Friday, April 6, 2012

Our little herb farm in Houston

I mentioned yesterday that our local Home Depot (though it could have been a nationwide thing) put their herb and veggie starts on sale last week for 50% off. Two for one, my friends, is my price. Actually, my favorite price is free (like the half a wheel of Parmesan that JR brought home the other night from work. Have I mentioned that he works at a restaurant supply company?)

Back to the herb plants, I had convinced JR that the back of the house needed some annual color so we traipsed (I love traipsing almost as much as I love sauntering) off to the local DIY store to see what they had. What they had was lots and lots of colorful flowering plants but more importantly to me was the herbs and veg were on sale. We did pick up some hanging pots of petunias to hang in front of the living room window. Very important to have lovely bright and cheerful aspects out of the rooms you spend the most time in, don'cha know.

We also picked up some big-headed marigolds for the tomatoes. Tomatoes love marigolds. They are besties. Marigolds, being the best friend that they are, keep the aphids off the tomato plants and as the tomatoes grow up they shade the marigolds from the hot Houston sun. It is sort of a symbiotic relationship. You can't really see the tomatoes yet but give them time. We went with one patio salad tomato and a cherry. They seem to do the best around these parts.

The two smaller pots are filled with strawberry plants, filled with strawberries and many flowers on them already. Strawberries do surprisingly well here in the spring. We'll be eating these is another few weeks.

Directly across the patio from the tomatoes are our mixed herb pots. The small pot holds mint (winter mint I think). I use this when I make Greek food. I love Greek food. And, Italian, and Mexican, and Moroccan, and Turkish, and Vietnamese, uh yeah...moving on. Since Julie commented yesterday about white flies eating her mint I took a closer look and sure enough someone had been at mine. I moved it near the lavender, which we will get to in a moment. The big pot has four different herbs in it (hence the mixed herb pot title). It contains; thyme, tarragon, spicy basil and chives. The tarragon is for JR. That man loves him some licorice. Can't stand the stuff myself.

This is where I moved the mint, right next to the lavender (way in the back) and the citronella. We bought the citronella last fall to keep the mosquitoes away. We just re-potted them. They are getting a tad leggy so I'll probably give them a haircut soon. We could use some more since the mosquitoes around here are fierce. The cuttings will make nice free starts. The little plants in the other pot are cantaloupe. They have traded places with the mint.

I firmly believe that one can never have too much basil. It's good for my soul. It completes me. It makes my food tasty. This in turn leads to my happiness. I probably put too much emphasis in basil's magical hold on me. Nah! The dill is in there to keep the basil company. Also, later on when the dill grows up it will shade the basil. Ya' know, it's all about thinking ahead in the gardening bizz.

 Here is a really bad picture (my iPad and I were having communications problem. It has since been worked out. Turns out it was operator error). This is my established herb garden with the rosemary next to the fountain. Everywhere we go there we place a fountain next to the exterior doors (great way to keep evil spirits out. I also insist on wind chimes near doors. Yeah, I do have a couple of quirks) Next to the rosemary is the sage. It got a haircut awhile back and is just now coming back.

Moving along that bed is the oregano, flat leaf parsley, and the cilantro. They are sort of scrawny because I have been cutting off them all winter, especially the cilantro. It seems we eat a lot of cilantro. It always amazes me to hear that some people hate cilantro. They say it tastes like soap. Obviously, they swore too much as children if they know what soap tastes like. We don't have that problem because it just tastes awesome to us.

So, spring has sprung here is humid Houston. The high temps are hanging around 85 degrees already and some days are very humid. Luckily we escaped the tornadoes that hit Dallas this week but hurricane season is right around the corner. After four years without one we are a little worried that we are due.

What have you been doing to get ready for spring and summer?



  1. I didn't know that tomatoes and marigolds were besties! Can you tell I'm not a gardener in the least? I've heard that about cilantro. You either love it or hate it!

  2. Oh so jealous of your ability to be planting right now. We don't dare plant until May at least. Planting in April is just murdering innocent plants here.

  3. Cilantro is supposed to be good for purifying the body of heavy trace metals, especially mercury. So say the homeopaths . . .

    1. I can always count on you to come up with obscure facts, awesome librarian that you are.

  4. I just bought a wild flower mix that'll cover 50m2. And during the 2012 summer last week I scattered thyme seeds on a gravel park way. Frankly all more in hope that expectation.

    1. We spread wildflowers seeds about 3 weeks ago. They came up but have produced anything near to flowering. So the thyme seeds didn't do anything? Usually, they are a weed.

  5. Okay, this is sad, and probably due to the fact that we have 5 Medical Marijuana dispensaries within walking distance of our house, but I read "little herb farm in Houston" and thought a whole nuther thing. Your herbs are gorgeous though.

  6. We've spread mulch, started compost and have done much weeding. Beloved is babying his asparagus and I'm waiting for the rhubarb to get a little larger so I can harvest some - I'm thinking about a sauce for beef. We're planning our tomatoes, moving them from the side of the house to the back yard, and the herb garden, which we're expanding (where the tomatoes used to be). I think we're going to plant more berry bushes, as well.