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A few cold loving herbs I found at Joshua's Native Plants here in the Heights.

A few cold loving herbs I found at Joshua’s Native Plants here in the Heights.

Here in Houston we have a wonderful climate for growing herbs all year long, some as annuals, and others as perennials. With just a bit of tending you can harvest different herbs throughout the year. Trailing rosemary grows very well and gives off a pleasant aroma when brushed against. As a designer I love to tuck it into beds along pathways as a boarder plant. If you want to attract butterflies and bees make sure you let your herbs flower. Herbs have many uses: seasoning in cooking, teas, as aromatics and medicinal. Most herbs need full sun (6 hours) and good drainage. Morning sun is preferable to late hot afternoon sun, especially in our hot humid summers. Because our soil is usually heavy with clay and drainage is often a problem we recommend growing herbs in planters or raised beds. There are many different materials for making beds. You can have pots of cooking herbs just outside your kitchen door. There are prefabricated raised beds made out of wood or you can construct your own. These will last for many years but not as long as beds made out of metal, brick or cinder blocks. We like cinder block bed built to seating height so it is easy to sit down and tend your plants or higher for easy access from a wheelchair. Watering troughs make excellent raised beds and can be purchased through local feed stores. You can make more temporary beds from straw bales. Here is a link to how from P. Allen Smith – http://www.pallensmith.com/articles/straw-bale-planter Filling the bed with good soil and keeping them covered in 2″ – 4″ layer of mulched (shredded hard wood, pine bark, rice hulls) is very important. Mulch will help keep roots cool in summer and warm in winter. It also helps retain moisture in the summer, control weeds and protect the soil from erosion by wind and heavy rain. A few hints I have picked up; silver/gray plants and plants with tiny leaves should be mulched with non-organic mulch like coarse sand or crushed eggshells. Basil prefers to grow where it is planted and it reseeds itself if you leave a few flowers on the stalks to go to seed. Don’t be afraid to prune your herbs if they’re wilting every day or getting leggy. Once they have bloomed cut them back to about half their size. A good resource: http://www.herbsociety-stu.org/Growing&Using.htm

I have also collected lots of great information to share with you on my Pinterest board Herbs http://www.pinterest.com/laurinraven/herbs/