Planting & Growing Herbs at Home

Mint

I went to Micheltorena Community Garden to get herbs that I will plant in our garden. I’d like to try growing my own herbs for cooking. That way, I’m sure that it is grown organically and without pesticides. It’s also fun taking care of plants and see them grow… and eat them.

Micheltorena Community Garden
Micheltorena Community Garden

“By filling our garden with multifunctional plants and other elements, we create a dense web full of many niches of wildlife, and a rich place for humans as well: a wealth of food, flowers, medicinal herbs and other products, and a place of beauty. Diversity offers a cascade of benefits.” – Toby Hemenway “Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-scale Permaculture.”

Digging mint herb
Frances digging mint herb for me
Soil with compost
Soil with compost
Mint
Mint (welcome to your new home)

I love mints! I like them in chocolate, food and drinks. Mints should be planted where they will not encroach on other plants, as they spread so readily that, unless curbed, they are likely to become a pestiferous weed. It is ideal for container and hydroponic culture.

It revels in deep, rich, moist ground and requires little care except manicuring or fertilizing in the spring. However, as the stems grow rapidly and the leaves become thin and small as the season advances, it is advisable to cut down from a third to a half of the patch when 6 or 8 inches high, drying the leaves and putting them in tight jars for winter use. Then soak the cut over area with liquid manure to stimulate a second crop of foliage. A month later, treat another area similarly. Thus a succession of succulent foliage may be had all season.

Cilantro
Cilantro

Cilantro yields a fast crop; plants are barely up before they try to flower and set seeds. So those tasty leaves aren’t around long, especially in warm weather. To keep leaves coming, you can sow seeds every two weeks for a continuous cilantro crop. I use cilantro for cooking Filipino and Thai food. It’s also great for making Mexican salsa!

Lettuce seedlings
Lettuce seedlings

Like spinach and other spring ephemerals, lettuce forms a low rosette of leaves in early spring, then sends up a flower stalk when summer heat and dryness set in. Lettuce turns bitter once the flower stalk begins to form, so harvest before a central stem starts to form.

If you’re growing lettuce in the summer, in all but the most northern climates, shield it from the mid-day sun. Try growing lettuce in the shade of taller plants, and make sure it gets plenty of water. Romaine or Batavian lettuces are more heat-tolerant than other lettuce varieties. A mobile Salad Table allows you to move lettuces to full shade in hot weather.

Hungry Tourist
Frances & Hungry Tourist

Frances helped me picked the herbs and green. She’s also patient answering my questions regarding how to grow herbs at home.

Micheltorena School and Community Garden is a shared project between the school and community, and is open every Saturday from 10am to 2pmfor people to come harvest and eat produce, commune at the picnic tables, or take a class taught by local experts. The garden is located at the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Micheltorena Street in Los Angeles, CA.

=== 03/26/2012 UPDATE ===

It rained 2 straight days here. This morning I went to check the lettuce seedlings at the garden and found 2 small holes on the leaf. There was also a worm with many feet that drowned in the water. Will my plant still live? Any advice to rehabilitate?

Lettuce
Day 3. Lettuce is bitten by a worm.

On the other hand, the mint and cilantro are looking healthy!

Mint Day 3
Day 3. Mint is growing beautiful.
Cilantro
Day 3. Cilantros are growing healthy.

=== 04/20/2012 UPDATE ===

I have a new herb and name it Basil Valdez after a Filipino singer.
20120422-074103.jpg

Reference & Links

Micheltorena Community School and Garden

Which herbs to grow

Your Edible Garden

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