Rock garden herbs florida,interior design ideas diy with low budget,raised bed garden on concrete,landscape usa - 2016 Feature

11.08.2014
If you find that many of your favorite culinary herbs wilt, “melt,” and otherwise succumb to the Florida heat and humidity, consider creating a rock garden.
So with that memory, I decided what my culinary herb garden needed was some rocks–clearly a challenge to come by in Florida. The kitchen garden was already located on a slight slope, so we exaggerated it a bit and created the illusion of terracing with our ragtag collection of stones and rocks.
The concept of a “rock” garden in Europe began when people tried to recreate the growing habitat for Alpine flowers, and, of course, Asian cultures, particularly China and Japan, have a tradition of magnificently designed ornamental rocks gardens. The rewarding part of cultivating culinary herbs in Florida is that most of them thrive in the worst soil, so the sandy and acidic Florida dirt is not a problem. Sage and lavender struggle in the Florida heat humidity, but they have both fared better in the rock garden.
Another pleasure of having a rock garden is that it tends to stay free of unwanted plants because your herbs will spread out over rocks, creating shady areas underneath where the “weeds” get less sunlight. Herbs are well-suited for container culture, because only a small portion of the plant is usually needed at any one time and the plants are generally small. Most herbs will do well under the same conditions of sunlight and soil as vegetables, although some herbs are more sensitive to soil moisture conditions than others.
Even if you don't have a sunny windowsill, you can still grow herbs indoors, thanks to new products on the market. The young, tender leaves of herbs can be gathered and used fresh at any time during the season.
Herbal vinegars can be used in salad dressing, marinades and basting liquids, as well as in many dishes, like scrambled eggs and stir-fries.


After picking and drying them, pack the herbs into a large jar, cover them with near-boiling white vinegar, and let the mixture steep for a few weeks.
After years of basically abandoning the “kitchen” garden during the summer, I finally decided to return to a passion of my childhood. My husband picks up rocks and stones wherever he can find them on trips and visits to friends. But it is the craggy hills in southern Europe that we need to emulate in order to grow the culinary herbs we use most.
As a matter of fact, I have found that some of the kitchen herbs do poorly in improved soil, particularly oregano, thyme, catnip, rosemary, and rose geranium.
The addition of organic matter to sandy soils can be beneficial since herbs are shallow rooting.
Use one large container to house all your herbs with similar water needs or put each in its own individual pot. Their flavor comes from the essential oils they contain, and it lasts longer if the herbs are harvested at the right time and properly cured and stored. When we returned home, I went to library and took out every book available on rock gardening. We salvaged rocks, cement slag, pavers, and bricks just before one of his clients bulldozed some old apartments. Mimicking that hot, dry environment, even partially (no way to get rid of the humidity, of course), is the key to significantly improving the quality of your favorite kitchen herbs. If you like lavender in your Florida herb garden, consider the Goodwin Creek cultivar, which fares well in the humidity here.


Note that these green friends should not be dismissed as many have medicinal properties; however, they don’t necessarily make good company for your more persnickety culinary herbs.
Keep in mind that some herbs, such as mint, can grow rapidly and become weedy if left unchecked.
You can also chop or snip the leaves of frozen herbs directly into your dish, just as you would with fresh herbs. My dad helped me put together a plan, we located rocks (an easy task in New Jersey’s rocky Appalachian Ridge and Piedmont areas), and set to work.
Because they naturally grow in poor soil tucked in rocky crevices, many culinary herbs benefit from limestone, and so the cement slag is good choice for creating a rock garden and adding pieces or chips of limestone is beneficial. And be realistic, there are some culinary and cultivated medicinal herbs that you can only grow in the winter months: cilantro and chamomile, for instance. You can grow your herbs from seed, but you will save time by buying small plants from a supermarket or gardening center. Better to scavenge them or ask friends to bring you rocks when they visit from out of state (if they are driving, that is). Herbs prefer a sunny location and can be grown in the same conditions as vegetables, whether indoors or out. Another advantage of growing herbs hydroponically is that you’ll never have to weed them or deal with soil-borne pests.



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