How Does Your Garden Grow?

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

Hubby and I have been talking about next year’s garden. We like what the CSA has to offer re: herbs. I have suggested to Hubby for a few years now that he pull out the flowers in our “dirt island” and plant an herb garden.

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I told him no lavender and no mint. What else is invasive? And what would you suggest for a northern herb garden with limited space. One of each plant just to use fresh? A multitude of a few plants so we can dry and save the herbs for winter use? I’d really like your thoughts and input on this one!

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Back to this year … Our blackberry bush has a ton of fruit! I cut down the canes that were threatening to overtake the house, pulled out a few additional shoots from the old thorned blackberry bush, and now am just waiting for them to ripen. They started to turn color a few weeks ago, then we had some hot weather and that, combined with cutting back the canes to allow in more light, really helped.

Instead of a second thornless blackberry bush, I am considering a thornless raspberry bush… I just have to check if they can coexist in the same soil. Anyone?

So, how does your garden grow? Are you planting one this year? Sticking with a CSA? A flower or herb garden perhaps? What’s happening in your green-world?

Ann's Entitled Life Ann's Entitled Life Ann's Entitled Life Ann's Entitled Life Ann's Entitled Life Ann's Entitled Life


  1. We may not be much on herbs but I have a few small parsley plants. I managed to keep them over winter (but I am further south) with one in a pot that came inside just in case. I hang them to dry and afterwards store them in a spare parsley container (no need to label!). So my thought is a few plants to do both dry and fresh of your favorites. Then one plant each for the rarely used herbs and possibly dry a small part of the yield for winter.

    • We could definitely use parsley. The CSA grows it, so it can grow up here. Thanks for the suggestion, Marie!


  2. Hi Ann,
    I would suggest easy peasy plants for your herb garden. And I would agree to plant about 3 or 4 different kinds of parsley ( it is very healthy for you and hubby and even for your dog) and they are very hardy and come back if the winter is not that bad. I also suggest ONE sage plant. Sage takes off if the winter is not too cold but it is very nice to have as Sage is a great spice to cook with ( thanksgiving stuffing and all poultry and pork goes well with sage) easy to harvest and dry and sage is so expensive in the store. I grow it and I give it to my friends and family and even send some in to the local shelter around thanksgiving. I would also recommend Rosemary. Now I would do the rosemary in the pot so you can bring it inside for the winter. It has a wonderful smell that in the olden days was used to breathe in when you had a cold or sinus infection. It too is very good in poultry and all meats and even stews and it is VERY expensive to buy at the grocery store. Rosemary isnt the easiest to grow from my experience, so put it in the pot to keep it separate and bring it inside for winter and it should be good to go. Another easy peasey one to grow is Thyme and it will come back each year. I give Thyme away as Christmas gifts. When dried it keeps forever! And lastly I would recommend Oregano. But get a few different kinds. Oregano is very hearty and requires very little work. I harvest all of these and make gifts of the dried herbs. They pay for themselves within one season. Put the Sage in the back and the Oregano as they can get taller than the other herbs.
    My garden is doing well and we got about 7 hours of rain yesterday so looking forward to more fruits. Tomatoes are tasty, peppers and coming in and soon I will be making my Salsa ๐Ÿ™‚ I am thinking of growing some cilantro next year but have not done it before…. Good luck Ann!

    • Does sage need to be planted in a pot in the garden, Debb? In other words, is it invasive and planted inside a pot to control it?

      I think cilantro will be high on Hubby’s list. He uses it a lot!


      • Sage is not invasive.. its more like a small gangly shrub.. I have one planted on the side of my house and another that lives in a great big pot that I never cover for the winter and they both keep living despite me. I have no clue why I have 2 of them.. One is more than enough.. way more. ๐Ÿ˜‰

        Why no lavender? The regular mints I can understand.

  3. I’ve never planted herbs but I do plant garden veggies like squash, okra, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, etc. Last year we had to water a lot because of lack of rain. This year we had tons of rain and had to spray Blossom End Rot on the plants so they would survive. I’m pleased to say it’s doing great and I’m growing enough to supply our family, my mom and dad and give my brother some batches sometimes. Nothing is more satisfying that gardening.

    • I may have to dust the blackberry bush soon. I don’t want to, but the bugs seem to be having a smorgasbord at the top… if it travels down …

      Sounds like your gardening has really been worth it, Darla!


      • You might try a light salt water & a few drops of Dawn in a spray bottle on the bugs.. I used it on my grape vines that the bugs were decimating and they went away. The edges of the grape leaves got a little white on the edges but they recovered just fine and are alive and well. Dont make the solution too strong.. Salt can kill plants too.

  4. Sage: Incredible w/ meats. I dry mine and rub it into scrambled eggs too. Sage is perennial where I live (Zone 8). A nice small compact plant. SUPER easy to dry-flavor improves after drying. IMO
    Rosemary: Bold and pungent when fresh, love it w/ chicken and I rarely use it dry, stems can be used as BBQ skewers. Rosemary is evergreen (where I live). Caution Rosemary can become a HUGE bush.
    Basil: You love caprese salad? Get yourself a basil plant. Because you live so far north, get a nice good 2 inch potted start from your nursery each year. Very tender annual, will blacken at the slightest frost-cut it ALL back the day before frost is in the forecast, toss the leaves in the food processor and w/ a little olive oil, make a smooth paste for freezing. (I use ice cube trays) Freezes GREAT for soups, pasta etc.
    Cilantro: OH my gosh–easy to grow annual (the opposite of basil, it prefers the cold and withers in the heat.)
    It is said that you either love or hate cilantro-I love it! (I’ll even chop it up to mix in into jarred salsa, cilantro gives it a special, restaurant quality ZING!) Small plants grow quickly, I grow mine from seed.
    Parsley: I grow parsley both curly and flat, they get huge and I never use much in food. If you like to ‘juice’ grow some. They get big and scraggly looking when they flower but attract pollinators/bees for your other veggies. Freezes badly-loses flavor. Bi-annual evergreen here, very pretty the 1st year ugly the second. (Seriously: curly parsley is a really beautiful bedding plant, thick green and bushy-just cut it back when it becomes unattractive.) I grow mine from seed-very cold tolerant, flower head looks like carrots or queen annes lace flowers-full of little bees and gnats. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Can’t think of any others right now-if I missed some-just ask, I’ll come back to see if you have questions.

    Berries: I grow raspberries, blackberries AND blueberries all the same way. Raised beds in acidic soil mix w/ acid=loving plant fertilizer. (Gardenias too LOL) Yes, I would put in a raspberry-but you may want to consider a blueberry too. Of course, you will want to select plants appropriate for your zone-consult your nursery specialist. I had a really good year here for blueberries-I’d never be w/ out them. Oh! No! That reminds me-I needed to plant more than one plant for pollination purposes. That spot may not be able to support that many plants. ๐Ÿ™

    • Thank you for all the tips, Barbee! And thanks for confirming the raspberry soil. We may give that a go next year. I have to plant something, and not sure we need a second blackberry bush, although it may be better for that first bush to have a second one. Decisions, decisions.


      • I doubt rosemary would grow to be a huge bush up here… I wish it would.. I’ve grown rosemary many times here in Ohio and mine was never bigger than about a foot tall and maybe 1.5-2 ft wide. It always succumbs to the winter cold though.. sigh. I want one to live forever up here. They say it can be done, but I’ve not found the best right place for it yet.
        Of all the herbs, I probably use rosemary the most.. but mostly for medicinal purposes more than culinary..

  5. Michele K says

    Maybe trying your invasive ones in a pot would be an option to still have the plant for fresh use.

  6. We love our chives and a couple of years ago I added garlic chives. Absolutely wonderful. We live in your area, Anne, and have lavender and it is not invasive. I also have pineapple mint and although it has spread, it is not to hard to control.

    • Barb count yourself fortunate on the lavender… I had it at my last house and it choked a tree out. Never going that route again.

      Chives! That would be a great one.



  7. I agree with Barb, my lavender is not invasive (I wish it was) But chives? THOSE are invasive for me. Climate & cultivars…you never know!
    I have a question!
    Anyone here grow or know of anyone who grows saffron crocus? I can grow crocus here but I’m not really sure the saffron crocus are worth all the space and effort…anyone know? Thanks.

    • Since saffron is like a million dollars a strand (only a small exaggeration), I’d give it a go, Barbee!


    • Yep!! I ordered 4 bags of 15 bulbs about 3 weeks ago from American Meadows.. my very most favorite bulb company. Everything I get from there is AWESOME & the BEST quality I’ve ever seen. I wait til they have a 50% off sale like they do right now… this is the last week according to an email I got!
      I got them to harvest the saffron and Im gonna send it to my mom for Christmas.. She’ll love that!

      They said they’ll send them to you at the right planting time.. They’re a fall blooming crocus so you’ll plant them as soon as you get them & they’ll be coming up in a month or two.. When they do, you just go out & pluck out their little red stamens..

      f you are planting Saffron Crocus bulbs to harvest the stamens to cook with, you will want to do this once they begin blooming.
      Harvesting Saffron: When the flowers are fresh, simply remove the bright red stigmas you’ll see in each flower’s center; they carry the saffron spice. You can use it immediately in the fresh form, or dry it for later use. To dry your saffron, simply spread the red stigmas out for several days on a paper towel in a warm dry place. Once they’re dry, store them in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place, and use the saffron whenever you like.

  8. Parsley, sage, rosemary & thyme.. โ™ซ Yep.. I like all of them and grow them all.. no rosemary this year though.. ๐Ÿ™ Thyme, marjoram is lovely, lemon thyme is lovely, A couple parsley plants are wonderful.. I agree with Barbee.. flat leaf & Curly leaf are both nice.. chives are nice.. Dill is fun but its tall and lanky.. not sure thats something you’d like.. I like to grow my own garlic but this last year sucked. You need an out of the way place for it though so that its not disturbed too much or wont disturb other plants when you harvest it.

    I’ve never heard of lavender being invasive.. that must have been some rogue plant you had there Ann. I wish I had one.

    Do NOT plant Lemon Balm… its a beautiful plant and I love it but I planted one and I have hundreds of them coming up every year.. it reseeds all over the place. Its a good thing I love it.. and love to use it for tea.. otherwise, I would not be happy.

    Plant what you like.. Thats what really matters.

    Not much has changed around my gardening world.. I did harvest the rest of my chard in my little front yard garden (laugh) and Im getting some blackberries off the few canes I have.. I’ve got lots of new canes that will produce next years berries but Im thinking they’re in my way so I may cut them out. We’ll see.
    One of my gardens at the community garden is doing well.. the other never got off the ground. Sad sad sad. The mayor isnt happy about it either.. Hes next to the one that was under water most of the season. Im still thinking I’d like to go plant some squash there… I doubt I will though.. I think Im gonna call this year a bust.

    My other garden is doing good.. but I need to get over there more. I went a couple weeks ago & got so sunburned I couldnt go outside for a week.. it was pretty bad but the garden looked great.
    I should have some cukes and maybe a few tomatoes there by now.. Im gonna go check tomorrow. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • Sounds like your gardens are doing very well, Kim. I was definitely considering garlic. We will have to research a bit more as it may not work for us in our tiny patch of dirt.


      • Garlic is super easy but its a weird one.. if you grow it in the island you show a picture of, I’d put it all along the back of it. You plant it in the fall and then mostly leave it alone until late June or July when the first set of leaves have turned yellow. Its better when the second set start turning but thats my personal opinion..

        You could always grow rosemary in a pot & bring it in for the winter.. My house is already covered in plants and I bring in at least one Rose Geranium and dont really have space for it.

        • I guess we will skip the rosemary. We plan on being gone for several months this winter, and even if we could get someone to come over and water plants (probably not), the water will be turned off to the house to prevent pipe breaks.


          • Oh Ann!! I didnt even think of Fla.. you could grow it THERE year round! And probably do nothing to it!! It grows wild there and you could probably find wild varieties if you know what it looks/smells/tastes like fresh.. I lived in Panama City Beach Fla for about 8 months & it was all over the place.. It was a little different than the cultivated variety but I sent a sample of it to the State Ag Extension Agency and they verified that it was indeed a wild rosmarinus.
            The ONLY thing I really miss about Fla is the beach & the rosemary and the ability to grow stuff most of the year round… but I dont miss the summer heat there or the mugginess. ๐Ÿ˜›

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