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Growing perennial culinary spices

 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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What perennial culinary spices are you growing? Which ones do you plan to grow?
I use the term spice loosely to include any type of culinary herb or spice.
 
Marianne Cicala
gardener
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Location: south central VA 7B
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A lot depends on your zone, which you have a nice # so you should be able to add: lemon balm, ginger, chamomile, curry, maybe lemon grass. In 7ish and warmer: rosemary, lavender, oregano, parsley, anise, sage, tarragon, violas (ok, not tech. an herb, but great additive none the less) horseradish, echinacea, witch hazel(tech. a tree/shrub) bay leaf (OK another tree) any mint is what pops to mind quickly. I recently added an herb bed on the western side of our house which is dark clapboard soI'm hoping for a micro-climate that will allow our annual herbs to become perinnals, but won't plant it until the spring.
 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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Marianne, I like your suggestions.

Here is what I have:
Bay Laurel
California Bay Laurel
Rosemary
White Sage
Chaste Tree
Oregano
Tarragon

It's not that wide of a selection...

Here is what I want:
Japanese Pepper Tree
California Pepper Tree
Lemon Grass
Lemon Balm
Curry Tree (experimental)
Ginger
Horseradish
Thyme
Saffron
 
jacque greenleaf
pollinator
Posts: 488
Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Steve, where you are, lemon balm (and any mint) will grow enthusiastically outdoors, you might want to grow it in a large pot to keep it under control. My experience is that it prefers some sun in the morning, but shade the rest of the day. It will get tired during the heat of the summer and in the depth of winter, but this will be temporary. You can dry some to carry you over until it gets green and glossy again. Or winter it in a cool, well-lit porch.

People grow lemon grass outside in the midwest, and dig it up to bring inside and carry over the winter - this year, I grew some in a pot, it grew great during the summer, and I brought it inside to a cool porch. It's surviving, but obviously feeling cramped and light-starved, and probably chilly. I've harvested some stalks, but I either need quite a few more plants or a much bigger plant to provide enough for eating over the winter. Supplemental light and heat might keep it productive during the winter. You don't mention wasabi, it likes cool, but not freezing temps, and might do well for you outside in moist shade year round - I'm growing mine in a pot and brought it in for the winter. It's doing well, and when it gets large enough, I'm going to start harvesting.

Ginger will grow in a pot, but it does not like cool temps or gray winter days *at all*. I've never managed to keep a plant happy enough to get a sustainable harvest, I suspect that supplemental heat and light are required.

Horseradish, thyme and saffron will all do just fine for you outside in the ground.

Never tried the other plants you have on your wish list.

 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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Thank you for your reply, jacque. I forgot about wasabi, I will add that to my list. I really do appreciate your input (as well as others).
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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dont plant any mint or anise/corriander family plants where you want to grow ANYTHING else, ever.

seem to be be the bamboo and kudzu of the herb family.

mint is tough enough to use as pathway covers tho. just have to use heavy deep edging to keep it under control
 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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Here is an updated list:

Here is what I want:
Japanese Pepper Tree
California Pepper Tree
Lemon Grass
Lemon Balm
Curry Tree (experimental)
Ginger
Horseradish
Thyme
Saffron
Fennel
Wasabi
Korean Mint
Wild Sarsaparilla
American Spikenard
Caper
Camphor
Sweet Fern
Mountain Pepper
Star Anise
Juniper
Lovage
Lindera Spice Bush
Wax Myrtle
Cape Myrtle
Greek Myrtle
Mountain Mint





 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Mint
Spearmint
Chocolate mint
Raspberry Leaf (Tea)
Passionfruit Leaf (Maypop Tea)

Oregano
Rosemary
Thyme

Onion
Garlic

Self-seeding
Basil
Cilantro
 
Ken Peavey
steward
Posts: 2523
Location: FL
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Rosemary
In the southern half of the country this is an evergreen. A deep freeze for an extended period can knock it down. Has the advantage of repelling mosquitos to some degree. Plant it beside your door or outdoor seating area, let it grow tall, give it a smack when you pass by to kick up the scent. Ground into a powder, it will knock you down, but rub some powder on a chicken before you bake it. Propagates easily with cuttings.

Mint
This stuff is persistent. It is a heavy feeder of N. As it grows it will expand in a growing circle, leaving behind a space of low N. Being invasive, it needs a container or it can get out of control. Propagates easily with cuttings, spreads readily by rhizome. I don't bother with mint anymore.

Oregano
Similar to Mint in consuming N as it spreads. Add some whole fresh leaves to that pizza.

Marjoram
It's like a mild oregano with smaller leaves.

Basil
Hard to beat it fresh in salad. I like the opal basil to offer color. Can't make a pesto without it.

Fennel
The kids like to use the hollow stems as straws. The bulbs make an excellent dish. I get ladybugs on the fennel before anything else.
Snap off the bulb, leave the root, more bulbs will come up.

Dill
Can't make dill cucumbers without dill, use the flower heads. A scattering of chopped leaves in a seafood chowder works well.

Cilantro
I don't care for it, but it helps keep some bugs off some plants. Little care needed. The seeds are Coriander.

Nasturtium
Not sure it can be classified as an herb, but the leaves are peppery. Put it near tomatoes to deter some bugs.

Parsley
Dried, add a sprinkle to scrambled eggs. Highly versatile. Easier to grow than weeds.

Peppers
Sweet for paprika, just dry and grind to a powder. Hot for sauce. Gotta have it for cajun spice blend.

Garlic and onions
It wouldn't be my garden without these. Plant around the edges of the garden to deter rabbits.

Thyme
Toss in a few sprigs with a pan braised pork chop and you'll know what good is.

Cumin
Grows like dill. A must have for chili and tacos.

Spinach
dry the leaves, grind to a powder, mix with pasta dough=spinach pasta

Horseradish
I'll find out soon if it is going to come back after the cold season. I'm hopeful. A section of root, wash/peel, put in a food processor to grind to a fine paste. Best to do it outside while wearing a full face respirator.

Ginger
I'm also hoping for its return come spring. Slice for a stir fry. Add a bit to cole slaw.

Salad Burnett
I found it terribly unappealing and a tragic waste of time.

Sage
Pretty good whole in a salad for a deep, robust, earthy flavor.

Shnozberries
Good for making scratch and lickwallpaper.

I find 3 tools can add a huge diversity to how you can use herbs.

Dehydrator
solar, electric, even a warm oven will work. I have an electric unit that works beautifully, fill it once or twice, it will give me enough for a year. Herbs are typically a fine leaf, so it dries in a hurry. Basil takes 3-4 hours with it's large leaves. You lose some of the strength vs fresh. For the same intensity, use 2-3 times as much dried.
I've also tried putting a plate of basil in the freezer. Dried it out in a couple days. For small amounts, try it out.

Grain Mill
Dry it, then mill it into a powder. Adds a new dimension. Gotta have it for paprika.

Food Processor
Walmart has a little one for 10 bucks. Grinds up fresh leaves into a puree. Hard to make a pesto without one. Hummus can put a lot of these herbs to good use.

In a warm climate, some of these will be perennial. Some will be seasonal, so save your seeds.


 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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I am a huge cilantro fan. Hopefully I can get my cilantro to self seed. My garden is very young, so I am still learning what grows best here, and what self seeds well.
 
J W Richardson
Posts: 65
Location: Council, ID
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There's a variety of rosemary, Arp, that is supposed to be hardy to zone 6.

I just discovered the world of chinese medicinal herbs and am using the better tasting ones as broth material for soups, simmering them and straining before adding the edibles - expanding my idea of culinary - dong quai (angelica sinensis), astragalus, codonopsis, prepared rehmannia and polygonum multiflorum root, eleuthero... I don't have any of the medicinal salvias yet - maybe they can be used in the same way. The dong quai has a wonderful strong carroty aroma.
The Chinese use a lot of them as foods and really blur the line between food and medicine.

I'm also researching what they eat on the longevity island of Ikaria, which sounds like most of the hillside under the heading of the concept of horta, boiled 'salad' - more food than herbs I suppose -

http://dianekochilas.com/2106/glossary-of-edible-wild-greens

 
Emdad Haque
Posts: 8
Location: Rajshahi
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I hope You are going well with your perennial culinary spices.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1355
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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I have no idea what variety of rosemary I have but it is evergreen and my temp has already hit 0F.
I checked out the link that you provided I like it.

J W Richardson wrote:There's a variety of rosemary, Arp, that is supposed to be hardy to zone 6.

http://dianekochilas.com/2106/glossary-of-edible-wild-greens

 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
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I don't see sechuan peppercorn on the list. A good plant for living hedges because of it's thorny nature.

Certain varieties of hot pepper can be perennial like the rocoto tree pepper.
 
gani et se
Posts: 215
Location: Douglas County OR
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You might be able to grow tea -- camellia sinensis -- the real thing. Also, corsican mint is the mint used to make creme de menthe, I think. It's tiny, but it IS a mint... Pineapple sage, lavender, sorrel.
 
Jeff Cope
Posts: 10
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Your list sounds great. Have fun with it.
One caution: Japanese pepper, Xanthoxylem spp., can carry citrus canker. I’ve been debating for a long time about trying it, trying to find some certified or guaranteed disease-free trees or seeds, so far no luck. Not even sure there is such a thing but still hoping.
There is both a curry leaf tree Murraya koenigii and a curry plant, Helichrysum italicum.

Some additions to consider: (some are borderline or technically perennial vegies or nut or fruit trees but can be used as culinary herbs)
perennial peppers (Rocoto (hot!), Aji dulce (mild) and some other peppers growable as perennials, like cayenne, Thai chiles, etc.
chives
watercress
Houttuynia
African blue basil, a perennial; not the best tasting or textured basil by a long shot but maybe some perennial/annual crosses would be good and durable.
licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
licorice flag (Acorus gramineus)
epazote, used in Mexican bean dishes, etc.
Galangal or white ginger, used in Thai soups—the kha in Tom Kha. (I’m working on a completely homegrown Tom Kha/Tom Yum cross, with coconut-like Quito palm, tofu, baby corn, mushrooms, keiffer lime leaves, lemon grass (I’ve also used rhubarb as a lemongrass substitute) etc. You can get rhizomes in Asian grocery stores.
sage
marjoram
Vietnamese coriander
wintergreen
hops
tea (Camellia sinensis) Burmese tea leaf paste for salad (Hmm-mm!) or tea leaf ice cream, especially Earl Grey tea!
coffee (used as flavoring for drinks, ice cream, baked goods, etc.)
lavender (candies, sweets, etc., and I keep thinking there are savory applications just waiting to break into the gourmet world. Lavender crème brulee? Slightly lavendered mint, epazote and chipotle white beans with roasted peeled Aji dulce peppers?)
menthol
cardamom, turmeric; ginger-like plants that grow well in pots or as annuals. Won’t go to seed but the leaves and rhizomes are good.
wild ginger, western wild ginger
Trees: obviously not herbs but homegrown almonds have the most intense almond scent and flavor and could be used as a flavoring for all kinds of foods. The same is true of lemon, lime, limequat and other citrus trees, including keiffer lime and bergamot orange (for Earl Grey tea). Leaves, fruit zest are great garnishes and flavorings. Pine needles and sap can be used to flavor. (Retsina wine, anyone? Retsina beer? mead?... mastic from Pistacia lentiscus, and then the idea of liqueurs opens up the field to all sorts of “herbal” flavorings—wormwood, frankincense?, oak shavings or barrels, Have you thought of culinary colorings?
I think of some bushes as more herb-like on the scale I grow them: currants, goji berries, roses for rose hips, and many tea plants: New Jersey tea (a nitrogen fixer) etc. (I love that you included spice bush)
There are some vegetables etc. that can be used as vegetable rennin to make cheese: nettles, thistles (artichoke family including artis and cardoon), fig bark, mallow, yucca...
For people not us, some climates produce great sugars/flavorings: maple, birch and so on.
 
Steve Flanagan
gardener
Posts: 324
Location: North Fork, CA. USDA Zone 9a, Heat Zone 8, 37 degrees North, Sunset 7/9, elevation 2600 feet
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I love to cook and I love trying new fruits, vegetables, and herbs/spices. I'm really trying to get to a point where most of my food comes from my garden. I'm open to trying any plant based food.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://stoves2.com
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