Friday, March 12, 2010

Herbs in the Vegetable Garden

It's that planning time of the year still for most plants and I want to mention something I think is important, herbs! Herbs go great in the vegetable garden mixed in with other plants like tomatoes and peppers. As companion plants go herbs are said to prevent various insects from effecting your plants. (Darla had an interesting post about companion plants earlier in the week you should read).  I tend to blend my herbs and vegetables relatively haphazardly which may limit their effectiveness in companion planting.

Currently I have three herbs alive and well in the vegetable garden: cilantro, oregano, and parsley.

Oregano

Oregano is a perennial and it shouldn't be a surprise that it came through the cold winter just fine. I like to dry the leaves for use in sauces over the winter but we use it fresh throughout the year. Rumor has it that oregano is a good companion plant for cabbages and helps to repel cabbage loopers - I despise those things!

Parsley
Parsley in the Vegetable Garden

Parsley is a biennial and likes to grow nice fluffy foliage the first year then produce seed the second year. Once the seed comes the plant is done for! Parsley is a good companion plant for alliums (onions, chives etc.), asparagus, tomato, and carrots.

Cilantro/Coriander

Cilantro in the Vegetable Garden
Of course the cilantro is one of our most useful herbs. It's also called coriander but I think cilantro flows better. I enjoy making guacamole, fajitas, and Tex-Mex kinds of dishes and cilantro is great for those foods.  Cilantro is a cool season herb that excels this time of year. Once the warm weather comes it will start to bolt and will send up flower stalks. Once this happens I let it go to seed then leave it alone until the seed has formed. Once the stalks have dried I'll either collect the seeds or sprinkle them right away in another vegetable garden bed. The seeds will germinate in the fall and you'll be able to harvest the leaves late into the winter.


Other Herbs I'll Grow in the Vegetable Garden:
Basil - I already have basil seed started but I'll sprinkle basil seed in many places. It goes great with tomatoes.
Thyme - Can you ever have enough time? I'll direct sow these seeds too.
Sage - I already have this herb growing in some ornamental beds but this year I'll propagate a few to put around the outside of the garden.

Herbs can play an important role in repelling animals like rabbits since the scent of the herbs is not necessary something they enjoy.  Too bad, they just don't know what they are missing!

9 comments :

  1. Well let me see, I have oregano, thyme, rosemary & a bay tree. I've had the bay tree for about 3 yrs. & it's not over 18".
    I heard or read that you are not supposed to fertilize herbs, is that so?

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  2. Aren't we glad the animals don't like our herbs?

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  3. I grow my herbs in a large metal decorative container that I put on the corner of my raised bed.

    I grow two different parslies in the raised bed. The container holds rosmary, lemon thyme, french thyme, greek oregano, italian oregano, tarragon and sage.

    Because I have such a small raised bed I went with the separate container - can't take a chance on them spreading!

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  4. I sure wish I could keep the rabbits at bay! I will have to do more research... I have always planted onions around the garden but not herbs too... a fence of herbs then if it can work! Thanks for the tips! ;>)

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    Replies
    1. Marigolds make an attractive border and their bitter scent deters many pests.

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  5. Dave, great post! Our parsley is thriving after all the cold weather, the chives and sage are cautiously reappearing, and the mint and rosemary and thyme are back in fine form -- but the oregano died. :( Boo hoo! I had no idea herbs might be useful as companion plants, but grow a lot of them as, well, I love to cook with fresh herbs. Maybe that's part of the reason I had no serious bug pests last year (knock on wood) in spite of pursuing a no-kill organic policy.

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  6. Thanks for the link Dave and the tips...this companion planting has my full attention as of late!

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  7. Dear Dave .. I am an herb fanatic and have them throughout my sun border and even in the shade .. but ever since I saw your post on the spiral garden I have had the thought of making a separate herb garden for that purpose.
    Yes ! to companion planting .. helps a lot of my flowers to have "guards" planted with them : )

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  8. I can't WAIT for fresh rosemary, which I grow in pots on the back deck. Somehow, I missed bringing mine indoors last fall so we've had to make do with dried rosemary all winter. And I'm craving basil, too. Mmmm, pesto...Otherwise, I have oregano, chives, and dill that return for me without my doing anything. And lavender, which I don't care for so much as a culinary herb but have to have around me for my emotional wellbeing. Best fragrance ever!
    The other important role played by many herbs of course (besides repelling some pesty animals) is the way they're a pollinator magnet. I love to watch the bees when they're drunk on nectar from the lavender plants, or are bobbing around in the agastache, or when the caterpillars snack on the parsley a little. It's all good.

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Dave

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