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Initial Results of Project Urban Sustainability Cleveland

 
gardener
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Permacultue+other "innovative " growing techniques used on a small scale to see how sustainable a temperate suburban homestead can be.  

Initial results: if your not growing your own herbs,  your just wasting money and resources. Sage, lovage, tarragon, thyme, oregano, chives, anise hyssop, hyssop,  all grow readily and flower.  Most can be picked up at a local nursery.

Local stores should be selling Roman chamomile,  Anise hyssop, lovage, and tarragon in their culinary section. They grow well and are novel edibles. The seller will probably need to label their use: "tastes like celery!" or "your future tarragon for tarragon chicken."

Online plant sellers should include Roman Chamomile, alpine strawberries, and a properly bred variety of black elderberry to their collections. They are easy to propagate, transport,  and noteworthy. Giant Colewort should also be added even though I haven't grown it yet, it's touted in many magazines and all online sellers are "out of stock:"

Most lemon needs can be replaced by rhubarb making it a garden must have here. It proliferates quite well and is easy to acquire.



 
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You have touched on many of what I have growing in my new urban/ suburban yard.     Anise hyssop,  chamomile, and alpine strawberry are on my wish list for spring (unless I find a fall swap or clearance).    I've put in an herb spiral this year and it's packed with:   thyme, rosemary, winter savory, oregano, sage, chives, garlic chives, tarragon,  french sorrel (which is also planted around my gardens as well).    The chamomile and alpine strawb. will go in there as well.    Hyssop, borage and loveage are too tall and are planted in my mixed tree/shrub/herbacious borders though!    I've started making all of my own herbal teas and flavored waters.  Can't wait to see your further postings!
 
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French sorrel is also somewhat lemony, in context. Also, my grandmother makes one hell of a sorrel soup, a chicken broth base that could easily be mushroom or vegetable at need, and served with sliced hard-boiled eggs. Like nettles, given the right encouragement, this plant can get to the point where you need to harvest and use it just to keep it from becoming a nuisance plant.

I think that everyone who enjoys a good herbal tea should see if they can support mints and chamomiles in their gardens. I have had only limited success with chamomiles, but mints are easy to keep and harvest on the scale of personal dried tea.

Thank you for the information, Amit. Please keep the results coming, and good luck.

-CK
 
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Some other ideas:

A Bay tree planted in a pot is easy to grow and can be allowed to grow as little or as much as you want.

Similarly, a Kafir Lime tree, garlic, ginger, galangal and turmeric does the same and can be moved to take advantage of warm microclimates - even the kitchen bench, laundry, or near a warm water heater.

Wormwood planted around chicken pens is an old way to keep them free of pests. It's also useful in human health if so inclined.

Coriander can be grown as a herb or spice (seed). It is highly nutritious and the flowers attract beneficial insects.

 
Amit Enventres
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F Agricola wrote:Some other ideas:

A Bay tree planted in a pot is easy to grow and can be allowed to grow as little or as much as you want.

Similarly, a Kafir Lime tree, garlic, ginger, galangal and turmeric does the same and can be moved to take advantage of warm microclimates - even the kitchen bench, laundry, or near a warm water heater.

Wormwood planted around chicken pens is an old way to keep them free of pests. It's also useful in human health if so inclined.

Coriander can be grown as a herb or spice (seed). It is highly nutritious and the flowers attract beneficial insects.



Yes,  in theory you can grow things inside, but for someone who isn't a good or attentive gardener that's going to lead to frustration. I have several clients who wanted to try that and successfully killed most everything they've purchased so far.

Coriander is a great annual and if you're lucky, it will reseed. Most professional gardeners in this suburbia don't allow such frivolity. Dill also falls there, though yes- all very true. A "wild flowering spice" area might be allowed,  but I have seen many gardeners pulling non weeds that they planted, which reminds me: 50% of gardening is plant ID-ing.

I id forget mint! And lemon balm! Yes, mint is another herb culinary and tea that people don't take enough advantage of. However: it does suffer from take-over-itis, which may have been why I neglected it. The plants I listed are boringly tame plug-and-play here.

French sorrel is awesome.  I would add it to the leafy green group. That needs some more analysis because there's so many options and varying harvest rates. I use about 20sqft of greens for a family of 4 with some guests, but I think there's probably a more condensed option.

I should also add rosehips to the tea collection.  

So to update and summarize: if you're not herb gardening in suburbia, what have you been doing??? And if you don't tea garden, you've been missing out.
 
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