Thursday, March 10, 2011

Herb spiral opened up and flattened out.

One of the major reasons for starting the herb spiral - growing rosemary - was a huge flop!   I now have some little cuttings in a pot.  Rosemary is clearly not happy in a hot and humid climate.   The arch over the top for passion fruit to clamber over provided too much shade and the ground in the herb spiral  never dried out.  Firstly the arch was tidied up - old dead branches of the vines were removed and tied back to allow some sunlight in.   The mandevilla lies over the arch too, with its very heavy branches, so it all got a good cutting back (what I could reach that is  -  it is aiming for the sky!).

I removed the Ceylon spinach - I still don't call it edible!  I would rather make room for something I am going to eat.  One thing we eat a ton of is parsley and so I removed the top layer of rocks out of the herb spiral and extended a parsley bed out to the side.  This has made it flatter and wider, and also will allow more light. 

Most herbs do not do well in this climate so I really have to think hard about what I am planting.  Cuban oregano, or mother of herbs can stay, and in fact have the one whole side of the spiral as it likes the shadier side. I scattered shallots in the very front of the low curve and then filled the rest with parsley seeds.   I know they both take a long time to come up so I will try not to get impatient.  I want to get some sawtooth  (tropical) coriander, and will also scatter some dill seeds, which does OK.    I got some thyme on the clearance rack, and the stevia is still struggling along.  Even the spearmint and regular mint have complained but maybe with cutting back they will take off again.  So think that is it for the herbs unless I hear of some wonderful herb I really need to try. The lemonbalm was lovely but died off so have put some seeds into the same pot, along with a bit of extra potting soil.  I do grow lots of basil but have it scattered around amongst the other plants in full sun as I have the idea that it might help with pests.

So the herbs I am growing this year are as follows:
In pots... Rosemary, lemon balm, mint,
lower level......  shallots, parsley,
mid level..........spearmint, peppermint, wild basil, stevia, cuban oregano
top level...........sage


  1. I have a large pot of mint by the greenhouse door. I was thinking of growing herbs in amongst my veg this year but I do have a small area behind the greenhouse. Now you have inspired me. I like the stepped system you have. I'm going to have a play around with some ideas, Have you ever had Chocolate Mint (Mentha piperita cv.) great in chocolate deserts!

  2. Yes it's a shame the northern tropical climate and weather conditions are just so unsuitable for growing so many herbs. You've certainly had a good try at growing various ones though and it sounds like you've finally found a few that will get through it all.

    I knew someone who used to grow Sweet Marjoram, Knotted Marjoram, French Tarragon and Coriander fairly well.

    There's a Rare Herbs site ... based here in Queensland ... that might be a place to find some interesting herbs to try.

  3. Rosemary seems thriving in full sun area of my garden just fine. I think those overarched vines provided too much of shade to your herbs. For some reason, I don't have much luck with parsley. The seedlings come out and just can not grow much before they retreated back to the ground. Good luck with your new effort on your herb garden.

  4. Sounds like a good plan. I'm a great believer in growing the Mediteranian-type herbs in pots. With all the rain and heat we've had this Summer it's been a lot like North Qld so even in pots my rosemary suffered. The only thing that did really well was the basil.

  5. I too am not a fan of Ceylon Spinach. I dont like its slimy texture yet I have no problem with okra.

    Spiral gardening is indeed a great idea. I will definitely try it someday when I get to really do garden.

  6. Sue,
    have fun planning your herb spiral! I tried chocolate mint, but never could figure out how to use it and when it died one wet season I never replaced it.
    Yes I do persist with certian things I try to grow, but find if I stick to those that like this climate I do better....
    Maybe you dont get quite as much rain as me, but I am going to persist and keep that pot on the verandah where it isnt in the rain. Parsley is very slow to shoot and then when you harvest harvest from the outside and bucnh the soil up around the base.
    Yes basil just loves this weather. I have never been a huge fan of pots as I so often forget to water them and they dry out but rosemary might just like that treatment!
    Solitude Rising,
    Oh I thought it was only me! I enjoyed seeing all the fish in your pond - unfortunately i dont have enough room for fish - I guess us gardeners are allways dremaing of greenr pastures!


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