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Growing fresh herbs/spices

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  • mackdaddy
    Former Member
    • Jul 2015
    • 264
    • Greencastle, PA

    Growing fresh herbs/spices

    I always read/hear about using fresh herbs/spices when you can. Does anyone grow their own? I think I would like to try it. I need a simple way to do it and that I can grow during winter also. What do you grow? How to dry & chop or grind and store if you do that. One warning, it has to be simple & easy. I kill anything that is green, but I would like to have fresh if I can do it. At least attempt it. Thanks. Jim
  • Jerod Broussard
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    • Jun 2014
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    #2
    gardenfish does

    Comment

    • gardenfish
      Club Member
      • Jul 2015
      • 168
      • Phoenix, Az.
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      #3
      Jerod Broussard Why yes, yes I do .

      I use fresh when I can and when I have large amounts I dry them and store in jars and also vacuum seal and freeze both fresh and dried. Depending on how much I have to dry and what it is I either hang or put in the Excaliber dryer.

      If there are just a few I actually pull the leaves off and either put in the dehydrator or set on a rack to dry. If there are a lot I will either hang to dry or if I use the dehydrator I put the whole branch i and crumple when done. This is for leafy things like basil, thyme, ect....

      For drying the larger things like peppers or onions I will slice into equal size pieces and then put in the dehydrator then leave out on a rack for 2-4 weeks and then grind and store. The size of the pieces does not really matter, just that they are the same size to dry evenly. Of course the smaller the size the faster the drying time.

      I have found that even after using the dehydrator and leaving out for 2-4 weeks and grinding there is still a little moisture which makes the powder stick together. So I usually put he powder in a foil pan and let dry another week or so stirring daily to dry some more before I put them in jars. The humidity here is around 30% on humid days and in single digits during hot summer so you may need more drying to store depending on your humidity.

      For freezing fresh I sometimes soak in a small amount of Good EVOO then vacuum seal for use later. I have also just put in the food processor and then put in vacuum bags and then if I need some without oil I will have it.

      Growing it is fun and easy. Just need a small pot , a little water and TLC. Grow lights help in winter when daylight hrs are shortened. I like to get heirloom seed from Seed savers, Baker Creek (rareseeds.com), and a few other seed banks.

      Good luck, Rick

      Comment


      • mackdaddy
        mackdaddy commented
        Editing a comment
        Good info, thanks. What are the top 5-7 herbs that you grow and used best fresh or dried. Not sure what to grow or what can be used fresh or store bought.
    • Mosca
      Charter Member
      • Oct 2014
      • 3710
      • PA
      • Large Big Green Egg, Weber Performer Deluxe, Weber Smokey Joe Silver, Maverick 732, DigiQ, and too much other stuff to mention.

      #4
      I do. It's really simple. I have a triangular planter on the deck, and I grow... let me see... rosemary, sweet basil, lemon basil, chives, parsley, cilantro, sage, thyme, oregano, and mint. And probably a couple others. It's ridiculously easy. Just plant them, put them in the sun, and water them. Once in a while add some Miracle Grow to the water because the soil can get depleted. Here's a photo of the planter I use. Mine is three levels high. I don't bother to store mine, when fall comes they die, when spring comes I get more. You can buythem almost anywhere: Lowes, a local greenhouse, even supermarkets have them. DO NOT try to plant hydroponic basil, the roots are too fragile. It just dies.
      Last edited by Mosca; September 1, 2015, 07:03 PM.

      Comment


      • mackdaddy
        mackdaddy commented
        Editing a comment
        Now that is simple and something I think I can handle. Thanks. Who sells the planter? Or just go to Amazon & search for planter?
    • gardenfish
      Club Member
      • Jul 2015
      • 168
      • Phoenix, Az.
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      #5
      No Miracle grow. Its a chemical and ruins the soil. You can tell when it runs out as the plants start to look weak because the fertilizer is gone and there is nothing good left in the soil. Use fish emulsion and or liquid seaweed for fertilizer. I mix bone meal and blood meal when I mix the soil for the slow release. And none of those kill the soil so all the good microorganisms grow in the dirt and keep a healthy soil. Throw a couple worms in for good luck. Miracle grow will kill them though.

      Comment


      • mackdaddy
        mackdaddy commented
        Editing a comment
        What kind of soil do you use? Potting? Plant soil? Or is their a special soil for herbs?

      • gardenfish
        gardenfish commented
        Editing a comment
        In my raised beds I mix native soil potting soils with no additives, manure /compost blends and I make my own compost from garden and kitchen scraps. In pots I use my garden soil and add either vermiculite or perlite for better drainage.
    • Willy
      Charter Member
      • Apr 2015
      • 1868
      • High Desert of the Great Southwest

      #6
      Mackdaddy: Where do you live?

      I am glad you broached this topic as I have been thinking of doing so for a while. BBQ and fresh garden stuuf goes hand in hand. How's about home grown lemon grass?

      By all means, do grow your own herbs. For those of you who like gardening or are curious, try growing your garlic. The time to plant garlic is September thru November, depending upon when winter hits your area. Garlic is easy.

      Gardening is especially a place where myths abound. It needs the light of science shone on it.

      Maybe we could get a section of AZ established to discuss gardening?

      Comment

      • Willy
        Charter Member
        • Apr 2015
        • 1868
        • High Desert of the Great Southwest

        #7
        Regarding soil, herbs are generally very tolerant of almost any soil and will likely do well in whatever your local soil is, unless it's very clay like and won't let water drain well. Generally speaking, herbs are more flavorful when stressed a bit.

        Comment

        • Willy
          Charter Member
          • Apr 2015
          • 1868
          • High Desert of the Great Southwest

          #8
          One more thought--don't go buying special planters and special soil. If you have a patch of ground to plant in, that's generally better because containers of any kind require more frequent watering. If you are limited to container growing for whatever reason, just a plain old garden pot is fine--the larger the better in order to minimize the effects of forgetting to water for a day. Small containers dry out quickly.

          Comment

          • Noonesperfect
            Club Member
            • Aug 2015
            • 11
            • Whidbey Island, WA

            #9
            Growing herbs during the winter is challenging. If you have spare cash, you can always try an Aerogarden or something similar and try to grow them indoors during the winter. Personally, I go with fresh during summer and fall, suplplemented by either store bought fresh or home dried during the winter and spring.

            Comment

            • ontheranch
              Former Member
              • Aug 2014
              • 69
              • Northwest

              #10
              mack, check out the "Grow Box" from aGardenPatch.com. Perfect for herbs and so easy.

              Comment


              • smarkley
                smarkley commented
                Editing a comment
                great idea... I need something like that!

              • mackdaddy
                mackdaddy commented
                Editing a comment
                Will check it out. Thanks
            • Willy
              Charter Member
              • Apr 2015
              • 1868
              • High Desert of the Great Southwest

              #11
              Regarding growing herbs in the winter, there are some that will do well through Southern winters, where the temps don't get below, say, 20-ish°F. Thyme and rosemary are great, some varieties of sage, too. Chives are another. Basil and oregano (Mexican oregano, too) are definitely warm weather crops, but oregano regrows every year and comes back fuller as time passes. Lemon grass regrows every year too and is a nice looking tall clump of wide bladed grass. Just buy some fresh lemon grass stalks with the root end relatively intact, root them for a few weeks in a glass of water, and stick 'em in the ground. Not sure how far north it'll grow, but here in Zone 8 (SE AZ at almost 5,000 feet), it grows very nicely.

              Comment

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