasty enhancement. Oregano does not hold up well to
prolonged cooking when used Iresh, so add Iresh leaves at the end oI the cooking process or use dried
leaves Ior sauces or anything that requires lengthy simmering. Dried oregano Ilower stalks may be used
in craIt-making
Sowing Rosemary seeds:
Set out rosemary in spring, planting seedlings 2 to 3 Ieet apart; you can also plant in Iall in zone 8 and
south. Plants are slow growing at Iirst, but pick up speed in their second year. While rosemary tolerates
partial shade, it preIers Iull sun and light, well-drained soil with a pH between 6 and 7. Add a slow-
release Iertilizer to the soil at planting, and reapply in the spring. Or, use a liquid Iertilizer at planting
and periodically thereaIter. Keep the soil uniIormly moist, allowing it to dry out between waterings.
Mulch your plants to keep roots moist in summer and insulated in winter, but take care to keep mulch
away Irom the crown oI the plant. In the spring, prune dead wood out oI the plants.
Days to Maturity:
Every 1-3 months Ior Iull maturing.
TIP: While rosemary blends well with other herbs, use it lightly on its own in lamb, pork, chicken, and
veal dishes, as well as in soups and stews, vegetables, and sauces. Rosemary provides a wonderIul
Ilavor in breads and makes a good marinade with olive oil, wine, and garlic. Rosemary`s aromatic
qualities also enhance a bath, bouquet, wreath, or sachet.
Harvesting:
Cut stems at any time Ior Iresh rosemary. To dry rosemary, use a rack or hang it upside down in
bunches to dry. Once stems are dry, strip the leaves Irom them. You can also Ireeze rosemary sprigs,
preserve them in vinegar, or use them to Ilavor oil or butter.
Insects Pests & Diseases
Sometimes aphids, Powdery Mildew, Bacterial spots.
Hardiness
WhiteIlies, spider mites, scale, and mealybugs can all bother rosemary, as can powdery mildew and
root rot, particularly in humid regions. To prevent mildew and rot, be sure your plants enjoy good
drainage and air circulation. In zone 7 and northward, extreme cold will kill the tops oI the rosemary
plant. In areas where it is likely to be hurt by winter, plant in a protected spot such as one near a south-
Iacing masonry wall and away Irom the prevailing winter wind; also mulch to protect the roots. In zone
8 and Iarther south, rosemary needs no winter protection.
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Cilantro needs its own space in the garden where you can harvest and then let it go to seed. It grows
Iast in the cool weather oI spring and Iall, creating a rosette oI lacy leaves. When the weather gets
warm, the plant sends up a long, lanky Ilower stalk bearing Ilat umbels oI white or pinkish blossoms
which later produce coriander seeds. Plant cilantro in a bed devoted to herbs where it can reseed, or in a
corner oI the vegetable garden. In mild climates, cilantro makes a handsome winter companion to
pansies. Leaves withstand a light Irost.
Harvest cilantro by cutting the leaIy stems near ground level. Cut only about one-third oI the plant at a
time. One oI the surprises that most gardeners get Irom cilantro is that it moves through its liIe cycle so
quickly, especially in spring. II you are lucky enough to live in a mild winter climate, Iall and winter
give you the longest season to harvest. Once you understand this Iast little plant, it`s easy to manage.
Give it its own patch in the garden where you can harvest, then ignore, then harvest again. Harvest
while it`s low, let it get tall when it wants to, then cut oII the tall plants aIter the seeds drop to get it out
oI the way. This makes room Ior the new plants that start themselves Irom the Iallen seeds. Or, oI
course, you can set out new plants every 3 to 4 weeks Ior as long as we have them in the stores, but the
harvest and ignore technique will get you through the in-between times.
Growing cilantro adds a lot oI healthy, Iresh Ilavor to your kitchen. Freshly chopped cilantro is an
excellent source oI potassium, is low in calories, and is good Ior the digestive system. It is best to use
Iresh cilantro in cooking since it does not dry very well. Add chopped leaves at the last minute Ior
maximum Ilavor. Cilantro blends well with mint, cumin, chives, garlic, and marjoram. Store by
Ireezing the leaves in cubes oI water or oil; you can dry them, too, but they lose a lot oI their Ilavor this
way, which explains why growing your own is Iar better than buying it Irom the spice rack.
Did you know?Store coriander seeds in a cool cabinet or the reIrigerator. Use them in curry, poultry,
relishes, and pickles.
Sowing Cilantro seeds
Grow cilantro in Iull sun and well-drained soil with a pH oI 6.2 to 6.8; it will tolerate light shade in the
South and Southwest where the sun is intense. In the South and Southwest, plant 12 to 18 inches apart
in the Iall or the spring about a month beIore the last Irost. Fall is the ideal time to plant in zones 8, 9,
and 10 because the plants will last through until the weather heats up in late spring. When plants begin
to bloom, the Ioliage becomes scarce; Ior steady harvest, set out plants every 3 to 4 weeks until the
weather gets warm in spring, or until the Iirst Irost oI Iall.
Cilantro Irequently selI sows. As seeds Iall to the ground, little plants oIten come up during the season
and the Iollowing spring.
Days to Maturity
Around 6-8 months to mature.
How to grow Cilantro TIP:Cilantro will grow tall and wispy as it starts to bloom. The white Ilowers
later produce the seeds
we all know as coriander.
Harvesting:
Harvest coriander seeds as they turn dry and brown. They`re a main ingredient in curry spice mixes.
You can harvest cilantro`s Ioliage continually in the cooler months oI spring and Iall and through
winter in areas without hard Ireezes. Harvest by cutting the leaIy stems near ground level; most will be
around 6 to 12 inches long. Avoid cutting more than one-third oI the leaves at one time, or you may
weaken the plant. Fertilize with Iish emulsion aIter 4 or 5 harvests.Harvest the seeds by clipping the
brown, round seed heads; place upside down in a paper bag. In a Iew days, the round husks will dry
and split in two, dropping the edible seed inside. Don`t delay seed harvest, or the weak stems will Iall
over.
Insects and Pests
Cilantro occasionally has problems with aphids and whiteIly, wilt, or mildew. For the insects, use
insecticidal soap. To prevent or control wilt and mildew, make sure you clean up spent cilantro plants at
the end oI the season, and remove any inIected plants as soon as possible.
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II you aren't already growing it, make room Ior summer savory (Saturefa hortensis) in your kitchen
garden -- it's earned it. This easy-to-grow, annual herb is aromatic, attracts pollinators, and is an
essential Ior cooks. One oI the oldest known culinary herbs, summer savory has always been wildly
popular with the Greeks and Romans. It was (and is) used as a sauce seasoning that was poured over
poultry, Iish, and meat as well as used as an "antiseptic" Ior the entire digestive tract.
Summer savory's delicate, piney-pepper Ilavor is likened to thyme in culinary dishes. Its sweet-spicy
Ilavor adds just the right touch to eggs, Iish, green beans, poultry, and meats.
Finely chop and sprinkle it over soups and broths or inIuse it to create savory vinegar and savory oil.
Today's gardeners have begun to take another look at old-Iashioned summer savory Ior its pollinator-
attracting qualities in the vegetable garden. Blossoms oI dainty blue, pink, lavender, or white Ilowers
are born in the late spring through the summer. The tiny, tubular blooms attract bees and other
beneIicial insects to the garden, so it's not only a delicious seasoning, but also useIul as a companion
plant in Ilower or vegetable gardens. Like many herbs, summer savory makes itselI at home at home in
any container or window box.
Did you know?Store the seeds in a cool cabinet or the reIrigerator.
Sowing Savory seeds:
Summer savory preIers to be planted in organically rich soil that's slightly alkaline. A side-dressing oI
compost or worm castings oIIers a nutritional boost. Because it's bushy and low-growing, this makes
Ior an excellent edging plant Ior a kitchen garden, herb bed, or vegetable garden.
II more than one savory is planted as seedlings, they should be spaced about 9" apart. Summer savory
seeds can be directly planted into their permanent garden bed in the late spring. OIten gardeners preIer
to direct seed them as it resents having its roots disturbed. Once the seedlings grow to 1" - 2" tall, they
can be thinned with small scissors to about 6"-9" apart. The leaves are primarily harvested when Ilower
buds begin to Iorm.
SoIt-stemmed cuttings can be taken in the summer to pass on to other gardeners. Rooted cuttings can
be planted into containers and then brought indoors Ior winter cooking. The container should be placed
in bright light or a window with a southern exposure.
Days to Maturity:
Around 2-4 months to mature. Or a 3 Ieet spread.
TIP:
My rule oI thumb Ior herbs in the kitchen is "the simpler, the better" and summer savory is no
exception. I like harvesting Iresh green beans, snapping the ends oII, and then steaming them Ior a Iew
minutes in a double-broiler. Then I toss them with real butter and summer savory. Sometimes I add a
little crumbled bacon. People always love them and ask how I get such great Ilavor Irom my green
beans. I wish I could tell them that I would need to copy some incredibly secret recipe, but the answer
isn't worth emailing: it's just Iresh beans and summer savory.
Harvesting:
Harvest savory Iresh as needed, both leaves and stems. Winter savory can be harvested year round. In
regions with a long growing season, cut plants back at the beginning oI spring Ior second growth and a
second harvest. For dried leaves, cut 6- to 8-inch stems just beIore Ilowering.
Insects and Pests
Occasionally has problems with aphids and whiteIly, wilt, or mildew. For the insects, use insecticidal
soap. To prevent or control wilt and mildew, make sure you clean up spent cilantro plants at the end oI
the season, and remove any inIected plants as soon as possible.
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Basil is a leaIy, Iragrant annual with a bushy appearance. The most common type oI basil is sweet
basil; other types include purple basil (less sweet than common basil), Lemon basil (lemon Ilavor), and
Thai basil (licorice Ilavor). Basil is easy to grow and works well in Italian dishes, but it only grows in
the summer, so plan accordingly.
Did you know?If the weather is going to be cold, be sure to harvest your basil beIorehand, as the cold
weather will destroy your plants.
Varieties of Basil:
-Cinnamon basil, to add a hint oI cinnamon to a dish -Purple basil, to add some nice color to
your garden (when steeped in white vinegar, it creates a beautiIul color)
-Thai basil, to add a sweet licorice Ilavor to a dish.
Sowing Basil Seeds:
Make sure that the soil is moist. Basil plants like moisture. II you live in a hot area, use mulch around
the basil plants (the mulch will help keep the soil moist). Make sure to pick the leaves regularly to
encourage growth throughout the summer. AIter 6 weeks, pinch oII the center shoot to prevent early
Ilowering. II Ilowers do grow, just cut them oII. During the dry periods in summer, water the plants
Ireely. Remember to pinch out the Ilower heads.
Did you know?II the weather is going to be cold, be sure to harvest your basil beIorehand, as the cold
weather will destroy your plants.
Days to Maturity:
Generally around 5-8 weeks total.
How to Grow Basil:
To get a head start, start the seeds indoors 6 weeks beIore the last spring Irost. Ensure your outdoor site
gets 6 to 8 hours oI Iull Sun daily; soil should be moist and well-drained. AIter the last Irost date, plant
the seeds/seedlings in the ground about 1/4-inch deep. The soil should be around 70oF Ior best growth.
Plant the seeds/seedlings about 10 to 12 inches apart. They should grow to about 12 to 24 inches in
height. For smaller plants, plant Iarther apart (about 16 to 24 inches).
II you're planning on cooking with these plants, plant in clean soil (don't use Iertilizers that leave
harmIul residues) and grow them away Irom driveways and busy streets so that exhaust won't settle on
the plants.
Tip:Tomatoes make great neighbors Ior basil plants in the garden.
Harvesting:
AIter the seedlings have their Iirst six leaves, prune to above the second set. Every time a branch has
six to eight leaves, repeat pruning the branches back to their Iirst set oI leaves. The best time to harvest
is right when the plant starts to bud (beIore the Ilowers bloom). Basil is most pungent when it is Iresh.
II pruned regularly, twelve basil plants will produce 4 to 6 cups oI leaves per week. The best method
Ior storing basil is Ireezing. Freezing will prevent the plant Irom losing any oI its Ilavor. To quick-
Ireeze basil, dry whole sprigs oI basil and package them in airtight plastic bags.Another storage method
is drying the basil (although some oI the Ilavor will be lost). Pinch oII the leaves at the stem and place
them in a well-ventilated and shady area. AIter 3 to 4 days, iI the plants are not completely dry, place
them in the oven on the lowest heat setting with the door slightly open. Remember to turn the leaves
(Ior equal drying) and check them Irequently.
Insects and Pests:
mainly just Aphids.
Diseases of Basil:
Variety oI bacterial and Iungal leaI, stem, and root diseases

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Chives are hardy perennials that are attractive, tasty, and easy to grow. These rugged herbs grow in lush
grasslike clumps that rise Irom a cluster oI small bulbs. The snipped leaves add a pleasing touch to
soups, salads, and vegetable dishes, providing both color and a mild onion or garlic Ilavor. In spring
and summer, chives boast globelike Ilowers that are popular as edible garnishes.
Growing Chives In the Landscape Use chives as a perennial edging or border plant in a Ilower bed or
herb garden. Depending on the selection, chives grow 10 to 20 inches tall and have the same tidy
appearance as ornamental liriope.
Chives Species and Selections Common chives (Allium schoenoprasum) have hollow leaves with a
mild onion Ilavor. Plants grow to 10 to 12 inches tall. The leaves disappear in the Iall at Iirst Ireeze and
reappear in early spring. Soon aIter, the plants produce lavender Ilowers that can be used to make a
rose-colored vinegar. The selection ProIusion has long-lasting edible Ilowers that do not Iorm seeds.
Garlic chives (Allium tuberosum) are also called Chinese chives. They grow about twice as large as
common chives and Ieature Ilatter, wider leaves. Garlic chives have a mild garlic Ilavor and are popular
in Asian cooking. They are also appreciated in Ilower beds, where they grow to 20 inches tall when in
bloom. Their white umbel oI Ilowers, the Ilat or rounded Ilower cluster that springs Irom the same
point, appears in mid- to late summer when many other perennials have begun to Iade. Garlic chives
are evergreen in areas where winters are mild. II the Ilowers are leIt to go to seed, many seedlings will
sprout the next spring.
Did you know?In late spring and summer, lavender and white blooms will add Iresh color to your
garden. Chives also grow well in containers.
Sowing Chives:
Chives like rich, well-drained soil with a pH oI 6.0 to 7.0. Add a slow-release Iertilizer to the soil
beIore or during planting. Keep Iaded blooms pinched back to promote leaI growth. II you harvest
oIten, Iertilize plants every two weeks with a balanced liquid Iertilizer diluted according to label
directions. About every three to Iour years, divide the clumps in early spring or aIter Ilowering, as the
bulbs can become too crowded.
Did you know?Troubleshooting Chives When harvesting chives, do not cut down the entire clump
because the plant needs some oI its leaves to ensure Iuture growth.
Days to Maturity:
Mature at around 5 weeks
How to Grow Garlic Chive:
Plant chives in Iull sun; plants will survive in partial shade, but the mounds will not be as Iull.For
quickest results, start with purchased plants or transplants and set them out in the garden in early
spring. In the lower and GulI South, plant chives in Iall Ior a winter harvest. You can also grow chives
Irom seed, but it will take a year to produce a clump large enough to use. Sow seeds directly in the
garden aIter the last Irost. When seedlings are about 3 inches tall, thin them to 8 inches apart.
Tip:Add chives to dishes at the end oI the cooking process, as their mild Ilavor can be destroyed by
heat. Chives are excellent in egg dishes, potatoes, sauces, and with vegetables. Garnish cold soups and
Harvesting:
You can begin harvesting leaves as soon as they are big enough to clip and use. Cut Irom the outside oI
the clump, about 1/2 inch above soil level, always leaving plenty to restore energy to the plant.
Although Iresh is best, you can store extra Ior winter use by chopping and Ireezing the leaves, or you
can also preserve them in herb butters, oils, and vinegars, where they blend well with parsley and
tarragon. Harvest chives as you need them. In the GulI South, it is especially important to harvest oIten
to encourage new growth. Rather than shearing the entire plant, select leaves Irom the outside oI the
clump and cut each one about 1/2 inch above soil level. Cutting them higher may leave unsightly
brown stubs.
II you have more chives than you can use at the moment, chop Iresh leaves and Ireeze them in water in
ice cube trays. InIuse oils with Iresh chives or preserve the herbs in butters and vinegars. In: salads,
including garden, pasta, and potato salads, with the leaves and blooms oI garlic chives.
Insects and Pests:
Watch Ior aphids, especially in spring. Spray with neem or insecticidal soap. Spray will bead up on the
waxy leaves, so be sure it comes in contact with the pests, especially down in the crown oI the plant.
Garlic chives reseed generously iI you let the seed mature; this can be a plus, but in the wrong place,
you will Iind yourselI pulling up lots oI seedlings.
Diseases of Garlic Chive:
There are Iew known diseases.
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Sage is prized Ior its soIt, textured leaves both in the kitchen and the garden. Young sage starts out in a
tender clump that grows wider and more woody with time.
Common sage takes the Iorm oI a low shrub that is oIten wider than it is tall. The soIt gray-green
Ioliage is great in pots or the garden. Consider planting sage in a container with rosemary, basil, and
other Mediterranean herbs Ior a Iragrant mix. While cooks appreciate the distinctive taste and scent oI
sage, gardeners enjoy its velvety, evergreen Ioliage, and delicate blooms.
Did you know?Sage needs light, well-drained soil, which makes it a good container plant. A clay pot
works well Ior sage because it dries out quickly.
Sowing Sage seeds
II you live in Zone 4 to 7, your sage will grow as a hardy perennial. However, in the humid climes oI
zones 8 and Iarther south, sage is usually an annual, as it does not easily tolerate summer heat and
humidity.Set out transplants in spring or Iall. Choose a sunny spot in well-drained soil with a pH
between 6.5 and 7. For better drainage and lighter soil, add sand and organic matter to clay soil.
Prune plants back in early spring every year, cutting out the oldest growth to promote new growth. You
will begin to see little pink or purple Ilowers in late spring. Even with pruning, plants can get woody
and stop producing lots oI branches aIter 3 to 5 years. At this point, you may want to dig up your
original and plant a new one.
Days to Maturity
4 to 8 weeks depending on Sunlight and timing oI growth as well as watering.
How to grow Sage:
Sage needs to be replaced every Iour or Iive years, when the plant becomes woody and straggly. The
best way to do this is to start new plants Irom cuttings or by layering. Either method will maintain the
characteristics oI the parent plant. Layering is a way oI rooting the upper portion oI a stem while it`s
still attached to the plant. Bend the branch to the ground, and pin it about 4 in. below the tip with some
wire to keep the stem in contact with soil. Leave it until roots Iorm, about Iour weeks, then cut it Irom
the branch and transplant it.
Spring and summer are the best times to root cuttings. Take 3-in. cuttings Irom the tip oI the branch.
Strip away the lower leaves careIully. II you Iind that you`re tearing parts oI the stem, trim the leaves
with scissors. Then dip the cut end in rooting hormone and stick it in sterile sand or vermiculite. We use
bottom heat, but in the summer it may not be necessary. Roots should Iorm in Iour to six weeks.
Cuttings with at least six roots are ready to move into 4-in. pots. Later, when they`ve got a good root
ball, move them to the garden. Full sun, good drainage keep sage happy Sage is an easy herb to grow,
putting up with conditions Iar Irom optimum. However, the closer you can imitate its native habitat, the
happier it will be. Ideal conditions are Iull sun, good drainage, a soil pH oI 5 to 8, and moderate
Iertility. Good drainage is key. Our sage garden got along Ior Iive years in heavy soil until we had a
year oI record rainIall, when many oI our plants died. In our previous garden, our sages were planted
on a steep hillside. In the eight years we had that garden, those plants survived all sorts oI nasty
weather. So we knew we had to improve the drainage beIore replanting last summer. We constructed a
3-It.-high mound oI sandy soil, boulders, and small rocks. Then we replanted with all new stock, and
the plants are doing beautiIully.
I prune the stems by at least a third in early spring, aIter the danger oI Ireezing is past but beIore new
growth really gets started. Through summer, the light pruning that results Irom harvesting sprigs Ior the
kitchen helps plants stay bushy.
TIP:Dried sage is an essential ingredient in poultry seasoning and holiday Iavorites such as turkey and
dressing.
Use Iresh or dried sage in your holiday recipes and to accent pork, poultry dishes, sausages, game,
stuIIing, and vegetables.
Harvesting:
AIter the Iirst year, you can harvest as much sage as you need year-round.
The Iirst year, harvest sage only lightly. In subsequent years, harvest sage as you need it, year-round.
Cut an entire stem iI you need it, or just pinch a leaI at a time. To give new Ioliage time to Iully mature,
leave 2 months between your last big harvest and the Iirst Irost oI the season.Dry harvested sage by
hanging bunches oI stems upside-down. Strip the dry leaves Irom the stem and store in an airtight
container. Keep the Ilowers on the stems to cultivate a pretty pod useIul in arrangements oI dried herbs.
Insects Pests & Diseases
Diseases and pests normally aren`t a big problem with sage. Good drainage will, in most cases, prevent
root rot, a disease encouraged by too much moisture Ior too long around the roots. In humid, poorly
ventilated conditions, sage is susceptible to powdery and downy mildews. Here again, prevention is the
best control; plant sage where it gets plenty oI air circulation, and leave ample space between plants. In
cases where mildew does appear, we use SunSpray horticultural oil or a sulIur spray. Spider mites,
thrips, and spittlebugs have a taste Ior sage. We use organic insecticides like pyrethrum or insecticidal
soap or oil to keep these pests under control.
Hardiness
Mildew is a problem Ior sage, so thin plants regularly to encourage air circulation. Watch careIully on
the hottest, most humid summer days. You can also mulch with pebbles to help keep the area
immediately around the leaves dry. The moisture Irom pebbles evaporates quickly compared to organic
mulches.
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All types oI mint (including sweet mint, spearmint, peppermint, and chocolate mint) are Iast-growing,
spreading plants, so you must give them a place to spread without getting in the way, or plant them in a
pot. Mint sends out runners that spread above and just below the ground, quickly Iorming large, lush
green patches. In the right place it makes a pretty seasonal ground cover. You can also contain mint in
tight places such as between pavers oI a walkway where your Ieet will brush against the leaves to
release its Iragrance.
Fresh mint leaves are a nice complement to lamb, Iish, poultry, and vegetables such as peas, new
potatoes, and carrots. Mint also blends well with green or Iruit salads and beverages such as punch,
lemonade, and tea. Two very well-known drinks, mint julep and Cuban mojito, both depend on
spearmint Ior their cool zest. Freeze mint in cubes Ior iced tea. You can also preserve it in vinegar or
dry it Ior potpourri or sachets.
Did you know?Because mint tends to take over, many gardeners plant mint in a small pot and then
plant that pot in the ground or inside a larger container.
Sowing Spearmint seeds
Plant mint in the spring, or in the Iall in Irost-Iree climates, setting seedlings 18 to 24 inches apart. The
most popular way to grow mint is in a pot where you can keep it in check and handy near the kitchen
Ior a constant supply oI sprigs. Add water-retaining polymer to the potting soil to be sure that it stays
moist.
In the ground, select a damp area in your garden in either Iull sun or part shade. Mint preIers Iertile soil
with a pH Irom 6.0 to 7.0. Mint is plenty vigorous on its own, but will appreciate a little Iertilizer every
Iew weeks, especially iI you harvest a lot. Keep the soil moist and mulch around the plant to keep its
roots moist.
Keep plants in check by harvesting the tips regularly and pulling up wayward runners. Mint`s small
Ilowers bloom Irom June to September; trim these beIore the buds open to keep the plant compact.
Although slightly Irost tolerant, the top oI mint will eventually die back in winter except in zones 8 and
south, but the root are quite hardy, surviving into zone 5 (some varieties even into zone 3). LiIt and
replant your mint every 3 to 4 years to keep your patch`s Ilavor and scent strong.
Days to Maturity
24 inches tall! 4 to 8 weeks depending on Sunlight and timing oI growth as well as watering.
TIP:Spearmint has strong Ilavor and Iragrance that is released with simple bruising. It`s the best mint
variety Ior hot and cold drinks. Toss bruised leaves into ice water Ior a reIreshing summer drink or add
to iced tea. Spearmint is Iavored Ior Ilavoring beverages such as mojito. Also know as Yerba Buena.
Spreading plant is great Ior containers. Tolerates light Irost.
Use Iresh or dried sage in your holiday recipes and to accent pork, poultry dishes, sausages, game,
stuIIing, and vegetables.
Harvesting:
Harvest mint leaves at any size by pinching oII stems. For a large harvest, wait until just beIore the
plant blooms, when the Ilavor is most intense, then cut the whole plant to just above the Iirst or second
set oI leaves. In the process, you will remove the yellowing lower leaves and promote bushier growth.
Three such harvests per season are typical Ior mint.
Insects Pests & Diseases
Although mint is a rugged plant, when it is young it is vulnerable to whiteIlies, blackIlies, spider mites,
snails, and slugs. Diseases and pests normally aren`t a big problem. Good drainage will, in most cases,
prevent root rot, a disease encouraged by too much moisture Ior too long around the roots.
Hardiness
Mildew is a problem, so thin plants regularly to encourage air circulation. Watch careIully on the
hottest, most humid summer days. You can also mulch with pebbles to help keep the area immediately
around the leaves dry. The moisture Irom pebbles evaporates quickly compared to organic mulches.
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All types oI mint (including sweet mint, spearmint, peppermint, and chocolate mint) are Iast-growing,
spreading plants, so you must give them a place to spread without getting in the way, or plant them in a
pot. Mint sends out runners that spread above and just below the ground, quickly Iorming large, lush
green patches. In the right place it makes a pretty seasonal ground cover. You can also contain mint in
tight places such as between pavers oI a walkway where your Ieet will brush against the leaves to
release its Iragrance.
Fresh mint leaves are a nice complement to lamb, Iish, poultry, and vegetables such as peas, new
potatoes, and carrots. Mint also blends well with green or Iruit salads and beverages such as punch,
lemonade, and tea. Two very well-known drinks, mint julep and Cuban mojito, both depend on
spearmint Ior their cool zest. Freeze mint in cubes Ior iced tea. You can also preserve it in vinegar or
dry it Ior potpourri or sachets.
Did you know?Because mint tends to take over, many gardeners plant mint in a small pot and then
plant that pot in the ground or inside a larger container.
Sowing Peppermint seeds:
Plant mint in the spring, or in the Iall in Irost-Iree climates, setting seedlings 18 to 24 inches apart. The
most popular way to grow mint is in a pot where you can keep it in check and handy near the kitchen
Ior a constant supply oI sprigs. Add water-retaining polymer to the potting soil to be sure that it stays
moist.
In the ground, select a damp area in your garden in either Iull sun or part shade. Mint preIers Iertile soil
with a pH Irom 6.0 to 7.0. Mint is plenty vigorous on its own, but will appreciate a little Iertilizer every
Iew weeks, especially iI you harvest a lot. Keep the soil moist and mulch around the plant to keep its
roots moist.
Keep plants in check by harvesting the tips regularly and pulling up wayward runners. Mint`s small
Ilowers bloom Irom June to September; trim these beIore the buds open to keep the plant compact.
Although slightly Irost tolerant, the top oI mint will eventually die back in winter except in zones 8 and
south, but the root are quite hardy, surviving into zone 5 (some varieties even into zone 3). LiIt and
replant your mint every 3 to 4 years to keep your patch`s Ilavor and scent strong.
Days to Maturity:
24 inches tall! 4 to 8 weeks depending on Sunlight and timing oI growth as well as watering.
TIP:Spearmint has strong Ilavor and Iragrance that is released with simple bruising. It`s the best mint
variety Ior hot and cold drinks. Toss bruised leaves into ice water Ior a reIreshing summer drink or add
to iced tea. Spearmint is Iavored Ior Ilavoring beverages such as mojito. Also know as Yerba Buena.
Spreading plant is great Ior containers. Tolerates light Irost.
Use Iresh or dried sage in your holiday recipes and to accent pork, poultry dishes, sausages, game,
stuIIing, and vegetables.
Harvesting:
Harvest mint leaves at any size by pinching oII stems. For a large harvest, wait until just beIore the
plant blooms, when the Ilavor is most intense, then cut the whole plant to just above the Iirst or second
set oI leaves. In the process, you will remove the yellowing lower leaves and promote bushier growth.
Three such harvests per season are typical Ior mint.
Insects Pests & Diseases:
Although mint is a rugged plant, when it is young it is vulnerable to whiteIlies, blackIlies, spider mites,
snails, and slugs. Diseases and pests normally aren`t a big problem. Good drainage will, in most cases,
prevent root rot, a disease encouraged by too much moisture Ior too long around the roots.
Hardiness:
Mildew is a problem, so thin plants regularly to encourage air circulation. Watch careIully on the
hottest, most humid summer days. You can also mulch with pebbles to help keep the area immediately
around the leaves dry. The moisture Irom pebbles evaporates quickly compared to organic mulches.
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Anise (Pimpinella anisum) is an annual that can grow up to 2 Ieet tall. This herb, which can be used Ior
medicinal and culinary purposes, with its clusters oI white Ilowers, can add ornamental value to a
garden as well. Anise seeds can be used to Ilavor soups, cakes, candies and curries. Native to Egypt and
the Mediterranean region, anise can be grown in CaliIornia and areas oI the United States within
USDA plant hardiness zones 4 through 9. Anise is a low spreading bright green bushy plant that grows
12 to 24 inches tall and almost as wide. Lower leaves are broad and lobed; upper leaves are Ieathery.
Anise Ilowers in midsummer, small yellowish-white Ilowers in umbrella shaped clusters.
Did you know?Growing anise Irom seed is best done in permanent containers or directly in the garden,
because the herb doesn't transplant well.
Sowing Anise Seeds:
Sow anise in the garden as early as 2 weeks aIter the average last Irost date in spring. Anise requires a
long, Irost-Iree growing season oI about 120 days. Sow anise seeds 14 inch; when seedlings are 6
weeks old thin to 12 inches apart. Space rows 18 to 24 inches apart. Companion plants. Cabbage,
grapes; avoid planting with carrots, radishes. Anise may require staking in windy gardens. Keep
planting beds Iree oI weeds.
Did you know?Anise grows easily in containers. Select a container at least 8 inches deep and wide.
Days to Maturity:
Harvest anise seeds about one month aIter the plant Ilowers. Harvest the leaves as needed, while the
plant matures.
How to Grow Anise:
Select a pot with drainage holes and Iill it with moist, sterile potting mix, up to about 3/4 inch Irom the
top. Press down on the soil with your hand to level the surIace. Sprinkle six to eight anise seeds over
the soil surIace, at an equal distance Irom each other. Cover the seeds with a 1/4-inch layer oI soil.
Lightly tamp the soil with your hand to Iirm it over the anise seeds. Water the soil with a spray bottle to
avoid disturbing the shallowly planted seeds. Stretch plastic wrap over the pot to help the soil retain
moisture. Cover the plastic wrap with sheets oI newspaper to maintain a constant soil temperature.
Keep the soil moist -- not soggy -- during the germination period. Position the pot in a warm room.
Aim Ior a temperature oI about 60 to 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Expect the seeds to germinate within two
weeks.
Harvesting:
Snip anise leaves Ior Iresh use as needed. Seeds require more than 100 Irost-Iree days to reach harvest.
Collect seed heads while they are still green. Hang them in a warm, dry place to dry; thresh when dry
or pasteurize them in an oven at 100F (38F) Ior 15 minutes. Complete the harvest beIore the Iirst
Irost in Iall. Keep anise regularly and evenly watered through out the growing season and particularly
just beIore harvest. Anise requires no special Ieeding; side dress plants with age compost at midseason.
Insects and Pests:
Anise has no serious pest problems. Anise oil is said to repel insects.
Diseases of Anise:
Anise has no serious disease problems.
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Fenugreek grows to about two Ieet (60cm), with yellow/white Ilowers and long yellow seedpods. It
likes Iull sun and well-drained, neutral to slightly acid soil. It doesn't like to be transplanted. In spring,
aIter the threat oI Irost has passed, sow seeds to a depth oI a little less than a quarter inch. The seeds
sprout quickly. Unlike many other herbs that thrive on neglect, Ienugreek likes Iertile soil, so be
generous with the compost. Space plants Iive to six inches apart. As Ienugreek seed can be obtained so
cheaply and easily, it is not so commonly grown Ior seed in the UK. Fenugreek will Ilower and produce
thin seed pods. Allow the pods to ripen and turn yellow on the plant then harvest shortly beIore the seed
pods pop open.
Sowing Fenugreek seeds:
Fenugreek does not like to be transplanted, so should be sown directly into a well- drained sunny spot.
Sow 0.5 cm deep into drills 20 cm apart, aiming Ior a 5 cm spacing within row. It can be sown any time
between April and August and will withstand some Irost. Germination will normally take place within a
week. The plant grows rapidly and is vigorous enough to compete against most weeds. The small
leaIed variety will continue to grow slowly throughout the winter whereas the larger one will generally
die oII.
Although Ienugreek is a legume, it doesn`t always Iix nitrogen. For this to happen, the right bacteria
(Rhizobium meliloti) need to be present in the soil. These are more likely to be present, iI Ienugreek
has been grown on the site beIore. To see iI the plants are Iixing nitrogen, careIully dig (don`t pull!) up
a plant and look Ior pink coloured nodules (2mm diameter) on the roots. Plants that are Iixing nitrogen
should be able to produce lush green growth on a low Iertility soil with Iew problems, whereas those
that can`t tend to develop pale coloured leaves and smaller plants. Poor soil nutrient status can aIIect
the Ilavour oI the crop.
Days to Maturity
4 to 8 weeks depending on Sunlight and timing oI growth as well as watering.
TIP:In New York City a while back, the aroma oI Ienugreek created a cloud oI mysterious maple
Iragrance that was traced to a nearby manuIacturing plant. Your garden can smell like maple when you
plant Ienugreek.
Harvesting:
II you are harvesting the plants Ior leaves, cut the stem a Iew cm above the base when the plants are up
to 25 cm tall. The larger white Ilowered variety will not regrow aIter Ilowering so needs successional
sowing whereas the yellow variety can be cut a number oI times and should be cut regularly to prevent
it seeding and keep it productive.
They will generally be ready by 6 weeks aIter sowing depending on the weather. The quality oI leaves
will decline once Ilower buds start to appear so try and harvest beIore then.
AIter the Iirst year, you can harvest as much Fenugreek as you need year-round.
The Iirst year, harvest Fenugreek only lightly. In subsequent years, harvest Fenugreek as you need it,
year-round. Harvest and dry seedpods in early to mid Iall, and store them in an airtight container in a
dry, dark spot.
Insects Pests & Diseases
Diseases and pests normally aren`t a big problem with Fenugreek. Has no serious pest problems
Hardiness
Mildew is a problem, so thin plants regularly to encourage air circulation. Watch careIully on the
hottest, most humid summer days. You can also mulch with pebbles to help keep the area immediately
around the leaves dry. The moisture Irom pebbles evaporates quickly compared to organic mulches.
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A Common Name: Purple coneIlower. The large daisylike Ilowers with mounded heads and showy rose
or pink rays (petals) are usually borne singly on stout stems, well above the Ioliage. ConeIlowers are
erect perennials with coarse lanceolate to ovate, oIten toothed leaves. Plants grow Irom thick taproots
that are quite deep on mature plants. ConeIlowers are used as medicinal plants Ior alleviating skin
rashes and internally Ior stimulating the immune system.
Did you know? Echinacea are comIortable additions to Iormal and inIormal landscapes alike. Plant
them in borders with catmints (Nepeta), garden phlox (Phlox paniculata), blazingstars (Liatris),
yarrows (Achillea), and Shasta daisies (Leucanthemum maximum). Create a pastel combination with
lamb's ears (Stachys byzantina), verbenas, pink bee balms (Monarda), calamints (Calamintha), and
cranesbills (Geranium) backed with ornamental grasses. In meadow and prairie gardens, plant
coneIlowers with native grasses, gray-headed coneIlower (Ratibida pinnata), goldenrods (Solidago),
butterIly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), and black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia). They respond well to pot
culture iI planted in a deep container.
Sowing Echinacea seeds
Loosen the soil in your garden using a garden Iork or tiller to 12 to 15 inches deep, then mix in a 2 to
4inch layer oI compost. Plant the seeds in the spring in humus-rich, well-drained soil about 1 to 3 Ieet
apart, depending on the type, in Iull sun. ConeIlowers can tolerate some shade. II you are moving a
potted plant outside Irom inside, dig a hole about twice the pot's diameter and careIully place the plant
in the soil. Bury the plant to the top oI the root ball, but make sure the root ball is level with the soil
surIace. Water it thoroughly.
Days to Maturity
50 to 100 days reaching maturity.
How to grow Echinacea:
Echinacea are plants oI prairies and open woods. Give them average, loamy soil in Iull sun or light
shade. Plants grow best with adequate moisture but are quite tolerant oI extended drought. These tough
plants have deep taproots that enable them to store some water Ior lean times. Plants increase to Iorm
broad clumps. They Ilower throughout summer, and the rayless seedheads are attractive throughout Iall
and winter. Division is seldom necessary and not recommended. Once divided, plants tend to become
bushy with compromised Ilower production. Propagate by root cuttings in Iall.
TIP:Sow seed outdoors in Iall or indoors in winter. Give seeds 4 to 6 weeks oI cold, moist stratiIication
to promote uniIorm germination.
Harvesting Echinacea:
In the spring, put a thin layer oI compost around the plants, then a 2inch layer oI mulch to help keep
the plants moist and prevent weeds.
II you receive less than an inch oI rain a week, water your plants regularly during the summer. II your
plants are Iloppy, cut them to the ground aIter they Ilower. Remember to cut oII the dead/Iaded Ilowers
to prolong to blooming season and prevent excessive selI- seeding. To attract birds, keep the late-
season Ilowers on the plants to mature. Divide your plants into clumps every 3 to 4 years in spring or
autumn, although coneIlowers do not like excessive disturbance.
Insects Pests & Diseases
Powdery Mildew, Bacterial spots, Grey moleVine weevils
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Known in antiquity as "catswort." Bees seem to preIer its Ilowers over most others, but a common
plant pest in gardens, the Ilea beetle, is deterred by it. The universal appeal oI this species to cats is
underscored by the Iact that the herb's common name in every Western language contains some
variation oI the word "cat."
Did you know?Catnip grows as a loosely branching, low perennial. In a Ilowerbed, you can plant
catnip in Iront oI purple coneIlower, which blooms about the same time. The plant bears tiny, white
blooms that are not very showy. You can also grow it in containers.
Starting Catnip Seeds:
Keep plants Iull by pinching the growing stems and Ilower buds when they appear. The small white
Ilowers that appear in the summer will Iorm seeds that sprout; the plant also spreads via underground
runners. Some cats are very rough on plants. To keep plants Irom being loved to death, cover each with
an arch oI chicken wire. The stems can grow up through the holes, yet the plant`s base and roots are
protected. Or, try interspersing with bamboo stakes to prevent cats Irom rolling on top oI the plant.
Tip:Set out plants in the spring aIter the last Irost, spacing them 18 to 24 inches apart.
How to Grow Catnip:
Plant catnip in a place where your cats can rub and roll in it without hurting adjacent plants. Some cats
like catnip so much that they lie on it, roll on it, and chew it to the point oI destruction. II you Iind that
to be the case, place some 1- to 2-Ioot-long bamboo sticks or thin dowels every 2 to 3 inches within the
canopy oI the plant to make it impossible Ior a cat to lie on top oI the plant.
Days to Maturity:
Sow seeds indoors in February and March, and transplant or direct sow in April and May. Can also be
direct sown where it is to grow in September. Bottom heat will speed germination. Ideal temperature
Ior germination: 21-27C (70-80F). Seeds should sprout in 10-20 days.
Insects and Pests:
Catnip does very well in containers, raised beds, or borders in Iull sun to partial shade away Irom
creepy crawlers.
Did you Know?AIter the main bloom, plants should be cut back hard to encourage a second bloom and
tidy shape.
Diseases of Catnip:
A number oI plant problems can arise, usually in mid summer heat and humidity. Blights and Iungus
inIections can occur in the high humidity. Early treatment with Iungicides is eIIective. Spacing plants
too close cuts down air circulation and promotes disease.
Hardiness:
Catnip like it hot! They will die iI exposed to Irost. Make sure to plant them aIter the last Irost.
Harvesting and Storing Catnip:
Harvest leaves by cutting the stems anytime during the growing season. The Ioliage keeps its scent best
when air-dried. You can stuII sachets and cat pillows with dried leaves. Dried leaves are also popular
Ior herbal tea. To save the summer catmint bounty, harvest when Iully grown, and keep the plant picked
regularly.
Why do cats like it so much?Its a Irequently asked question. It is a chemical in the catnip that only
eIIects cats in a way that attracts them to everything like a drug.
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Though chamomile is one oI the best-known herbs Ior tea, it can be a bit conIusing when it comes to
the speciIic varieties. You can grow either German chamomile or Roman (English) chamomile but they
are not the same plant. While they may be used interchangeably when making tea, the two plants are
very diIIerent when it comes to how you grow them. Chamomile is an annual, and it grows in a bushy
shrub up to 3 Ieet tall. On the other hand, Roman chamomile is a perennial that only gets about a Ioot
high and tends to grow along the ground. Though both will produce very similar aromatic blossoms,
it`s Chamomile that is the more commonly grown Ior its blossoms. The inIormation in this article will
Iocus on how to grow the variety in your garden. Chamomile bushes have blooms with small white
Ilowers with large yellow centers (like small daisies), and it has a distinctive apple-like aroma when in
bloom. Though it can be grown in a Ilower bed, the blooms are very small compared to the large and
rather wild-looking bush. Chamomile tea is enjoyed Ior its taste, and as a home-remedy Ior stomach
upset. It also can help you Iall asleep in the evenings. There are no signiIicant levels oI any other
nutrients in chamomile tea.
Did you know?II you have a Iever or allergies to ragweed, you may Iind that chamomile has the same
eIIect on you because they are closely related. That includes the plants growing outdoors, but also the
tea you brew as well.
Sowing Chamomile:
You can start your chamomile seeds indoors Ior later transplant, about 6 weeks beIore you are
expecting the last Irost oI the winter. Start them in seed pots but don`t bury the seeds under the soil.
They need light to sprout, so just sprinkle a Iew seeds in each pot right on the surIace oI your potting
soil. Keep them moist, and thin down to one per pot aIter they start to grow. Your seedlings should be
kept in a sunny spot until its time to plant them. For container growing, you can sprout your seeds
directly into their Iinal pot iI kept indoors until aIter the Irosts are past. You`ll want to keep your little
seedlings about 12 to 18 inches apart when you plant them. Sunny locations are best Ior chamomile but
they will do just Iine with a little bit oI shade as well. Plant them into the garden aIter the last Irost is
over.Though an annual that will only survive Ior one year, chamomile will readily seed itselI. That
means you can have an ongoing patch oI chamomile iI you let some oI the blossoms go to seed rather
than picking them all. II you take this route, plan your location with the intention oI having a
permanent chamomile bed. You can also plant your chamomile seeds directly into the garden, rather
than starting transplants iI you preIer. In that case, you can either sow your seeds in the early spring or
even put the seeds out in the Iall to overwinter.
Days to Maturity:
30 days to mature.
How to Grow Chamomile:
Chamomile isn`t a very heavy Ieeder, and you should only need to add a bit oI standard Iertilizer right
at planting. Unless you have very poor soil, you don`t need to Iertilize through the season. Your plants
will likely thrive without additional watering though they can use more water once they start to bloom,
or during any prolonged bout oI hot dry weather. Chamomile grows very well in containers, though is a
little large Ior most window-sill herb gardens. Each plant should have a 12-inch pot to itselI, and the
soil should be well-drained with some added sand. Water the plants occasionally,
maybe once a week. Since chamomile does seed very well, and has a tendency to spread around the
garden, many gardeners keep their chamomile in pots. You can keep your plant a bit more under
control, and grow your chamomile in a location that it can`t spread (such as a patio or deck).In the
garden, it will selI-seed and keep your patch growing. In a container, this isn`t likely to happen. So you
should collect a Iew seeds in order to replant more chamomile the next season iI you want to perpetuate
your plants.
Harvesting:
Your plants can bloom all through the summer, so there isn`t any one speciIic harvest time. Most plants
will start to put out Ilowers about a month aIter planting. Harvesting your chamomile Ilowers is a
tedious task, but worth the eIIort. You only want the blossoms, not their stems which means you have
to pick them quite careIully. OI course, you can always go through your chamomile aIter picking to
remove any extra bits oI stem later. You can use Iresh Ilowers Ior tea, but it`s more typical to dry them
beIore use. Spread them out somewhere warm and well- ventilated to thoroughly dry. Direct sunlight
can harm the chamomile oils, so don`t just leave them out in the sun to dry. Indoors is usually best.
Once dry, you can store chamomile Ilowers in a sealed container Ior a year. When making tea, you`ll
need approximately 1 teaspoon oI dried Ilowers per up. For brewing with Iresh chamomile blossoms,
use almost twice that. Add a little honey Ior sweetness.
Insects and Pests:
Not very many insects will bother your chamomile plants, and they even repel cucumber beetles (so
plant near the veggie garden). You do sometimes Iind clusters oI tiny aphids on chamomile but they are
not much oI a threat. They are easy to spray oII with the regular garden hose, or a little bit oI
insecticide spray can help control the bugs. Only use pesticides intended Ior Iruits or vegetables, and
don`t spray right beIore you intend to pick your Ilowers.
Diseases of Chamomile:
There are Iew known diseases
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French tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus Sativa`) resembles a tall grass, medium in texture with slender
leaves, but on branched stems growing 18 to 24 inches tall and semi-erect. It grows without Ilowers or
distinctive Iorm to set it apart. In an herb bed, it becomes one oI a cook`s resources to create a
memorable meal, but Ior the gardener, the ingredient is less remarkable. Plant adjacent to more
architectural plants such as lemon grass or rosemary. Contrasting plants with large or colorIul leaves,
such as sweet basil or Purple RuIIles basil, will help set tarragon apart in a garden bed.
Well-behaved in the garden, French tarragon does not spread underground like other herbs, nor will it
reseed. In Iact, it rarely Ilowers and never produces seeds. That means that new plants must be
produced Irom rooted cuttings in order to have the classic tarragon Ilavor. Russian tarragon is seed
grown and less desirable in Ilavor.
Did you know?French terragon is a traditional seasoning with eggs, poultry, salads, cheese, and Iish.
Tarragon chicken salad is a particular Iavorite, ideal Ior a summer lunch. Include it in seasoning blends
such as Iines herbes and bouquet garni. It is a must-have ingredient Ior Sauce Bearnaise. Also, French
tarragon makes an excellent herb-Ilavored vinegar, alone or in combination with other herbs.
Sowing Tarragon seeds
Grown as a clump-Iorming perennial in most oI the country, French tarragon thrives in regions where
winter provides a period oI rest and summers are not too hot or too wet. In warm climates, give French
tarragon some shelter Irom the aIternoon sun. In a subtropical climate, French tarragon behaves like a
winter annual, planted in Iall and harvested through winter and spring.
French tarragon has a Ileshy root system that preIers a loose, soil enriched with organic matter.
However, it must be well-drained. In Iact, it is quite drought tolerant. II your soil is heavy and your
climate hot and humid, you will have the best chance oI success by planting in a container or hanging
basket where it drains well and has good air circulation. Like most herbs, French tarragon is likes soil
with a neutral pH. Remember to cut back browned Ioliage in spring to make way Ior new growth.
Where it prospers, divide the plant every third year to renew it.
Days to Maturity: 4 to 8 weeks depending on Sunlight and timing oI growth as well as watering.
Harvesting:
Like most herbs, French tarragon is delicious Iresh, but Ior winter the leaves need to be preserved. Cut
new growth in spring and again in Iall Ior drying. Remove the leaves Irom the stems by running your
Iingers down the stem Irom tip to base. Spread these to dry in a cool, relatively dry location, such as an
air-conditioned room. Avoid drying in heat as IlavorIul oils will be lost. AIter drying, store in an
airtight container away Irom direct light.
Insects Pests & Diseases
Powdery Mildew, Bacterial spots, Grey moleVine weevils
Hardiness
Be sure to locate plant in a bed that drains well, or the roots can rot. II your container plant turns brown
and looks dead in winter, even iI it is in your house or greenhouse, cut it back and give it time. It is
probably just dormant Ior the season.
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SEED TYPES
When you Iirst purchase seeds you should avoid 'Hybrid Seeds. Instead you should
buy 'Heirloom Seeds or 'Open Pollinated Seeds. Hybrid seeds are 'man-made seeds
and they are only good Ior ONE planting. (Note: II you plant hybrid seeds and then save
the seeds Irom the hybrid plants that are produced, and then plant those seeds the
Iollowing spring, the results will be unpredictable. The plant that grows will usually
resemble one oI its parents or grandparents or something in-between. It is also possible
that it may produce NO Iruit at all.) Heirloom seeds, on the other hand, will produce
crops that yield seeds that will reproduce the same plant year aIter year aIter year as God
originally intended. (Genesis 1:11 Then God said, 'Let the earth bring Iorth grass, the
herb that yields seed, and the Iruit tree that yields Iruit according to its kind, whose seed
is in itselI, on the earth; and it was so.) When you purchase a package oI seeds, you
should NOT plant ALL the seeds Irom the original package the Iirst year. Instead you
should save some oI them or planting in Iuture years in the event your Iirst year`s
planting eIIorts are not successIul. You should also clearly mark exactly where you plant
each type oI seed with the name and variety oI that seed so you can keep track oI which
varieties oI seed do best in your climate and in your soil.
DISEASE AVOIDANCE
AIter you have planted your seeds and the plants appear, do NOT collect seeds Irom a
diseased plant because the disease will have inIected that speciIic plant`s genes and all
Iuture plants grown Irom those seeds will be easily susceptible to that same disease.
SEED SELECTION
Use the very best looking, strongest, and most productive plants in your garden Ior
seeds. Generally, you are NOT looking Ior that ONE special Iruit on the vine. Instead
the characteristics you should look Ior are: early bearing oI Iruit, total Iruit yield, Iruit
size and Ilavor and aroma, and disease resistance. Also, iI applicable, late bolting to
seed. Resist the urge to eat your most delectable looking vegetables. Those are the ones
you want to duplicate every year in the Iuture. AIter you have selected the Iruits you
want to keep Ior seed, identiIy them with a special marker such as a wooden stake
beside the plant, or a ribbon or string loosely tied to the plant or vine. In
most cases (but not all) it is important to save seeds Irom at least three diIIerent plants oI
the same variety to provide good pollination opportunities the Iollowing spring.
SEED RIPENESS
Allow seeds to Iully ripen beIore harvesting to achieve the best germination yield the
Iollowing spring. The seed must be given time to store enough nourishment so it can
germinate the Iollowing spring and grow into a healthy seedling.
DRYING
Seeds must be dried beIore they are stored (between 5 to 13 moisture content, with
an average oI 8). Individual seeds should be separated Irom one another so they can
dry more evenly. Larger seeds will require more time to air dry whereas smaller seeds
will require less time. Do NOT try to dry the seeds too quickly or they may shrink and
crack. And do NOT dry at a temperature higher than 100F. Indoor air drying is usually
the best. However, iI you live in an extremely humid area,
then you may dry your seeds by placing them in the sun in Iront oI a southern Iacing
window Ior about two days. Since there is no easy inexpensive method Ior measuring
the exact moisture content oI your seeds, you will need to use your own judgment based
on your personal experience. Generally the drier the seed (but NOT below 5), the
longer the seed will remain alive in storage.
Based on Dr. James Harrington`s research, each additional 1 decrease in the dryness oI
a vegetable seed Irom 13 down to 5 will double its storage liIe, However, below 5
will normally kill the seed and above 13 will usually result in the seed not surviving
the Iirst winter. Since the home gardener does not have the expensive equipment to
accurately measure the exact moisture content oI a batch oI seeds, the home gardener
may wish to use a trial and error approach. When you Iirst suspect that your seeds are
dry enough, put halI oI them into paper envelopes and label the envelopes with the
variety oI seed and indicate how many days the seeds were dried. Continue drying the
remainder oI the seeds Ior a Iew more days. Then put halI oI those seeds into paper
envelopes and label them as your second drying with the total number oI drying days.
AIter a Iew more days oI drying put the remainder oI the seeds into a paper envelope
and label them as your third drying with the total number oI drying days. When you test
each envelope oI seeds in Iuture years, you can use this trial and error method to
estimate the optimal number oI drying days
Ior each type oI seed based on your climate, and your humidity, and your average
normal drying conditions.
STORAGE
AIter your seeds are dry, store your seeds in a standard small paper envelope, or a paper
bag, or a cloth bag in a dry, cool area. Do not allow the seeds to remain in direct contact
with the air or they will gradually absorb moisture Irom the humidity in the air with the
passage oI time. AIter placing the seeds in a standard small paper envelope or cloth bag,
you can store that envelope or bag inside a standard plastic Ireezer bag. Freezer bags are
more expensive and oI a higher quality than regular plastic bags. Do not seal your seeds
inside a vacuum plastic bag without air because seeds are living organisms and they
need a minimum amount oI air to continue their liIe cycle. The best place to store seeds
is in a plastic Ireezer bag inside a reIrigerator at a temperature between 33F to 40F.
This will more than double the storage liIe oI your seeds.
LABELING
Clearly label each oI your seed envelopes or bags using permanent ink to identiIy the
exact variety oI seed and the year the seed was harvested. Also include the number oI
days the seed was allowed to dry, along with any unusual weather conditions during the
drying process, such as unusually humid weather or unusually warm or cold weather
during the drying process.
SEED BANK
Most seeds can successIully germinate Ior three to Iive years aIter harvesting, even iI
they are NOT stored in a reIrigerator. ThereIore, it is prudent to have your own 'Seed
Bank into which you deposit approximately 10 oI the seeds you harvest each year. II
an unexpected disease attacks your crops one year then you will NOT be able to harvest
any seeds Irom that year`s crops, even though you may be able to eat some or most oI
that year`s poor quality marginal vegetables. In this type oI situation your 'Seed Bank
will permit the re-establishment oI the quality oI your crops in
Iuture years. The seeds in your 'Seed Bank are your insurance against unpredictable
Iuture diseases that may sweep through your geographical area. They are also good
insurance against an unexpected cross-pollination that produces a seed that is diIIerent
than you expected. Once again, your 'Seed Bank will allow you to re- establish this
variety the Iollowing spring using seeds saved Irom previous years beIore the problem
appeared.
EMERGENCY SEED RESERVE
Each spring you should gradually plant each variety oI seed over an extended period oI
several weeks. You should NOT plant all your seeds oI one variety at the same time.
This reduces your risk oI loss to late Irosts and it provides a longer harvest period Ior
Iresh vegetables Ior the table. II you have seeds that are more than one year old which
are NOT part oI your 'Seed Bank, then your Iirst planting the Iollowing spring should
be one-halI oI those older seeds. II you do NOT have any two or three year old seeds,
then do NOT plant more than halI your previous year`s seed the
Iollowing spring. Save at least halI oI the previous year`s seed as an 'Emergency Seed
Reserve (in addition to your 'Seed Bank). Occasional late snows or an unexpected late
Irost can kill everything you plant at the beginning oI spring. Your 'Emergency Seed
Reserve will allow you to plant a second time that same year. Later during the spring or
summer other problems may arise, such as heavy rains or no rains or insect damage or
tornados or hurricanes, and these disasters could result in no crops to harvest in the Iall.
In disaster situations like these, it provides some comIort to know that you still have a
reasonable amount oI seed reserved Ior planting the Iollowing year. II you are Iorced to
use your 'Emergency Seed Reserve, then only plant halI oI them and keep the rest oI
the seeds in reserve. Always keep at least halI oI your remaining seed as an 'Emergency
Seed Reserve Ior really hard times. This means each Iuture planting will be much
smaller, but that is much better than having NOTHING to plant at all. Because oI
unpredictable situations such as the above, each year it would be wise to harvest at least
twice the amount oI seed you think you will need the Iollowing year. This strategy will
also provide you with seed to share, sell, or trade and it will bring you one step closer to
being an independent, resourceIul human being in God`s natural order oI things.
PREPARING SEEDS FOR PLANTING
(Note: These suggestions are optional.) Place the seeds you wish to plant in the Ireezer
compartment oI your reIrigerator Ior three hours. When you remove the seed Irom the
Ireezer the rush oI warm air will help to break its winter dormancy. Then place the
individual seeds between two damp paper towels Ior one day in a warm area. The seed is
now in an optimal condition Ior immediate planting.
SPRING GERMINATION TEST
(Note: This step is optional.) You can test the viability oI your seeds BEFORE you plant
them in the ground in the spring. Use a medium-tip permanent marker to write the name
oI the seed and the year it was harvested on a DRY paper towel. Then dampen the paper
towel and place ten seeds on one-halI oI the towel. Fold the towel
in halI so the seeds are between the two halves oI the damp paper towel. Place the damp
paper towel inside a plastic trash bag and put it in a warm place. You can put several
damp paper towels containing diIIerent seed varieties in the same plastic trash bag. Keep
the paper towels slightly damp but NOT soaking wet. Periodically check the seeds based
on the average germination time Ior each type oI seed. You can determine the
'approximate germination rate by counting the number oI seeds that sprout and
dividing by the original number oI seeds tested. For example, iI you tested 10 seeds and
8 oI them sprouted, then the germination rate is 80 (8/10 x 100). You can then plant
these sprouted seeds in a peat pot indoors iI the outdoor weather is too cold, or you can
plant them in the ground iI warm weather has arrived.