Author Topic: Growing Herbs  (Read 366 times)

Offline lottieguy

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Growing Herbs
« on: March 18, 2014, 12:02:40 PM »
Hi Ya, Don't know if this is the right place but here goes. I am looking to purchase some plug plants this year of Sweet Cicely and Stevia. I like growing herbs and want to grow something different. I have heard different reports on these plants and was wondering if any one had grown them and what advice they would give for the care of said plants. It gave me great pleasure when I grew the sage and the onion to make our stuffing, tasted lovely. Made a mistake with mint and lemon balm. It grows all over now. Never mind new potatoes and home grown mint perfick. Happy gardening

Offline galina

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2014, 01:05:20 PM »
Sweet Cicely is a well-behaved herb that resprouts every spring.  Its main purpose is to 'flavour' sour fruits, especially rhubarb.  Rhubarb and other fruits stewed with Cicely need far less added sugar.  The flavour is faintly 'aniseedy' and not unpleasant.  Sweet cicely sprouts at exactly the same time as rhubarb, which is useful.  Later in the year it produces white umbel flowers and dark brown half-inch long thin seeds. 

My stevia plant is in a big pot.  It stays in the conservatory.  It also resprouts, but at the moment mine is looking a bit sad, not sure why.  It is a third-year plant, maybe they don't last that long and I should sow again.  The problem with stevia is that you can't really use it in drinks as a direct sugar replacer, but it is fine in cooking.  Cooking with stevia regularly needs harvesting leaves from quite a few plants.  Stevia is heat stable, which means that it is possible to preserve fruit in kilner jars with stevia as sweetener.  Or stew fruit with a few leaves of stevia for low calorie/diabetic desserts. 

Offline Big Gee

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2014, 02:26:59 PM »
Sweet Cicely & Stevia are two herbs that I keep on promising myself I'm going to grow but don't seem able to get around to it!  ss:-(

In the main because the compartments in my herb box are full & I can't decide what to drop to accomodate those two! The herb box is outside the kitchen door at home & not down the lottie.

My interest in them lies in the fact that I have Type 2 diabetes so any natural sugar substitute is welcome when it comes to cooking - especially in the rhubarb tart season!  CW ;-)

Lottieguy - what you need is a prison for those colonising herbs. Here's a photo of me & my best friend (who sadly passed away a year or so ago) sitting on the herb box that I built to accomodate my OH's need to just pop out of the back door to harvest what she needs for the kitchen:




 

Offline lottieguy

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2014, 03:15:58 PM »
Hi Ya, thanks for the advice Galina, I am suprised that the stevia isn't for tea as all the things I have read say it is sweeter than sugar and suitable for diabetics, I would check on that BG if I were you. Maybe your plant got chilled Galina as I read they are not cold tolerant. You have given me hope. I just have to convince the OH I need another plant pot indoors. Your herb bed is looking good my freind though you have my comiserations over loosing your mate I know how I have felt at times like that and still think of them now and I lost them 6 years ago as the two we have are now 4. Happy gardening

Offline galina

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2014, 05:40:36 PM »
Hi Ya, thanks for the advice Galina, I am suprised that the stevia isn't for tea as all the things I have read say it is sweeter than sugar and suitable for diabetics, I would check on that BG if I were you. Maybe your plant got chilled Galina as I read they are not cold tolerant.

Sorry I wasn't as clear as I could have been.  Just adding a leaf to a cup of tea without crushing it first or cutting it into fine strips, doesn't release much of the sweetness.  And when it is cut or crushed, there are annoying floating bits.  As a sweetener it works well, just need to find a solution for the bits.  No problem in a teapot with a tea strainer. 

Having got chilled is quite possible, should pick up soon if that is all that was wrong, there are a few shoots at the base that look alive.

Yes definitely a herb for sheltered conditions.  But the Sweet Cicely is completely winter hardy outdoors.

Very nice looking herb bed/bench Big G!    clap:-)
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 05:51:31 PM by galina »

Offline Big Gee

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2014, 08:53:16 PM »
Here's a better snap of the herb box - I couldn't find it earlier! This was taken in Feb. 2010 - just after I finished putting it together - notice there's no soil in the individual boxes yet! In the background is a coldframe I'd built just before the herb box.


« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 11:12:03 AM by Big Gee »
 

Offline squirrel

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2014, 11:04:04 PM »
I used to grow sweet cicely in the back garden before it became a patio and it was something I really liked to use. I keep promising myself I will grow some at the allotment but haven't yet got around to it.

Another plant for sweetness without sugar, (not actually a herb)  is yacon. I have pout the leaves through the juicer as a sweetener and the root can be boiled and strained to make a syrup too.

Very good they say fro both obesity and diabetes because it is not a calorific sugar.

I failed with Stevia but will try again.

I have a large herb bed which has a base of perennials such as sage, hyssop, tarragon, fennel, salad burnet, welsh onions, egyption walking onions,  marjoram and oregano with chives and wild strawberries along the borders. My rosemary and bay died and await replacing.

I also sow annuals into it and edible flowers too. I love to pull leaves to add to salads or to cook with.

Borage, thyme, lavender and other herbs are dotted around elsewhere.

I also have a variety of mints but not in the herb bed as I put them where they have room to run and I can let some flower to attract insects.
squirrels are often out their trees but never short of nuts.

Offline lottieguy

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2014, 09:07:11 AM »
Hi Ya, Thanks for the advice Galina and I will definately try it. I am toying with turning an area in back garden to a herb bed. I think it will be only those in pots. The sweet cicely can go down the plot as I read being one of the first to flower it's a favourite of bees and they need help by all accounts. Sorry but I couldn't open your piccy BG for some reason. Will try again as all I got this time is a little box with a red cross in it. I wonder if you bought seeds or plug plants Galina? I have read that sweet cicely needs that period of cooling before germination in order to trick it in growth. I forget the technical name for it but with seeds they advise putting them in the fridge for 4 weeks or sow in november outside. Interesting may give both a go. They say to take cuttings is easieat so I assume you take the soft cutting as for others and bit rooting gel and bob's your aunty. Must give it a go. Happy gardening

Offline Big Gee

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2014, 11:29:29 AM »
. . .  Sorry but I couldn't open your piccy BG for some reason. Will try again as all I got this time is a little box with a red cross in it. . . .

Check it out now lottieguy, I've just edited it.  ThU5:-)
 

Offline scary crow

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2014, 12:14:31 PM »
I couldent even see the photo before ...Wow thats nice BG looks like your a clever guy with your hands a bit of wood and a few screws and you turn out something that looks good .... ThU32:-)

Offline Big Gee

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2014, 01:01:00 PM »
"Poverty & necessity are the mother & father of invention scary"!!!  CW ;-)
 

Offline lottieguy

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2014, 01:21:08 PM »
Hi Ya, looking at the herb bed is making me want, OH had better be out when I start. Looks like a fair bit of ground you've got there mate. We need a piccy now with it growing. What have you got in it? Happy Gardening

Offline galina

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2014, 06:30:18 AM »
I am afraid, I bought plants.  I also bought stevia seeds because I did not know the plant was perennial.  I have stratified other plants in the fridge, damp soil in a chinese food container (yes!) seeds on top, closed the lid, labelled (what it was and when it should come out) and off it went to the back of the fridge for 3 months.  After that the box was taken out and the lid came off.  Placed in the conservatory, things germinated pretty quickly after that.

That's quite a slope you have Big G!  I like the pretty trim finish at the bottom of the herb box.  Altogether very good looking!

Offline scary crow

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2014, 11:25:53 AM »
"Poverty & necessity are the mother & father of invention scary"!!!  CW ;-)


Yes  i agree with that BG ...Pretty good with my hands as well would rather build my own get the exact size you want for your needs and lasts a lot longer than shop bought stuff ..

Offline lottieguy

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #14 on: March 24, 2014, 10:47:53 AM »
Hi Ya, well down the lottie and talking to a mate, mentioned herbs and sweet cicly and he said do you mean and pronounced it differently. I said yes and he said I have loads growing in my rhubarb patch I will get you a root. Ten minutes later he turned with a big clump. kepp it under control he said as it is very prolific and self seeds for a pastime. It's in flower and smells so good and strongly of anissed. I planted a clump out by my rhubarb and took some home to bring on in pots. I am now looking for only the Stevia. Just goes to show that having ageneral chat about things brings alsorts to light. Happy gardening.

Offline galina

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #15 on: March 24, 2014, 06:58:36 PM »
Hi Ya, well down the lottie and talking to a mate, mentioned herbs and sweet cicly and he said do you mean and pronounced it differently. I said yes and he said I have loads growing in my rhubarb patch I will get you a root. Ten minutes later he turned with a big clump. kepp it under control he said as it is very prolific and self seeds for a pastime. It's in flower and smells so good and strongly of anissed. I planted a clump out by my rhubarb and took some home to bring on in pots. I am now looking for only the Stevia. Just goes to show that having ageneral chat about things brings alsorts to light. Happy gardening.

Goodness it is in flower???  Mine has barely re-sprouted and won't be in flower for months.  Good that you got a plant, saves all the cold stratifying business.  Mine has never got out of control.  It looks like more than one plant, but at the moment I can't really tell, because they have only just re-sprouted - it looks like more than one plant.  Your location must be much more sheltered than here, but that's no surprise because we are in a pretty cold place.


Offline lottieguy

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Re: Growing Herbs
« Reply #16 on: April 11, 2014, 02:36:55 PM »
Hi Ya, well just been looking at the sweet cicely and though it just got placed in a pot and left to get on with it I am suprised to say it is picking up very well. I went on the hunt for stevia plants and found Marshalls are selling plug plants £9 for 6 so I took the proverbial bull by the horns and oredred some. Should be with me end of the month. Happy Gardening