Growing Herbs

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I inherited the gardening gene from my mom’s side of the family. Back when Queens was still the country my maternal grandfather’s family grew vegetables there while the city grew up around them. My mom never really grew vegetables, but her flower arrangements won many a ribbon in the local garden club’s flower shows. She had a big herb garden in one corner of the backyard that was a little wild and overgrown. I spent a lot of time in that garden as a kid, picking big handfuls of spearmint and chives, and plucking honeysuckle flowers off the vines that grew along the back fence.

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When I started planning my garden last spring, I knew I had to have an herb garden. I laid out a two-foot wide border along one side of the plot and planted chives, bee balm, borage, lemon balm, lamb’s ear, sage, thyme, marjoram, lovage, dill, chervil, parsley, and basil. There’s still quite a bit of room in the bed, so over the weekend I picked up a few more plants. Sunday morning I planted peppermint, pineapple mint, and ginger mint, all in a big pot so that they don’t take over the whole garden, as well as some garlic chives, lavender, and lemon verbena.

My parents moved to an apartment a few years ago and the old herb garden has no doubt been replaced with grass by the house’s new owners, but my mom is still gardening on their little balcony. When I talk to my mom on the phone we inevitably end up talking about kale, so for Mother’s Day I sent her a few packets of seeds. I don’t know how interested she really is in growing vegetables on her little balcony, but she’s going to humor me and give it a try.

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8 thoughts on “Growing Herbs

  1. I remember when I was a student and living away from home I used to send my mum packets of flower seeds for mother’s day, cheaper and nicer than flowers (IMO). Thanks for sharing your memories and moments

  2. I love my herb garden, too. Our main problem is timing dill and cilantro with the produce in the garden for making pickles and salsa. Usually both bolt before the vegetables are ready despite our best efforts to time it out. Any suggestions? Parsley and basil are my favorites and probably the two I use the most. Last year I made pesto that lasted most of the winter. I froze it in ice cube trays (minus the Parmesan which I added each time I used cubes). Two to three cubes make a great pasta.

    • It’s true, cilantro and dill do go to seed very quickly! I think the only way to have a continuous supply is to keep resowing a few seeds every few weeks. If you just let them go to seed they will both readily self sow and you’ll find them popping up all over the place all season long. Especially dill!

  3. I am also working on my herb garden. Thanks for the reminder that mint should be confined. I might keep that in a pot in the garden. I love garden blogs. Just click around and you can get all kinds of hits, tips, thoughts. It’s awesome.

    • I agree, I’m learning so much from reading other gardener’s blogs, and from my awesome readers who leave so many great comments!

      I have mint invading my garden from the next plot over, so I definitely recommend keeping it in a pot!

  4. Your herb garden sounds nice. I am always amazed at the chives in mine. They are the first to sprout when the snow melts and grow so fast. I love their blossoms.

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