2021 The Plot Thickens: The Gardening Thread

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  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Hi! My name is Lyda the Ungardener, and I'm going to take a stab at a wide container herb garden. :open_mouth:

    Any thoughts?

    First will normal, good quality potting soil do?

    And are there herbs that should not be grown together?

    Thanks!

  • DiomedesDiomedes Shipmate
    Mint is delicious, useful and a complete thug! It will swamp everything else so probably needs a separate container.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited May 11
    Oooh Moroccan Mint!
    Helpfully will grow in anything.

    But I think maybe a clump of mint is Not what you had in mind.

    I found that if you grow two varieties of anything in a container, they loose their distinctiveness. Especially thyme.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I find that, apart from edibility, herbs don’t have all that much in common. I would be inclined to pot them separately.

    At the moment I have mint in the wild patch, on the understanding that I have to keep a close eye on it. I have rosemary seedlings in pots which I will move to some suitably arid spot so they can grow into a bush. Sage seems happy enough as a perennial in a pot. Parsley is transient - grow, cut, replant.
  • A lot of herbs like dry soil without a lot of nutrients, like thyme - others like a softer soil, so different soil types will influence your choices. I haven't done well with mint in a pot on a windowsill, but have a trough that is currently growing basil and parsley. I've also done well with tomato and pepper (pimento) plants, should do well with chillies, and am currently experimenting with strawberries. .
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited May 11
    I guess start with something easily achievable?

    And don’t forget to use often, herbs like a haircut!

    Chives are easiest grown from part of a divided clump. Friends might be inclined to help as getting warm fuzzy feelings from helping others is a thing! I find ordinary supermarket chives ( cut back quite well) transplant amazingly and I can use them soon. But from seed is ok , just slower and I m impatient!

    Thyme is a must, looks fabulous and once germinated is ready to go.

    Then it is your choice really, what do you either want to eat or look at?

    A mint gives height, but once cut bushes out well.

    An oregano or marjoram would fill out well.

    In the back of my mind basil doesn’t like being near sage? But as I can’t grow basil and have no sage that is not a theory I have tested!

    Coriander
    Or/ and
    Parsley as well?

    I use all the same growing medium and recommend a massive book on herbs! You ll be growing hyssop and borage before you know it. Hope it goes well.

  • Lamb ChoppedLamb Chopped Shipmate
    I'm not so sure about standard potting soil, though. I've heard that herbs tend to like poorer soil. If it were me, I'd cut it 50/50 with ordinary garden dirt.
  • Ethne AlbaEthne Alba Shipmate
    edited May 11
    ( admitting here to cutting All my compost 50/50, cheapskate much!)
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Thanks, all. I got a pot that is about 10 inches deep and 30 inches wide. Herbs that I like cooking with include oregano, basil, thyme, dill, rosemary, tarragon, and chives. I plan to put a rosemary plant in a separate pot since it can get big. I had heard about the bossy nature of mint lol and don't use it much anyway. My roomie rolls her eyes at me since I often plan things that don't pan out, but hey! I think this is something that will get my rear in gear.
  • I might add that Basil is lovely but around here it gets got by blackfly, whitefly, greenfly ('all we need, is a great big melting pot...) so when I grow it, I grow it on a sunny window cill indoors.
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Don't try lovage. It's huge. Or lemon balm - more of a thug than mint. I've got to deal with my herb bed. It's got rid of the chives and the parsley, and I need to move the rosemary somewhere else entirely. And find Grandad's mint which I had in a pot, but which has vanished. I saw some last year in the ground, but no sign yet.
  • la vie en rougela vie en rouge Circus Host, 8th Day Host
    Had a productive couple of hours this morning building a frame for beans. Apparently those years in the Girl Guides weren't wasted because I'm still quite good at lashing bits of wood together. The garden is windy, but I would have to be pretty unlucky for it to collapse.

    Now I just need the beans to turn up. A packet of borlotto is in the post somewhere.
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    We have both lovage and lemon balm, but yes, you need plenty of room, not a container. I was just cutting back our rosemary, to give the lovage more room, it needs 8 feet height.
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    My Geranium phaeum, grown from seed - the only one that germinated - is in bloom!

    I'm just pasting the link in, I'm tired, I struggle with linking on here at the best of times, and after 5 tries the link button can go swivel.

    https://flic.kr/p/2kYfvTh

    Paler than I remember, but still gorgeous, and you can see why I was disappointed when the phaeum I bought at a church fete turned out bubblegum pink.
  • My Geranium phaeum, grown from seed - the only one that germinated - is in bloom!

    I'm just pasting the link in, I'm tired, I struggle with linking on here at the best of times, and after 5 tries the link button can go swivel.

    https://flic.kr/p/2kYfvTh

    Paler than I remember, but still gorgeous, and you can see why I was disappointed when the phaeum I bought at a church fete turned out bubblegum pink.

    Very pretty!
    I planted out some echinacea today. Tomorrow I'm putting out some more Tumbling Toms (the frost did for some already out).
  • RoseofsharonRoseofsharon Shipmate
    My Geranium phaeum, grown from seed - the only one that germinated - is in bloom!
    aka The Mourning Widow, I believe.

  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    We have both lovage and lemon balm, but yes, you need plenty of room, not a container. I was just cutting back our rosemary, to give the lovage more room, it needs 8 feet height.

    Whoa. Yeah, I think I'll take a pass on lovage. I hadn't really thought about it. Lemon balm wasn't on my list either. I think I'll start with the basics I mentioned. If I find I'm having fun, maybe I'll take some on challenges. :smile:

    Thanks again. When I have things going I'll try to update.
  • MaryLouiseMaryLouise Purgatory Host, Epiphanies Host
    @Sandemaniac, that Geranium is gorgeous, somewhere between maroon and a deep plum.
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    It is, isn't it? I love geraniums generally, but this one is a real favourite. My shade bed has half a dozen different ones in, and I'm hoping to get a big melange of them, hopefully without them all interbreeding and reverting to pink wild type.
  • Graven ImageGraven Image Shipmate
    I am at the moment tuned onto succulents. I had given up on them when we lived where things often froze. Low and behold I found online some that are hardy down to freezing and as we are now off the mountain and facing a drought I think this is the way for me to go. I had no idea there were so many different shapes and forms, blooming in all kinds of colors. I am afraid the catalogue may be my budget undoing. Thankfully walking around the neighborhood I see many in neighbors' yards. I think I will be asking if I might pinch a start or two.
  • LydaLyda Shipmate
    Succulents are often great pinch starters according to my gardening friend and my former next door neighbor who gave my friend all sorts of attractive succulent plants when my neighbor moved. It might also be another good way to get to bonding with your neighbors.
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    I'll second Lyda's comment. I've a nice Sedum starting in a pot right now that I was admiring on someone's wall, when I realised they'd been tidying it and left the trimmings on the pavement!
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    Ah, people! I sent a message to my local horti soc asking if anyone had Cardamine quinquifolia in their garden, because all I could find was C. pratensis, which wasn't what I wanted.

    What does someone look up for me? C. pratensis - which is so common I've actually got some as a blow-in on my allotment.

    Annoyingly, I have two leads, but one is in a nursery that only opens on Tuesday and Wednesday, and does expensive mail order, or one that's over an hour's drive away.
  • A busy day yesterday, potting up some pelargoniums, planting out brassica seedlings and sowing some seeds. I discovered there was a toad living under a tomato grow bag when it came out to see what I was doing!
    On other wildlife news, I have some pretty small brightly coloured metal pots which I line with plastic pots and hang from the picket fence; the metal bases have a hole in for drainage. The ones on the fence with trailing fuchsias in look great, really cheerful. So I put some dahlia plugs in others on the ground to grow on. Yesterday I noticed they had been nibbled and on closer inspection realised that small slugs appear to be using the space at the bottom of the pot as a hotel. Needless to say, the pots are now for hanging on the fence only.
    I went to Waitrose for the monthly shop yesterday evening and as I left I saw some beautiful scarlet geums. I went back this morning to get one :) It is next to the small solar fountain on the end of the side bed. This fountain is what my 16 year old wanted as one of his birthday presents last year, it is a resin one imitating granite. My husband wasn't keen as he thought it might be too kitsch (I don't think he likes my son's cute small gnome-like figures in that bed either!) but it is great addition to the garden. I knew the birds were drinking from it (as are the local cats) and that it attracted dragonflies but yesterday I saw a great tit bathing in it.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    My plants finally arrived in a packet the size of an A4 sheet and not much thicker. They are extremely bijou plugettes. I've pricked them out into trays of compost, but I'm not too sanguine many will make it.

    Meanwhile my neighbour has the lumberjacks in. They've taken down the leylandii (hurrah) but are paused in the birch trim by the discovery of a (grey) squirrel nest. Since I think the animal's full name is Destructive Thieving Bastard Invasive Species Squirrel, I wouldn't pause the chainsaw. But otoh I want to see as much of the birches survive as possible.
  • Following a section by Adam Frost in last week's "Gardeners' World", I bought a few ferns and shade-loving plants from a nursery in Somerset - much to the surprise and initial puzzlement of my wife when they arrived yesterday! They were all planted today and I hope they do well. The back bed of our garden should be ideal, and neither of our two local garden centres had these plants in stock.
  • RoseofsharonRoseofsharon Shipmate
    40 leek plants, ordered months a go, arrived today.
    As the bed for them is not ready, and they arrived in 2 bundles, not as plugs, I spent the morning potting them on into loo roll tubes filled with compost, fortunately, left over from filling seed trays a few weeks back.
    That should keep them going until I have recovered from the unfamiliar excitement of 'entertaining', and finished raking the intended leek bed.
  • Does anyone have any clever suggestions for where to put tomato plants in a dark house with a tiny yard and tall fences? Someone just gave me a bunch of plants - how much soil do they need, each? The sunniest spot is probably on top of a lean-to roof, but making a flat platform and getting up and down to tend and water them will be a bit of a hassle.
  • I usually use grow bags for tomatoes as I can then put them against a convenient wall or fence and they get nice rich soil and retain moisture. I put 3 on a bag but from what I have just read 2 is the recommended in a standard bag.
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    We grow them in pots, but dark is a problem. Is there a sunny corner?
  • Not really at ground level, no. I think I'm going to have to go up...
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    If you do find a source of natural light, would a mirror or backing of tinfoil help?
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    I think that's a very good idea, Firenze!

    I am buzzing as I had a brainwave this morning - I worked out how the cloche wires I'd found must work, bent them into shape to fit the glass I have, and then used some scrap wire that's been cluttering the place up ever sinec we moved in to make some more. I now have six cloches at home and enough wires to do the glass I have on the allotment as well, so I can now get stuff out under cover!

    Even better, it means that my collection of pre-WW2 Morris car windows has a use. Seriously - the old boy whose plot they came from had pinched them from Cowley Works!
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    Oops... Mr Google tells me that they may be split-screen Morris Minor windows. so post 1948. Still old!
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Love it when you find a way to recycle stuff into the garden. Thing to do this week is apply some mortar to old and crumbling (aren't we all dearie) but beloved brick wall. I will take the opportunity to embed bits of a Portmeirion plate.
  • Firenze wrote: »
    If you do find a source of natural light, would a mirror or backing of tinfoil help?

    Not only beating swords into ploughshares, but making a UV reflector from my best tinfoil hat?! :smile:

    I reckon split-screen Morris glass would have a value...just saying!
  • I reckon split-screen Morris glass would have a value...just saying!
    Don't! :worried: He's already said that when rallies are possible once more, he may have to wander round certain models of Morris either with a tape measure, or holding panes of glass up to them... Realistically, unlikely to try and sell - the money made would probably not be enough to cover buying more glass.

    On a more plant-related note, I spent Tuesday pricking out petunias. I am now waiting for enough of the stuff in the greenhouse/cold frame to be able to be planted so that I can move the trayful off the bedroom windowsill (35 paper pots, with about 40 plants in them). Having forgotten to get snapdragon seed until yesterday, it has been sown this morning directly where I want them, and I just hope some of it germinates rather than being eaten by pigeons!
    Firenze wrote: »
    Love it when you find a way to recycle stuff into the garden. Thing to do this week is apply some mortar to old and crumbling (aren't we all dearie) but beloved brick wall. I will take the opportunity to embed bits of a Portmeirion plate.
    Sounds like a good plan. Going to make a pattern out of the bits, or just embed where the fancy strikes?
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    Will try and reconstitute plate.

    Spent today and yesterday on The Great Weed, followed by putting in about 40 bedding plants which will hopefully supply colour after the tulips (which have been magnificent) fade. Meanwhile the bluebells and aquilegia are stepping up.
  • I reckon split-screen Morris glass would have a value...just saying!
    Don't! :worried: He's already said that when rallies are possible once more, he may have to wander round certain models of Morris either with a tape measure, or holding panes of glass up to them... Realistically, unlikely to try and sell - the money made would probably not be enough to cover buying more glass.

    £80 plus p&p, sold listings on ebay for both halves of a split screen minor windscreen :smile:

    Round here, double-glaze units in all sizes proliferate in skips for free and even if not toughened, tend to be pretty robust.
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    **** me, you aren't kidding - and I don't reckon mine are much dirtier!

    Once the dahlias are safe from frost I'll have to clean them up and see what they are like.
  • JLBJLB Shipmate Posts: 20
    I have an asparagus bed! I've wanted to grow some for years, but had nowhere suitably weed free. Now that I've got a properly edged raised bed that I might be able to keep clear, I ordered some. They were later arriving than I had expected (Brexit?), but they got here at last and I planted them this morning before the rain. Now to be patient for two years until we can eat some.
  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I have a small garden, and I'd say three-quarters of it is under grass or paving or gravel. It it never ceases to amaze me the volume of plants that manage to crowd into the remainder. For every plant I put in, I have to weed out half a dozen others. Some I give a pass to; this year red clover, red campion, feverfew, aquilegia, sedge, rosebay willowherb, mint, poppies and, to an extent, herb robert.
  • RoseofsharonRoseofsharon Shipmate
    Herb Robert seeded prolifically in our last garden. Fortunately it does have the advantage of being easily uprooted, although I left it to grow in most of the places it settled.

    Imaging my hilarity when i saw it for sale at some ridiculous price in the 'wild flower' section of a fairly local nursery.

  • FirenzeFirenze Shipmate, Host Emeritus
    I feel the same about nurseries offering aquilegia: it's not planting it you need to worry about - it's stopping its plans for world domination.
  • JLB wrote: »
    I have an asparagus bed! I've wanted to grow some for years, but had nowhere suitably weed free. Now that I've got a properly edged raised bed that I might be able to keep clear, I ordered some. They were later arriving than I had expected (Brexit?), but they got here at last and I planted them this morning before the rain. Now to be patient for two years until we can eat some.

    We planted a bed of asparagus at the weekend. Now we have an established veg patch we put aside an area for them
  • SandemaniacSandemaniac Shipmate
    Firenze wrote: »
    I feel the same about nurseries offering aquilegia: it's not planting it you need to worry about - it's stopping its plans for world domination.

    I can think of a few others, but geranium and aquilegia definitely make up most of our garden at the mo!
  • I don't live in a normal place. High was 22°C yesterday and we boldly planted some seeds and some bedding plants., 30°C today. The forecast for 2 days from however is 0°C overnight with daytime high of 8°C.

    So far I'm eating the dandelions.
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    Firenze is right, we get overwhelmed by plants that are old, but keep popping up, e.g., evening primrose, and stuff that just appears. Of course this means constant weeding, but sometimes we just give up, and call it cottagey!
  • Graven ImageGraven Image Shipmate
    I have a vine growing out of the gravel and working its way up the fence. I have no idea what it is, most likely a weed I am thinking. That said it is nice and shiny green so I am going to let it alone as it does not look at all like poison ivy so hopefully it will flower in some way and offer a clue. Did someone not once say, "A weed is simply a misplaced flower?"
  • Penny SPenny S Shipmate
    Herb Robert for sale? I could set up in business! Except that it has been overtaken by geranium rotundifolia, which has rounded slightly glossy leaves, and I'm not sure what its flowers are like yet. Like HR, it is easy to uproot, and useful for composting.
    Yesterday I came across an article by James Wong in which he told of a fashion in Japan and Singapore for dandelion. Gardeners in Singapose find it doesn't do so well in the tropics, and ask for help with it.
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