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Herb Balcony

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by Muskrat on February 26, 2004 10:24 PM
Hi all... [wayey]
It is snowing here in Germany, but still I am thinking green!
I have a south facing balcony, full sun...I am thinking of doing mostly just herbs this year. (zone 7/8)
I would like to plant: dill, lavender, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, thyme, mint and basil. I believe I can find all these in the shops here.
What sort of soil mix would be best? Just a potting soil with a ratio of sand? Should all of these be put into separate pots or are there any which I can group together in a large pot?
Thanks in advance!
~Amie [kitty] [Roll Eyes]
by Jillie on February 27, 2004 04:39 PM
Muskrat, we grow scented geraniums in pots on a patio. The scents available are amazing and they can be used in potpourris, filler for flower arrangements, etc.
Geraniums are such a hearty bunch that I didn't bother to do any soil ratios...We just buy a good-quality potting soil. They seem to thrive with a bit more water than you think they should have & feed them once a month during the growing season..But...I've had them thrive with no plant food at all! I have three different scents in one pot, and others (like the mint...it can get HUGE) in pots by themselves.
I don't know about grouping the herbs you mentioned...someone will be along with lotsa expert info shortly.

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by papito on February 27, 2004 07:40 PM
At first, I was tempted to suggest using a Strawberry Pot, but then I think, Culinary Window Box would be better for what you want to do.

An idea would be to group the culinary herbs that you want to plant taking into consideration the different heights of the matured herbs. Depending on the variety you choose, most of them are in the 6" to 24" tall; others are up to 36" and over.

Whether you intend to plant them in individual pot or culinary grouping in a large pot or window box, the thing to remember is that you need a container that is at least 6" deep.

I have some herbs (oregano, mints, garlic chives, green onion, garlic, (my ginger died due to frost)growing in containers using only the bagged pottting soil.

Elsewhere in the Herb section, Nikkal has an article on Herb Overview and Illustrations & info on some herbs.

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Amor est vitae essentia.
Love is the essence of life.
by Barb H. on February 28, 2004 02:39 AM
Amie,

I would get a big pot and plant most of them together! Except for the mint! I think that can grow quickly and take over the other plants.

Barb

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by weezie13 on February 28, 2004 03:18 PM
Amie,
What a great idea!!
Do you cook with herbs???

I don't cook with them but I love some for the fragrance.

#1. My first favorite is lemon thyme, such a beautiful clean smell, and a nice pick~me upper smell when you're blue!!!
(you can eat it too, or put it in lemon aid drinks, freeze into ice cubes, soups, where ever a hint of lemon would be used!!)

#2. My next favorite herb would have to be borage,
Beautiful BLUE flowers, and fuzzy leaves,
(*it will get tall, I have mine in my veggie garden next to my tomatoes, so I let it get tall, you may be able to pinch it a bit to get it to bush out, and it will reseed prolifically for you, the seed just drops here in the fall time on top of the dirt, winters over under the snow and next spring it's re~seeded it'self!) You can eat that too, the flowers taste like a lite cucumber and also can be frozen into icecubes for drinks or cold salad dishes to keep it cold and pretty under the bowl you're serving it on.
#3. I love chives, not only for eating, but the flowers are so pretty, the bees love them in the spring too! They'll reseed prolifically too for you! (* I have some giant garlic's too, they are alot of fun and alot purple, neat seed head in the fall time too) (**and a nodding garlic, where the head twists under and around in a circle like, and that's alot of fun to watch...)
I have alot of the natural or out in the country herbs like mullein, wild mints, evening primrose,
chamomile,catnip, calendula's....

Here's the direct link to Nikkal's post about herbs and their needs and especially the dirt/soil.

HERBS - AN OVERVIEW by NIKKAL

My only suggestion would be is that, herbs like it when nothing really splashes back up on them.
So, do up your soil, and maybe get some of those smooth rocks (shiney, polished, we have them that come in bags here in a store called the Dollar Store, maybe aquariums stores might have them, or decorator places, hard to say where you live..
**Or just use some rocks found by a creek bed maybe* lay them on top of the soil, absorbs warmth and keeps the dirt from splashing back on to the plants' base..

Keep us posted if you get some going, we'd
love [Cool] to hear about it and what you did.

Weezie

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by Muskrat on February 28, 2004 05:31 PM
[thumb]
Thanks for the tips so far!
I do cook a lot with herbs, and my balcony is right off the kitchen. It is the sunniest room in our apartment, which makes it SUCH a pleasure to cook. Cooking is my hobby, music is my job, so I think I have things worked out pretty well! [flower]
Garlic was mentioned, and funnily enough I was JUST thinking about growing garlic. I have never done it before, and was wondering if that works well in pots too? Just drop in some grocery store bought garlic cloves and do the usual green thumb thing?

I have been asked by folks here what kinds of things I cook, American food, German food, Italian, Oriental etc... and I have replied Garlic and onion...because for a time there it seemed like everything I cooked had garlic and/or onion. [Roll Eyes]

I just adore fresh herbs in things, pastas and salads and marinades and breads. Tonight I am making a gnocchi dish with an orange-ginger butter sauce with fresh basil and parmesean. That basil is AMAZING!

Well, I could go ON AND ON AND ON about cooking [Wink]
The Lemon Thyme sounds fantastic...I think a collegue of mine in the orchestra had some last year....
and the tip about the 6 inch deep pot is greatly appreciated! (I planted tomatoes in too shallow of pots last year and it was chaos...but I got some very yummy tomatoes!...I planted 26 seeds and got 26 plants...all my friends recieved tomato plants as gifts and there were still tons of plants taking over my balcony) [Embarrassed]

I will let ya'll know what comes of it!
Sincerely,
Amie
by weezie13 on March 02, 2004 02:56 PM
Amie,
Have you ever made the flavored oils??

You take an olive oil and put in stuff to flavor the oil...???

Like a couple of cloves of Garlic
or thyme or basil or however you'd like your oil
to taste or work for you???

I did the garlic one time and it wasn't too bad..

Weezie

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Weezie

Don't forget to be kind to strangers. For some who have
done this have entertained angels without realizing it.
- Bible - Hebrews 13:2

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http://photobucket.com/albums/y250/weezie13/
by Muskrat on March 04, 2004 01:27 PM
[kitty]
Yes, I have done the flavored oil thing. I like it quite a lot...nice for salads. I haven't done it for a year. I will have to do it this spring when things start growing.
[thumb]
Thanks for reminding me!
[wayey]
Amie
by Rick on March 06, 2004 08:24 AM
Regarding what to grow the herbs in, I would suggest that you do not put all of them in one container. The varieties you listed have very different needs. Rosemary is quite slow growing in comparison to the other herbs you mentioned. It would get overrun easily. After several years, it can be very ornamental. It's also better to winter it indoors. Except for the variety called ARP, which traded flavor for hardiness, most are barely zone 8 hardy. Oregano can form some very large clumps. The white flowered, and better flavored variety doesn't spread too badly, but the pink/purple flowered variety can be as invasive as mint, both by root growth and by reseeding. It does have the added benefit of being a good food source for beneficial insects. Lavender can be slow growing, depending on the variety. Both Lavender and Thyme prefer a drier, sandier soil. Dill and basil are annuals. Consider limiting them to one end of a planter or give them their own. Many plants don't care to be grown with dill. These 2 do best in good garden soil. Marjoram grows similarly to oregano. It is usually treated as an annual but can be perennial indoors. Most marjoram grow well in a hanging basket. Keeps the leaves cleaner too. Regarding the mint, most mint does not come true from seed. Every plant will taste different. If you're after real peppermint or spearmint, buy plants from a reputable source. If you like to experiment, or just want mint, no specific kind, then buy seeds and taste them all. If you find one you like, take cuttings from it. If you have room, and can bring it in during the winter, get a bay tree too. They grow well in a big pot. Hope this helps.
Rick
by Muskrat on March 06, 2004 11:56 PM
[thinker]
Marjoram in a hanging pot! What a wonderful idea! Very cool!
Thanks for all the tips!
[grin] [flower] [kitty]
~Amie
by Muskrat on March 21, 2004 09:44 PM
Hello again. I went to the garden store and found some lovely plants. I took home a peppermint (which looks slightly different from the other peppermint I have), two sages, lemon thyme (BEAUTIFUL PLANT!), oregano, lavender, rosemary and parsley. In town I noticed some small bay trees...I might have to get one. [grin] I put the two sages and parsley in a long window box pot. I put the rosemary and the lavender in a round pot...and the rest are in their own pots. Unfortunately the weather here is turning cold and icky again [Mad] so all these guys are on my kitchen table...instead of on the BALCONY.

(I also put my little ginkgo tree into a bonsai pot! Hurrah! Last year I cut him down and grafted three branches down on his trunk, and two of them took! Now he is living in a new lovely bonsai pot! )

Perhaps one of these days I will post some photos. That could be fun.

Thanks for tips and ideas!
I still have my eye out for marjoram and dill and basil. I think I will have to go to the outdoor market for those...I just usually am not up that early in the morning. [Roll Eyes]

[flower] [Wink] [kitty] [wayey]
~Amie

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