May 18, 2015

The Herb Garden, Year Two

I've never been very successful growing herbs in the ground here in Oklahoma (vegetables either, but that's another story! I haven't give up yet.) The soil here is challenging, and the balance between water and the summer heat has eluded me. Growing in containers has worked better for me.

Last year I started a container herb garden. In spite of the cats, grasshoppers and my dogs I'll call it a success. When fall came, I brought the pots of perennial herbs into the house to overwinter.

Most of the perennials survived - lemon balm, chocolate mint, oregano. My rosemary and lavender plants died in the house; I didn't water often enough. That's kind of ironic, since part of my problem outdoors is the correct amount of water.

Lemon balm

Those that survived the winter indoors have been hardened off and are now living outdoors again.


I replaced the rosemary plant and have planted various seeds again. The catnip is coming back, although it shows insect damage already. My outside cats aren't affected at all by catnip, but one of my indoor cats is addicted. I have to hide the catnip that I harvest and even the seeds that I saved from last year; he tried to climb to the top shelf of the bookcase to get to the zip bag. I had to move it to a closed cabinet.

Feverfew, with catnip on the right

New additions to the herb garden this spring are feverfew (a remedy for migraine headaches), peppermint and thyme, given to me by a friend.


The calendula seeds are up but they show damage from insects too. It's too early for grasshoppers so I don't know what sort of bug is snacking on my plants. The basil seedlings are still tiny but I know they'll take off as soon as it gets hot and the ground dries out from all the rain we've had this spring. I planted much more basil last year than I needed, so I planted fewer this year.

I think I might be successful this time at sprouting chives from seeds! Can you see them in the pot above?

I'm planning to enlarge the area of the herb garden this year as well as adding more varieties of plants. I asked hubby to drill drain holes in half a dozen cat litter buckets that I'll use as planters in the new area.

Pineapple mint

Over the weekend I bought a small pot of pineapple mint. It was in sad shape and on sale for 25% off, so I was willing to take a chance on it. It was lucky to even be alive, many of the other plants in the store's greenhouse were quite dead. Its bi-colored leaves are pretty and it does smell like pineapple.

I've ordered some Russian comfrey and am eagerly awaiting its arrival, although I still haven't decided where to plant it. I've read that it doesn't like containers, and that you should plant it where you want it because it will multiply wherever you put it.

What herbs are you growing this year? Do you grow in containers or in the ground?

This post has been shared at some of my favorite blog hops.


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  1. Hey! Glad to meet you at the Good Morning Mondays link up! I think this is the first time I've encountered your blog, and I love your pictures. We have grown chocolate mint for years and I love it. Also chives, which I just chopped up a few days ago for some baked potatoes. My kids used to "graze" the chives almost down to the ground, but now that they are older, I actually get flowers! Blessings on your week!

  2. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead6:58 AM

    Hi Michele, I'm so glad you stopped by. Isn't the scent of chocolate mint wonderful? Enjoy those chives!

  3. Jenn Ward7:52 AM

    Hi kathi! Just wanted to tell you how much I love your blog! I was just working in the garden yesterday and was wondering where to put my herbs! I have lots of pots so I think I will pot them up. Thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead9:12 AM

    Hi Jenn, wonderful that you have containers and can move your herbs there! I like that containers can be put anywhere - like right next to the back door - and that my dogs can't trample the plants (although they occasionally knock over a pot). I hope it works out for you.

  5. Great assortment of herbs that you have. I grow mine in containers on my porch ;-)
    Lori from LL Farm

  6. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead9:15 AM

    Thank you, Lori. A nice thing about containers is that we can move them to wherever the plants need to be - shade, sun, next to the water faucet - right?

  7. What a great time of year... I love the growing of the herbs and I have already been using them in my cooking.. :) Your plants look nice... I have never grown or used feverfew, but have all of the others, I think. I try to add a new one or two each year, if I can... I am adding comfrey and lemon balm this year - starts from a friend.

  8. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead11:15 AM

    Thank you, Joy. We've had so much rain this year that everything is growing like crazy, much faster than normal.

    There's nothing like starts from a friend, right? That's the best way to add a new plant.

  9. I live in Florida where Gardening is also challenging. I have Chocolate Mint. What do you use yours for?
    It seems to lose potency if I dry it.

  10. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead8:36 PM

    I bought the plant just because it smelled so good, and because it had "chocolate" in its name. A couple of months ago I started an extract using chocolate mint and vodka, to use in baking. I haven't used it yet but I hope it will be give a good flavor to cookies and so on.

  11. Good Morning from Rainy NM! The chocolate mint u sent last year is thriving and I have split it in 2 pots. I started from seed some sage, parsley and thyme and put them into a large planter outside a week ago. Sadly baby bunny (we cant catch) ate my purple cone flowers. Garden is thriving. The old asparagus died out and planted new, springs are popping up. Love the rain after the drought of 8 years. Linda in NM

  12. Always nice to see you at The Maple Hill Hop.
    We grow mostly in the ground. We currently have basil, thyme, parsley, rosemary and dill. We've had good luck with growing in pots at my friends' farm. I think because herbs don't like wet feet it is easier to control the moisture.
    With all of the obstacles you've faced, I'd say you've done very well!

  13. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead7:06 PM

    Thank you, Daisy. With all the rain we've had (looks like we'll have the wettest May in recorded history) I'm sure the poor plants have wet feet. I'm glad they are doing as well as they are this year.

  14. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead10:30 AM

    Linda, I was just thinking about you the other day and hoping that the chocolate mint had survived. I'm glad your herbs are doing so well, and that you too are having lots of rain. Bad baby bunny, hope you can catch it soon!

  15. Your herbs look great. I'm going to guess your soil is a lot like ours in North Texas? We've had so much rain that my garden is currently drowning. I have a soil recipe that might help if decide to try ground planting again. Carole

  16. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead8:53 AM

    Yes, Carole, I'd guess that our soil is probably pretty similar, our climate certainly is. I haven't even planted the garden yet due to the deep mud. I'd love to see your soil recipe, thanks!

  17. If container gardening is what works I think that is what you should stick to .The herbs you grew successfully look so lush and healthy. Just need LOTS of containers .

    Lemon Balm , mints, rosemary, chives, all grow like weeds here even after hard winters. I have never had any good outcome growing any of these herbs indoors, so it is good they thrive outdoors. Are you giving them too much attention when they are planted outside, because these herbs thrive on neglect.( Otherwise they'd be dead.)

    I hope this coming gardening season proves very productive for you.

  18. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead6:41 AM

    Thank you, Kathy - all that rain has sure helped my herbs look great this spring! I've worried about them having too much water, but so far so good.

  19. I think we are kindred-garden-spirits, lol. Container gardening is proving more successful than just sticking it in the ground, we have a lot of clay. This winter I brought our mint pot inside and managed to kill it. Now we're thinking of investing in a drip watering system. Your herbs look so lush! Congrats!

  20. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead3:04 PM

    Audra, hello, my kindred-gardening-spirit! I'm smiling about your mint plant's demise because yes, I could do that too. We also have clay and I think that's why I find containers so much easier. Plus they are easier to weed, right? I hope that drip system works for you.

  21. Just starting out, but I have Lavender, Rosemary, and Lemon Verbena, Lemon Rose scented geraniums. From seed, I am trying basil, chamomile. I've rotted some Rosemary for next spring, it's getting roots in water just in case it doesn't overwinter.

  22. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead10:25 PM

    It sounds like you have a good start there, Faith. I like your idea to start the rosemary so you'll have more than one just in case. Thank you for that idea!

  23. I love growing herbs, I'm hoping mine will thrive this year. Thanks for sharing at the Homestead Blog Hop! Hope to see you again this week. :)

  24. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead12:42 PM

    Thank you, Jenna. I hope you have a great herb season this year.

  25. Your herb garden looks like it is coming together beautifully. I always enjoy reading fellow gardener's experiences! Your catnip experience brought back lovely memories of my two late cats - they adored catnip and both lived to be 18! I have a raised bed I grow herbs in at home - although there's a rosemary bush that is trying to take it over completely. I started it as a baby plant a few years ago and now it's huge! Thank you for sharing this post with us at the Hearth and Soul hop.

  26. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead7:51 PM

    April, how interesting that your rosemary is threatening to take over. It's a very finicky plant for me! I've killed four of them now, hopefully the fifth will fare better. I loved hearing about your kitties, they had wonderful long lives.

  27. You got chives to grow! I tried for 3 years then finally gave up and bought a plant. It comes back every year. I could get anything to grow but chives! lol Your plants look great!

    Thanks for linking up with Green Thumb Thursday. I hope to see you back again this week!


  28. Kathi at Oak Hill Homestead10:02 PM

    Lisa, rosemary is my nemesis. I've killed far too many of those! I hope your purchased chive plant is doing well.


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