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Need suggestions for herb/spice wall in my garden

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posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 11:45 AM
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I have started a Spice Wall to surround my veg garden, and would like some suggestions as to what to populate it with.

It works like this, I dig a long, narrow trench, lay a cinderblock over it, lengthwise, with the holes facing up to the sky and down to the trench, I then fill the holes with a soil mix and a plant that produces an herb, a spice, or a pest-deterring flower like the Marigold. For each cinderblock, I basically end up with two nice-sized flowerpots that great drainage and give deeper roots access to more soil.

The idea is threefold: it acts as a porous, soil and water, physical barrier against grass, weeds, and an aromatic barrier against pests and animals. It provides me with a wide variety of (eventually) free, fresh spices and herbs for cooking. And lastly, it's extremely educational.

So far, I've got: Marigolds, two types of rosemary, two types of basil, garlic, oregano, dill, arugula, and stevia. We've also got wild mint, but it flourishes so much we don't need to cultivate it.

It's kind of addictive looking for new herbs to use. I'm going for variety as much as functionality. I've had great fun so far finding new herbs, and when I discovered stevia, the excitement got even more so. Stevia leaves are something like 30 times sweeter than sugar. I made some tea with the mint we have running wild out back and let it steep with some stevia leaves... it took off the bite from the mint while leaving the "minty", sweetened it juuuuust enough to make it tasty while still being thirst-quenching, and was oddly calming as well.

Anyway, I've still probably got another 50-100 "flower pots" to fill, and any herbs, spices, pest-repelling flowers, you can recommend that will manage to flourish inside a cinderblock hollow would be greatly appreciated.

And please, keep it legal. I'm sure we're all aware there's a certain herb I could grow, but I don't particularly care to grow anything that can get me arrested.




posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 11:49 AM
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What about chilli's

They are always a good addition to any cooking that you do, and they are pretty easy to maintian



posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 11:54 AM
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A couple different varieties of parsley would be good too pal.

Parsley freshens up just about any savory dish. Love the stuff.

Peace



posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 12:10 PM
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Yep chili, parsley and maybe some coriander (cilantro) ?
That sounds like a lovely garden you have there


I didn't know you could grow Stevia, that sounds like a wonderful plant to have also



posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 12:29 PM
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How about sage and rosemary? The smell repels some pests, but it pleasant to us.
Chives are great to grow as well.



posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 12:41 PM
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Peppers
I've had miserable luck with Bell peppers this year. I mean miserable. Seeds never germinated... hardened transplants died... You'd think it was garden hell for peppers in my garden. Maybe I mixed the soil too rich? Also, some peppers require big bushy spaces. Have y'all got any recommendations on specific peppers that aren't painfully hot, and can grow "contained"? Or did you mean specifically "chili peppers"?

Parsley
Dr. Love, you read my mind. I was actually reaching for Parsley when I had to move this Stevia plant out of the way, and then read it to see what it was... My next trip will definitely involve Parsley. Do you have a favorite type to recommend?

Cilantro
Fantastic idea! I'd completley forgotten about Cilantro. Every time I buy it at the store, it's way too much to use quickly, and if I don't use it quickly, it becomes slimy and moldy. Having my own supply I could just pick what I need from it would be fantastic. Thank you for the reminder.

Stevia
I had no idea this stuff even existed till it ended up accidentally in the way of the parsley I was reaching for yesterday. I did a little research into it, and it turns out there appears to be quite a bit of controversy surrounding a judgment call from the FDA about it.

(from Wiki...)



In 1991, at the request of an anonymous complaint, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeled stevia as an "unsafe food additive" and restricted its import. The FDA's stated reason was "toxicological information on stevia is inadequate to demonstrate its safety."[36] This ruling was controversial, as stevia proponents pointed out that this designation violated the FDA's own guidelines under which any natural substance used prior to 1958 with no reported adverse effects should be generally recognized as safe (GRAS).

Stevia occurs naturally, requiring no patent to produce it. As a consequence, since the import ban in 1991, marketers and consumers of stevia have shared a belief that the FDA acted in response to industry pressure.[13] Arizona congressman Jon Kyl, for example, called the FDA action against stevia "a restraint of trade to benefit the artificial sweetener industry."[37] Citing privacy issues, the FDA has not revealed the source of the original complaint in its responses to requests filed under the Freedom of Information Act.[13]


And apparently it doesn't grow very well from seed. Rather it's better to plant it from transplants, clones, etc, as most of the seeds never germinate.


I've been browsing through wiki's list of Culinary Herbs and Spices and it's been pretty cool reading so far. I'm only through the A's so far.



posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 12:45 PM
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Originally posted by AccessDenied
How about sage and rosemary? The smell repels some pests, but it pleasant to us.
Chives are great to grow as well.


Well, I've got 2 types of rosemary already, but I don't have sage or chives yet. Great idea!

I thought chives were just the green tops to green onions? I may be wrong on that... it's been my assumption my whole life, but never bothered looking it up.

(does so now)

Well, according to wiki I was sorta right... they're a type of onion, apparently the smallest. This is perfect! they grow in nice, tight clumps, and are perennials to boot, so I don't have to keep buying more later on. Thanks! I would not have thought to grow chives, despite how useful they'd be in the kitchen.



posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 12:47 PM
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Originally posted by thelibra
Peppers
I've had miserable luck with Bell peppers this year. I mean miserable. Seeds never germinated... hardened transplants died... You'd think it was garden hell for peppers in my garden. Maybe I mixed the soil too rich? Also, some peppers require big bushy spaces. Have y'all got any recommendations on specific peppers that aren't painfully hot, and can grow "contained"? Or did you mean specifically "chili peppers"?


I meant specifically chilli peppers. I assume by bell peppers you mean capsicum right?

Sorry different country here, lol



posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 12:49 PM
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reply to post by thelibra
 


Yes you are correct. I have them growing wild in my backyard, and they have an onion flavor that is more subtle. I chop them up and use them in salads instead of green onions, or I sprinkle them over cut up potatoes, drizzle with olive oil, and baked in the oven. Topped with melted cheese, these taters are heaven.



posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 12:57 PM
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reply to post by thelibra
 


Definitely your basic Italian parsley and then one variety of flat leaf. There's quite a few to choose from.

Get us a picture of the garden when you get it done.


Peace



posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 01:25 PM
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Originally posted by OzWeatherman
I meant specifically chilli peppers. I assume by bell peppers you mean capsicum right?


Exactly correct, I was referring to the Capsicum Annuum. They are a key staple in Tex-Mex food and other tasty dishes. The wife isn't particularly fond of Chili Peppers (too hot for her tastes), though I like them, and they make attractive and presumably bug-repelling bundles to hang on the back-porch. Used sparingly, maybe I could introduce them a little at a time into our cuisine each night. Great suggestion, thank you!


Originally posted by AccessDenied
I chop them up and use them in salads instead of green onions, or I sprinkle them over cut up potatoes, drizzle with olive oil, and baked in the oven. Topped with melted cheese, these taters are heaven.


Good lord, my mouth is watering as I read this. I can't wait to find some of these puppies and plant 'em. It's going to be some good eating at our house once all's said and done.


Originally posted by Dr Love
Definitely your basic Italian parsley and then one variety of flat leaf. There's quite a few to choose from.


We only had two or so at Home Depot, but Calloway's would probably have more. Any idea how many I'd need to plant in order to provide a decent garnish for, say, 4 people on a semi-regular basis, without stripping my plants faster than they could replentish?




Originally posted by Dr Love
Get us a picture of the garden when you get it done.



When I get it done??? HAhahahaha... hahahahowooooohhoooo...
Pull the other one, it's got bells on! Hahahahahaha...
:LOL:

It seems like no matter how much work I put into the garden, the only thing I seem to really accomplish is discovering how much more needs to be done. Right now, I'm at a serious quandry...

See, the only things that are honestly thriving in the garden are the things I didn't actually intentionally plant. I've got a pumpkin patch the size of a schoolbus now that sprouted because I tossed an broken up old Halloween pumpkin into a compost heap. It's great, but in order to keep the pumpkins shaded, I have to let the grass grow tall and rampant. This resulted in a lot of grass growing inside the garden proper, which I didn't particularly care about because NOTHING was growing right. But then, apparently the grass shaded the ground just enough to allow stuff to start sprouting and growing where I'd initially planted seed. Except now, I have no idea what is what, because I'd given up on that area to focus on things like my Tomato Triangle experiement, and the Squash Box, and the Spice Wall. Well only two things in the Triangle look like they'll live, but probably produce no fruit, the Squash Box was a total wash...

Only the spice wall really seems to be my real successful endeavor so far. Everything else it seems like the less I do to "help" it along, the better it goes. So under that assumption, I do nothing. BLAMMO! Some thrice-damned beastie chews through the stalks on my accidental pumpkin patch, decimating about 1/2 the foliage, and ruining what might have otherwise become a 100+pounder (already the size of a watermelon, and it's only June!). So I intervene again, cutting out the dead foliage, then make a dishsoap and tobacco-juice tea, and sprinkle it over the pumpkin leaves and stalks, and spread coffee-grounds and crushed eggshells underneath. This seemed to help the patch recouperate, though it's still only about 2/3 the size it had been previously.

So, anyway, the whole thing looks like a giant, weedy, grassy, unorganized mess of small growths taunting me with their vegless, fruitless stalks and leaves. Except for the wall. That's coming along nicely. Dunno that I'll ever be "done" with the garden though. Especially since, once I have the primary components of the wall in place, I'm going to do some hypertufa on the cinderblocks to make them more attractive. Then I might add an additional block level to it each year, if I can pull it off.



posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 01:29 PM
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I know this is a bit off topic, but if you are an avid gardner and have a lot of patinence, it is worth having a go at planting a macadamia nut bush. You wont get nuts for about 7 years though but the bush's are pretty hardy, and plus, it is so worth the wait for macadamias



posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 01:37 PM
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Originally posted by thelibra
We only had two or so at Home Depot, but Calloway's would probably have more. Any idea how many I'd need to plant in order to provide a decent garnish for, say, 4 people on a semi-regular basis, without stripping my plants faster than they could replentish?


Shoot, beats me! Maybe someone with a little greener thumb than I can answer that. I'm not really sure how fast the stuff grows.

Also, personally, I'd plant some tarragon because I like to make bernaise sauce for my steaks.


Peace


[edit on 11-6-2008 by Dr Love]



posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 01:56 PM
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Originally posted by OzWeatherman
I know this is a bit off topic, but if you are an avid gardner and have a lot of patinence, it is worth having a go at planting a macadamia nut bush. You wont get nuts for about 7 years though but the bush's are pretty hardy, and plus, it is so worth the wait for macadamias


Extremely tempting, except I don't know if we'll be in our house in 7-10 years... Our current one is our first house, and while it's a fine house, our family is growing, and perhaps soon to grow so more. Still, the prospect intrigues, and I could certainly use another tree. At the very least, I'll keep this in mind for our next house, and at the very most, I may just go ahead and pick one up while I'm out. Thanks for the suggestion. I do love macadamia nuts.



Originally posted by Dr Love
Shoot, beats me! Maybe someone with a little greener thumb than I can answer that. I'm not really sure how fast the stuff grows.


I guess I can experiment with that. Should be pretty easy to figure out just based on a couple of plants, how many more I'd need.



Originally posted by Dr Love
Also, personally, I'd plant some tarragon because I like to make bernaise sauce for my steaks.



Ahhhh, good idea! What's your recipe for bernaise sauce? I used to do exclusively a dry-rub, till I discovered it was about a million times better if I melted a stick of butter, put the dry-rub in that, whisked it up, and then grilled the steak. For some reason it just made it better.

Oh, and do you apply the sauce before or after the grilling?



posted on Jun, 11 2008 @ 03:54 PM
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Originally posted by thelibra
Ahhhh, good idea! What's your recipe for bernaise sauce?


Here's a recipe for a classic bernaise. I don't add any lemon juice to mine though, that's more for your standard Hollandise IMO.

Bernaise recipe


Oh, and do you apply the sauce before or after the grilling?


Let the steak rest and just before you eat it pour some of the sauce on top. Heavenly!!!

Peace



posted on Jun, 12 2008 @ 06:43 PM
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Here's my progress so far on the Spice Wall. Thanks for all the great suggestions. I went to 4 different places trying to find chives, and apparently the entire world thought they needed chives, because they all were out. However, I did find some good Italian Parsley, Curled Parsley, Chilies, Sweet Marjoram, Italian Oregano, and some various others.

Here's the pics of what I've done so far:



and



Still not done by a longshot, but herbs and spices are, I found out, rather hard to find.



posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 12:03 AM
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reply to post by thelibra
 


I would suggest that you grow Garlic , Thyme and Oregano . They are all versatile and I found that Garlic is nice roasted .

Cheers xpert11 .



posted on Jun, 13 2008 @ 06:26 AM
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Originally posted by xpert11
I would suggest that you grow Garlic , Thyme and Oregano . They are all versatile and I found that Garlic is nice roasted .


I didn't find any Thyme, unfortunately (though I do have Parsley and Sage on the wall). I don't know if it's because Thyme is out of season or what just not available as a starter-plant locally.

As for Garlic, I've actually got something like seven cloves planted. In the photos, the areas of the wall that don't appear to have a plant in them actually have a clove or two waiting to sprout. This is from a neighbor's garlic, which has an extremely strong taste. I'd had no idea fresh garlic from the garden could be so firey hot. The stuff from the grocery store is like syrofoam in comparison.

I have but one Italian Oregano plant, though apparently there's Greek Oregano and Golden Oregano available locally, which I intend on picking up and planting in the near future.

One thing I'm considering is trying to see if I can get any herbs (besides the garlic) to come up from seed. There's so many to try, but such small selection at the major plant nurseries. I need an actual herb specialist store in the area or something.



posted on Jun, 21 2008 @ 01:37 AM
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Thelibra just out of interest when did you plant your Garlic ?
I will be planting a few Garlic bulbs some time next week . There isnt a great deal I can plant this time of year but I plant what I can . You are probably correct concerning Thyme being out of season because I have seen it on the shelves here .



posted on Jun, 21 2008 @ 02:12 PM
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xpert11 depending what climate you live the best time is october for cooler climates and late spring early summer in warmer climates.

But even then the best time is october for a better crop plenty of sun,a well drained patch of soil and bone meal fertilliser every 3 months.



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