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I've recently started cooking more and would like to grow my own herbs instead of having to go to the grocery store and buy a bundle that goes to waste. My problem is I've never had any luck with growing anything but aloe vera and elephant ears. All the herbs I've planted to date didn't survive..I have a townhome and it gets hot on the deck here and I have to admit I made the mistake of going crazy at Home Depot and bought and planted a bunch without checking their sun and water requirements.
I'm wanting to do this right and have some success..I'm leaning towards a bunch of mints because I just love the smell(these I've had success with but guess they got too hot and bloomed and that was it...) I'd like dill, rosemary, chives, basil, cilantro for sure. A coworker told me to get individual pots for each herb and start from seeds...I was thinking if I could find a live thriving plant that would put me ahead of the game so to speak but everything in Home Depot and Walmart's nurseries are fried it seems like.
any advice on some good books that are easy/simple to understand and not too 'technical' - just occurred to me there's probably a 'dummies' book for this too! but my area seems to get too hot for a lot of plants and the books just seem to work well for certain areas with milder weather... also w here to find plants or should I start with seeds? I'm thinking one plant of each would work well since I'm the only one eating my culinary efforts and dont' want to get overwhelmed..
Susanna - I live in Dallas, and THE gardening book for Texas is the one by Neil Sperry.
Because of the summer heat, I pretty much have two harvests on my herbs - spring and fall. Summer is the time that I just try to keep everything from dying. You are right that buying an established plant will give you a head start. Herbs that do very well in my garden are rosemary (use the biggest pot you can and it will grow into a bush!), basil, chives, oregano, lemon balm and lavender. Those will generally winter over for me too, so I don't have to replant. Make sure your pots are deep enough - otherwise they'll dry out too fast. You may also want to put some lava rock or mulch on the surface to help keep the water from evaporating too fast.
Another thing you may want to consider is getting a banana pepper plant. The peppers are very mild and fresh tasting, and I enjoy being able to grab a fresh pepper off of the vine and chop it into a salad or scrambled eggs. For some reason, those do very well in my garden also.
Dill and cilantro do ok for me, as does thyme, but like the basil, they'll start going to seed early in the year (April), then you get a second harvest in the fall, provided the plant survived the summer.
You can do ok with plants from Home Depot or Lowes, but if you have a Calloway's, they seem to have more resiliant plants.
Susanna, here's a link to the Harris County Extension office and its horticulture publications. If you are in Fort Bend County, there should be an extension office there, too.