Category Archives: Herbs

Propagating Rosemary

I like my large 2 1/2′ to 3′ rosemary plants in large clay pots on the patio.  I purchased my last few rosemary plants from the produce section of a grocery store at $2.99 or so each.  This is too expensive to keep doing, so I decided to try to grow my own rosemary plants from cuttings because I realized this is how nursery rosemary plats are grown – from cuttings not from seeds.   I do have a packet of rosemary seeds and intend to sprout them at some point in the future.

I took several 3-4″ cuttings from the ends of woody branches.  I cut the stem at an angle, dipped the cut end in rooting hormone and put them in water.  In less than a week roots were growing on the cut ends.  I then planted the rooted cuttings in potting soil.

The cuttings in water.
rosemary cuttings in water

Within a week or so, the cuttings have grown roots.

roots on rosemary cuttings

The rooted rosemary cuttings in potting soil.
rooted rosemary cuttings

That was fun.  Looking for something else to try to propagate.  Looking forward to see how fast these cuttings grow.

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Lavender Seedlings

I love to start plants from both seeds and cuttings.  While I have a large lavender plant to take cuttings from when I try to root them, I also have started many lavender seeds.  (Most of them died because at the time I couldn’t keep the seedlings moist).  This nifty, roomy 6 place tray is from the recycle shelf at a big box store – I have gotten quite a few nice trays and pots from the recycle center – recycled them right into my green house!!.  Note that this potting container is sitting in a tray to hold water so that the plants don’t dry out.
lavender seedlings

These are shelves on a little junior green house shelf, waiting for my real green house to get moved over here.  Note 2 of my brand new seedling trays sitting in a no-hole bottom tray to hold water and keep the seeding trays moist.  On the second shelf, to the left of my lavender is a recycled tray with a few coleus in it.  I am so pleased that a few coleus survived.  They are easier to propagate from cuttings, but I also like to start seeds.  Unfortunately, most of this batch of coleus dried out.  So, with new propagation/seeding trays, I am starting another batch of coleus.
lavender seedlings starting

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Stevia – 2nd Year

I bought this Stevia plant last spring.  It grew well last season.  I trimmed it down last fall and was able to keep it in the store room during the winter.  It didn’t get bright light, but it didn’t freeze either.  This sprint it really re-sprouted and this is how it looks now.  Lots of stems.

stevia spent winter in pantry

It wilts too easily in the sun so I suspect that it is root bound.  I am going to plant it in a bigger pot.  For now, I am not going to put it in the ground because it will freeze – probably to death.

I am planning to root cuttings from this plant.

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One More ‘Return from Death’ Story, Basil This Time

I let basil growing in my smallest raised bed dry out during the heat of the summer.  The box didn’t have much organic matter in the soil, just mostly sand.  As such, nothing in that bed grew very well.  OK, the plants dried out, leaves dropped off and all that was left was the stems.   A week of rain came.  The basil recovered.  You can see the brown stems and green shoots growing out from 2 sides of the old branch.  Look at all those beautiful green leaves – they went into several batches of basil pesto.  Follow up the branch with the orange circles, and you can see the brown dried seed head.  All these beautiful green leaves are new from what I thought were dead plants.

basil regrowth

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Growing Stevia

I purchased one Stevia plant from Walmart this spring.   Last year I purchased a Stevia plant from Lowes and it grew poorly and had thin stems.  This plant has many stems growing from the first 3 main stems.  The stems are thick.  I am very pleased with how this plant has grown – especially since I am growing it in a 1 gallon pot that dries out every day.  I have let this plant get stressed and dry, but it is still growing very well.  Look at the clusters of small off-shoot branches that just keep popping out.  The main branches grew at about a 45 degree angle and all along the slanted main stems are small shoots growing out.  Look at that full cluster of shoots near the top center of this pic.

I plan to take some cuttings from these growing shoots this fall, root them and keep them in the house during the winter and see if I can keep them alive until next spring.

To harvest the plants this fall, I plan to take those cuttings and then pull the plants up and hang them upside down to dry the leaves.  I hope to then crumble those dried leaves and use them to sweeten drinks.

Look at the clusters on this 3rd original branch – it isn’t sending out long upward shoots like the other 2 main branches.  These look smaller and more clustered.   This is still a great improvement over last year’s Stevia plant growing attempts.
stevia branching out full

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Basil – It’s Time To Make Pesto

I normally grow maybe 5 dozen basil plants so that we have plenty of basil to make pesto with. This year, however, with the move, I only have a few dozen plants and those plants haven’t done great.   This is a Globe Basil plant in a pot.  It has small leaves and does grow in a round globe shape.  This plant is going to seed.   I try to pinch the blooms to that the plant continues to bush out.  These Globe Basil plants just have too many blooms to get them all pinched.  Although the leaves are so small and thus more difficult to work with to make pesto, I plan to save the seeds to plant again.  With 2 types of basil growing, it will be interesting to see if they are true or if they grow into some hybrid looking basil.
globe basil

This plant is a ‘regular’ Basil – these are the seeds and basil that I grow year after year with the seeds that I save each year.  These plants are much easier to pinch the buds on – and these basil plants do fill out.
basil in pot

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A nice pot of mint. I never could start the stuff from seed and get it to grow to any good size, so I just buy the stuff. I am now, however, trying to root a few stems of mint that broke off when a dead limb fell off of the tree the pot is growing under and landed on the mint.
pot of mint

Some of the branches have started blooming.  I want to try to root some more.  I really need to find a spot around the garden and stick it in the ground and hope it will spread in this poor soil.

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Basil And Squash Overview

The plants on the left side of the pic of the first bed are Basil. I start Basil from seed each year, with occasionally buying a pack of another variety of basil. Most of the seeds that I started from last year are ‘regular’ Basil. This year I bought a pack of Globe Basil seeds – those plants grow somewhat slower, but are very interesting. They do indeed grow in a round ball and the leaves are smaller. Hopefully they won’t cross with my ‘regular Basil’ for next year.

Under the raised cattle panel, I plant a climbing winter squash.  On the other edge of the bed are summer squash.
basil seedlings

A closeup of Obsidian Zucchini, which is a hybrid that I purchased from Twilley Seed.  I like it and plan to purchase some more.  It matures shortly after 8 Ball zucchini, and well before all of my yellow summer squash.
obsidian hybrid zucchini

This is a bed of zucchini down the middle and a row of summer squash along each side.  The zucchini is already producing, but the summer squash is still growing.
squash row

I mulch each bed with several inches of dry oak leaves and other leaves.

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Basil Seedlings

Everything is running late this spring because of the move.  These Basil seedlings popped up in just a few days.  I should have started them over a month ago, but it is difficult for me to start seedlings without my greenhouse.  I used tweezers to plant 2 seeds in each hole of the seed starting tray.
basil seedlings

The 2 rows on the left are one variety, but I just didn’t bother with writing down which rows were which cultivar.  There are actually 3 groups of seeds – two are new from seed packets this year and the bulk of the tray is my random collection of seeds from my garden last year.  I went to look for the names of the 2 new varieties, but I have already put the seeds in the freezer to preserve them for next year.  This spring the emphasis is on getting basil to grow so that we can make pesto this summer.  In my garden last year, I had 2 varieties growing – one had nice big leaves and they were easier to handle – to pick, to wash and to process into pesto.  I also had a narrow leaf variety growing.  When I saved seeds however, I just gathered all the seed heads together and collected the seeds together.  Maybe next spring I can focus on the large leaf variety.

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The Squash Row

This little beauty has plenty of blooms.  This is what a happy squash plant looks like.

squash plant full of baby fruit

This year I inter-planted over 3 dozen basil seedlings in and throughout the garden. You can see a few of the first planted basil popping above the squash. Today, the last day of July, these large, beautiful squash are all gone and only the basil are left. They are now enormous – all at least 2 feet tall and bushy from having their seed heads pinched out regularly for a month.

basil interplanted with squash plants

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