Author Topic: Growing (and using) Herbs  (Read 12881 times)

burlsgirl

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Growing (and using) Herbs
« on: January 22, 2008, 03:59:24 AM »
Hi! This Spring, my girls & I want to grow our own herbs in our kitchen garden, or maybe before then in the house. Anyway, I was wondering...
WHERE DO I START???

I've always considered myself a pretty good cook, but I tend to use more spices (cumin, etc...) than herbs, and I've NEVER used fresh herbs. This morning, for example, I was making an omelet with spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, onion & goat cheese...and it occurred to me that I didn't have a clue which herb would go best.

Is there a good (cheap) resource out there? Can anyone give me their top herbs (and why)? How many would you start out with, and what would they be?

Thanks, ladies!

Blessings,
Emily

Offline pljammie

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #1 on: January 22, 2008, 04:51:40 AM »
I don't know a book or anything, but here's what I started with.  All are grown outdoors.

I grow basil because it grows well here and is easy to grow from a start or from seed.  I use it in a lot of things, but love it best in marinated feta cheese.  I bought a rosemary start about 3 years ago and it is a huge bush now.  We use it for a lot of cooking (good with chicken).  I also grew lemon balm this year and I was very happy with it.  You can use it as you use lemon peel.  It also makes a nice tea and a nice jelly.  Mint grows a little too well, so you may want to start that one in a pot.  I have sage growing and really hadn't used it until I started looking for cold remedies and sage leaf kept popping up.  Good luck with your herb garden.

Jammie
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Offline healthybratt

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2008, 12:37:59 PM »
Hi! This Spring, my girls & I want to grow our own herbs in our kitchen garden, or maybe before then in the house. Anyway, I was wondering...
WHERE DO I START???

I've always considered myself a pretty good cook, but I tend to use more spices (cumin, etc...) than herbs, and I've NEVER used fresh herbs. This morning, for example, I was making an omelet with spinach, mushrooms, zucchini, onion & goat cheese...and it occurred to me that I didn't have a clue which herb would go best.

Is there a good (cheap) resource out there? Can anyone give me their top herbs (and why)? How many would you start

3 Tblsps. dried oregano
1 Tblsp. dried marjoram
2 tsps. garlic powder
2 Tblsp. dried basil
1 Tblsp. onion powderout with, and what would they be?

Thanks, ladies!

Blessings,
Emily
Can't help you with this in a general sense, but I would have put Italian seasoning (premix from the store), garlic, and some ground red pepper on this omelet.  ;D

Italian seasoning recipes from Google

Quote
A blend of dried herbs, usually including oregano, basil, rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram, and red pepper.

Quote
* 2 teaspoons dried basil
    * 2 teaspoons dried marjoram
    * 2 teaspoons dried oregano
    * 1 teaspoon dried sage

Quote
3 Tblsps. dried oregano
1 Tblsp. dried marjoram
2 tsps. garlic powder
2 Tblsp. dried basil
1 Tblsp. onion powder

NOTE:  the one I get at the store is all GREEN so I don't think it has garlic, onion or pepper in it.
  My favorite herb book!!

Offline Mrs. B

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #3 on: January 23, 2008, 12:47:42 PM »
This is what I have growing....
parsley... it's cheap and easy to grow from seed.  It's also a biennial so it lasts for 2 years before going to flower.  I look for curley leaf varieties for their taste.  You can also plant it around things that attract catepillars, etc, and they will eat the parley instead of your trees.

Rosemary...perennial shrub...different varieties do well in different conditions.

Tarragon... seems perennial here in NW GA...

Thyme.... perennial  from seed... that I don't think I could kill if I wanted to...

Sage... I put some in pots to keep indoors in the winter, but the ones outside haven't died yet.

Fennell ...plant in summer from seeds
Dill.... plant in summer from seeds.

Basil... I buy the little plants from W-M in the spring...I put some in the ground and some in pots.
Oregano...Same as basil.

Alot of the potted things give out towards the end of the winter, but then I can get a fresh stash from the feed store or W-M

I like being able to gather things fresh or dry them myself in the fall. 
I would start with something simple from seed like parsley or thyme that you can start either directly outside in the ground or in a pot indoors earlier. 

Offline miff aka Missi

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #4 on: January 23, 2008, 05:46:13 PM »
Is there a good (cheap) resource out there? Can anyone give me their top herbs (and why)? How many would you start out with, and what would they be?
Basil for pasta, pesto sauce, salads
dill for salads, beef, eggs
mint for tea
rosemary for chicken
garlic for pasta, roast, GOOT, roast it for a spread, all kinds of sauces




Offline khix

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2008, 04:23:32 PM »
I have some questions about using/harvesting herbs.  Currently, I have a basil plant & a peppermint plant growing (yeah! - They seem to be doing pretty good, which is a miracle for me!).  When is a good time to harvest the leaves?  (just the leaves, right?).  How do I harvest them?  Just pull them off?  Do I use them fresh?  If so, how?  Or do I let them dry first?  If so, how do I let them dry?  How do I store them?  How long will they keep? 

I'd like to know these answers not only for basil & peppermint, but for as many herbs as possible, because I do plan on buying more plants and/or seeds, as money allows.

Is there a book or something out there that talks about growing/using/harvesting fresh herbs?  (I'm mostly looking for edible purposes right now...but medicinal would be cool too)

Oh, also, I have a "garlic chives" plant too.  Is that regular garlic?  If so (and even if not), how/when do I harvest that?  Is garlic a root?  (like a potato?)  When I buy garlic in the store, and if I don't use it all up within a couple months, green things start sprouting from it...so I'm guessing it's a root....if so, how do I harvest roots?  And how get new plants/seeds to grow after eating/using the root?

Yes, I am VERY new to all this, and I know NOTHING!  I need as much help & info as I can get!   ;D
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Offline here2serve

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2008, 06:39:04 PM »
 I don't know which books or website to point you to, but if you have a food dehydrater you can dry your herbs really fast and 'crunchy'. You can lay them flat on a piece of newspaper, a towel, or screen too. just turn once in a while. They'll keep their color better if you dry them some where in the dark. They should keep for a year or so I'm thinking.
  I can buy mine in bulk for really cheap around here, but it is still fun doing them myself if time allows. I have dried parsley, dill, basil, and oregano that way. You usaully want to harvest before it flowers. If it's about to flower and I don't have time to deal with it, I'll just snip it and throw it aside so that it grows back.
  And yes, you can eat your herbs fresh. The peppermint you can throw in boiling water, steep for a few min. add a sweetener if you want and drink hot or cold. The basil I mostly use dried. I have already made pesto with it. You can also just add it to different dishes and try out your tastebuds!
    Sounds like fun!


I have some questions about using/harvesting herbs.  Currently, I have a basil plant & a peppermint plant growing (yeah! - They seem to be doing pretty good, which is a miracle for me!).  When is a good time to harvest the leaves?  (just the leaves, right?).  How do I harvest them?  Just pull them off?  Do I use them fresh?  If so, how?  Or do I let them dry first?  If so, how do I let them dry?  How do I store them?  How long will they keep? 

I'd like to know these answers not only for basil & peppermint, but for as many herbs as possible, because I do plan on buying more plants and/or seeds, as money allows.

Is there a book or something out there that talks about growing/using/harvesting fresh herbs?  (I'm mostly looking for edible purposes right now...but medicinal would be cool too)

Oh, also, I have a "garlic chives" plant too.  Is that regular garlic?  If so (and even if not), how/when do I harvest that?  Is garlic a root?  (like a potato?)  When I buy garlic in the store, and if I don't use it all up within a couple months, green things start sprouting from it...so I'm guessing it's a root....if so, how do I harvest roots?  And how get new plants/seeds to grow after eating/using the root?

Yes, I am VERY new to all this, and I know NOTHING!  I need as much help & info as I can get!   ;D
~ happy to serve my mr. steady and our 5 sweet treasures...

Offline khix

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2008, 02:52:11 AM »
Thanks for the tips, but I don't have a food dehydrator (with no immediate plans to get one either....how much are they, btw?).  Can herbs be dried in a different way?

When steeping fresh leaves (like peppermint)...do you put it straight in the water?  Do you take it out after 5 mintues (like you would a tea bag)?  How many leaves do you put in the water (for a single cup of tea)?

When do these plants usually flower? 
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Offline here2serve

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2008, 06:17:09 AM »
Thanks for the tips, but I don't have a food dehydrator (with no immediate plans to get one either....how much are they, btw?).  Can herbs be dried in a different way?

When steeping fresh leaves (like peppermint)...do you put it straight in the water?  Do you take it out after 5 mintues (like you would a tea bag)?  How many leaves do you put in the water (for a single cup of tea)?

When do these plants usually flower? 

   I'm not sure how long it takes for the peppermint to flower, but if you keep harvesting it, it won't.
  If you have a warm dark attic just lay them out flat to dry, then when they're nice and crisp put them in a tight container and they'll keep for a year or so. This is how my mom used to dry hers, before we had a dehydrater. And she used to use the whole stem. A lot less time consuming! But if the stems are really thick and tough they could be a little bitter.
  For a single cup I would add oh, i dunno, maybe 8 to 10 stems. I like mine packed with flavor!
  I have this recipe to make a tea concentrate to freeze. You take 4 qts. water and boil, add 4 cups tea leaves and let set for 15 min.  I then like to strain with a cheese cloth or paper towel, guess I'm a little picky about all those little particles  ::) Then add 4 C. of sugar. And since I'm a sugar pincher I try to do less where ever I can. It's been a few years since I've done this so I really don't remember how much less I've added. Then put it in qt. size freezer boxes and freeze. When you want to serve it thaw and add 3 qt. cold water. A wonderful, refreshing drink on a hot summer day!
  Our dehydrater came from a yard sale for $5 I'm thinking, so can't really help you out there.
~ happy to serve my mr. steady and our 5 sweet treasures...

Offline ladyhen

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #9 on: May 11, 2008, 07:41:14 AM »
I have some questions about using/harvesting herbs.  Currently, I have a basil plant & a peppermint plant growing (yeah! - They seem to be doing pretty good, which is a miracle for me!).  When is a good time to harvest the leaves?  (just the leaves, right?).  How do I harvest them?  Just pull them off?  Do I use them fresh?  If so, how?  Or do I let them dry first?  If so, how do I let them dry?  How do I store them?  How long will they keep? 

I'd like to know these answers not only for basil & peppermint, but for as many herbs as possible, because I do plan on buying more plants and/or seeds, as money allows.

Is there a book or something out there that talks about growing/using/harvesting fresh herbs?  (I'm mostly looking for edible purposes right now...but medicinal would be cool too)

Oh, also, I have a "garlic chives" plant too.  Is that regular garlic?  If so (and even if not), how/when do I harvest that?  Is garlic a root?  (like a potato?)  When I buy garlic in the store, and if I don't use it all up within a couple months, green things start sprouting from it...so I'm guessing it's a root....if so, how do I harvest roots?  And how get new plants/seeds to grow after eating/using the root?

Yes, I am VERY new to all this, and I know NOTHING!  I need as much help & info as I can get!   ;D

There are LOTS of good books about growing and using herbs that you can find at your local library.  You can also Google to find how to use herbs or just ask here.   ;D

Remember to wash your herbs after you pick them and gently dry them off.  I like to put about 2 or 3 Tbs. of salt into a gallon or so of water in the sink and let my herbs soak clean in this and then swish them before removing to lightly rinse.

When I have lived in a dry enough climate I like to cut branches of the herbs and tie them loosely and hang them upside down in a hallway or behind a door to dry.  I also like to lay the herbs that I want to dry out on a rack on a cookie sheet and put them in my gas stove; the pilot light keeps that space warm and dry.   

Some herbs are better if they are stored in different ways.  For instance, we use a lot of cilantro and it looses it's flavor when dried.  This is one of the herbs that we prefer to wash, dry, and freeze for later use.  Basil is an herb that can be chopped and added to olive oil for preservation with great results.   

Be creative and don't be too worried about making errors.  It is important to make sure that you identify your plants properly, so I would use some care in that.  One of my children pulled some iris bulbs instead of green onions once.   :o   :o   :o  Some bulbs, like iris, are toxic.   ;)
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;    Titus 2:13

Offline Badgermom

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #10 on: May 11, 2008, 10:14:41 AM »
I have some questions about using/harvesting herbs.  Currently, I have a basil plant & a peppermint plant growing (yeah! - They seem to be doing pretty good, which is a miracle for me!).  When is a good time to harvest the leaves?  (just the leaves, right?).  How do I harvest them?  Just pull them off?  Do I use them fresh?  If so, how?  Or do I let them dry first?  If so, how do I let them dry?  How do I store them?  How long will they keep? 

I'd like to know these answers not only for basil & peppermint, but for as many herbs as possible, because I do plan on buying more plants and/or seeds, as money allows.

Is there a book or something out there that talks about growing/using/harvesting fresh herbs?  (I'm mostly looking for edible purposes right now...but medicinal would be cool too)

Oh, also, I have a "garlic chives" plant too.  Is that regular garlic?  If so (and even if not), how/when do I harvest that?  Is garlic a root?  (like a potato?)  When I buy garlic in the store, and if I don't use it all up within a couple months, green things start sprouting from it...so I'm guessing it's a root....if so, how do I harvest roots?  And how get new plants/seeds to grow after eating/using the root?

Yes, I am VERY new to all this, and I know NOTHING!  I need as much help & info as I can get!   ;D

One book which I have found to be very helpful is Growing 101 Herbs that Heal by Tammi Hartung.  It has info on growing, harvesting, storing, and using herbs for food and medicine.

Offline khix

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #11 on: May 26, 2008, 06:46:14 AM »
OK, I hope this is the place for this question.

I have been growing a feverfew plant & a basil plant.  Bought them at Walmart, as "baby" plants.  I put the feverfew in the ground at first....wans't doing too good.  So, I put it in a pot (about 5-6" in diameter), and it flourished.  The basil I put immediately in a pot (same size), and it flourihed too.  But, the past few days, these plants are starting to wilt...badly.  I don't want to lose them....what is wrong & what can I do for them?  Do they needed bigger pots?  Is the outside heat too much for them?  (It's been in the lower 90's the past several days, with high humiditiy).  Should I bring them inside?  But, don't they need sunlight?  I think they have enough water, because the soil is moist when I check it, and if I add water, it just comes out the bottom.  Could it be bugs or critters?  I notice what looks to be like tiny black sugar ants (not sure if that's really what they are) crawling all over the pots & dirt.  Any help/advice I can get before it's too late will be much appreciated!
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Offline 4myhoonie

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #12 on: May 26, 2008, 07:44:55 AM »
i don't know about the bugs, but in my experience with cilantro and basil (the only herbs i've grown) they like shade with some sunlight best, i don't think they can handle the hot sun very well.  maybe feed the ants some terro and they will leave?  HTH. 
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Offline Mrs. B

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2008, 01:49:35 PM »
khix....
I have a ton of feverfew and a couple of basil plants that I've started from seed.  The feverfew especially grows well in sun, maybe some shade, buts seems to do well in dry soil.
I'm in GA and it's already pretty hot and dry for the most part.  Mine generally reseeds itself and it seems the poorer the soil and the less I do for it the better. 
The basil can't tolerate as much sun here, but it also seems to do well in the heat.
I would water them well, but not saturate them.  I would also make sure that they dry out and don't stay damp between waterings... other than this... I don't know...

Offline khix

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #14 on: May 27, 2008, 01:21:35 AM »
OK, thanks ya'll.  I'll try to keep my feverfew drier.  And I went ahead & repotted the basil (it was getting really big) into a bigger pot.  I hope that helps.  And I moved the basil into a shadier location.  I hope all this helps.  I'm wondering if I should repot the feverfew too?

4myhoonie, what is terro?
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Offline 4myhoonie

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2008, 06:16:43 AM »
OK, thanks ya'll.  I'll try to keep my feverfew drier.  And I went ahead & repotted the basil (it was getting really big) into a bigger pot.  I hope that helps.  And I moved the basil into a shadier location.  I hope all this helps.  I'm wondering if I should repot the feverfew too?

4myhoonie, what is terro?

it is a clear sticky stuff in a bottle near the bug killing stuff.  i think it's borax mixed with sugar and water.  i've had great luck with it.  they take it back to their hill and eat it and die.   ;D  it's cheap too!  just have to make sure you refill it after they eat it all or it gets dried out, and keep kids & pets away from it.  here's a picture:

http://www.terro.com/products.php?product=liquid_ant_killer

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Offline havasmama_05

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #16 on: June 21, 2008, 06:06:12 AM »
I hope I'm not asking a redundant question (I just skimmed), but can anyone give me advice on the  best time to harvest rose petals? When they're just opening, mid-bloom or just before they're spent?
Thanks!
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Offline Mrs. B

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #17 on: June 21, 2008, 06:23:50 AM »
I hope I'm not asking a redundant question (I just skimmed), but can anyone give me advice on the  best time to harvest rose petals? When they're just opening, mid-bloom or just before they're spent?
Thanks!
Just before blooming right before they are fully developed.  This way the scent and color should be at their strongest.
Once the flower has opened fully pollination becomes the focus with the energy of the plant placed on the reproductive capabilities of the plant and not the flower part.
Best to harvest on a clear, dry morning after the dew is gone.  Don't wash.  Dry in shade.
(Somewhat paraphrased from Green's Herbal Medicine-Makers Handbook)

Offline havasmama_05

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #18 on: June 21, 2008, 08:49:31 AM »
I hope I'm not asking a redundant question (I just skimmed), but can anyone give me advice on the  best time to harvest rose petals? When they're just opening, mid-bloom or just before they're spent?
Thanks!
Just before blooming right before they are fully developed.  This way the scent and color should be at their strongest.
Once the flower has opened fully pollination becomes the focus with the energy of the plant placed on the reproductive capabilities of the plant and not the flower part.
Best to harvest on a clear, dry morning after the dew is gone.  Don't wash.  Dry in shade.
(Somewhat paraphrased from Green's Herbal Medicine-Makers Handbook)

Thanks Mrs. B! ;)
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Offline jessica

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #19 on: June 21, 2008, 07:07:19 PM »
Does anyone know if any of the mints (peppermint, spearmint, catnip, lemon balm, apple mint, I think that is all) can be grown next to each other?  I finally have a small patch where I am planting an herb garden, but I do not know if the mints will cross-pollinate with each other and make something weird.   ???
Jessica

Offline farmgirls

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #20 on: June 22, 2008, 03:38:22 AM »
We have lemon balm and spearmint next to each other and they are fine.  Of course they all grow together and it is hard to manage so IMO you should plant them in pots. ;)  Sorry that doesn't help much. :-\
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Offline wlwest

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #21 on: September 21, 2008, 09:00:59 AM »
Can I take my herbs from outside and continue to keep them in the house this winter?  I wasn't sure if they would still grow.  The only ones I really care about are the basil, oregano.  I have a spearmint plant in water, I really want to plant that too. 

I tried drying out some herbs in my dehyrdator, then I stuck them in the freezer in bags! ;D  I don't know if that's good or not, but I wasn't sure what to do with them

wendy

Offline Mrs. B

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #22 on: September 21, 2008, 09:17:24 AM »
Can I take my herbs from outside and continue to keep them in the house this winter?  I wasn't sure if they would still grow.  The only ones I really care about are the basil, oregano.  I have a spearmint plant in water, I really want to plant that too. 

I tried drying out some herbs in my dehyrdator, then I stuck them in the freezer in bags! ;D  I don't know if that's good or not, but I wasn't sure what to do with them

wendy
Wendy..

This is from www.walterreeves.com aka the Georgia Gardener...
Quote
Basil will not tolerate cold weather. At temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit, it suffers injury that looks similar to frost damage.
Finish harvesting Basil before the first frost.  For winter use, trim the plants back and pot up 1 or 2 plants. Dig small but healthy plants, shake off as much soil as possible and set them in artificial potting soil. Place the pots indoors over the kitchen sink or in another bright, humid place.

You will not have to spend a lot of time caring for Oregano in the garden. It needs little waterabout 1 inch per weekand is vigorous enough to squeeze out most weeds. In the colder areas of the South, winter survival may be aided by applying 6 to 8 inches of straw mulch. Remove it in the spring before plants begin to grow.

The main things are just to make sure they get enough sun, and I have had issues with them getting "leggy" and bugs when they are indoors. 

I would go ahead and plant the mint now before it gets too cool (unless you are in the extreme north, and then I would probably keep it in a pot until spring).  It is a perennial so it should do okay being planted now.


Offline wlwest

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Re: Growing (and using) Herbs
« Reply #23 on: September 22, 2008, 09:08:15 AM »
Thanks!  I'll give it a try and see what happens.  I guess I'll keep the mint inside, I planted some peppermint earlier in the year and it died. :'(

I only have pots right now, my other little herb garden i took my fence down, and the chickens just dig it up! :P

Wendy