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Growing herbs in a hot and humid climate

May 26, 2011

Slowly I have found herbs that grow easily here in the tropics and can be used to replace the more common ones that find this hot humid climate quite tiresome.
I thought oregano would have no trouble growing here, but every time I have bought a little pot from the nursery it has stayed the same size and then eventually wilted and died. then a friend gave me a slip of this;

growing off to the left,( against the fence is the comfrey).Now I know it looks nothing like oregano, but it tastes like a little oregano, a little thyme, and my gosh! it grows here! never stops - you have to keep cutting it back :) It is called mother of herbs, or Cuban oregano - I reckon you could also call it tropical bouquet garni, but folks are not that fancy round here! Once that took over the entire back of my herb spiral, and I flattened it out I decided that my other favorite herb could have the front new section.

It is easy to harvest and water because this herb doesn't like to be waterlogged, but does like to have a little drink every day - it is my parsley bed! I discovered some tricks from my old Italian neighbor about growing nice big bunches of parsley. Firstly it doesn't like to be transplanted, so plant the seeds in location- lots of them - because they seem as if they are never going to come up, and you want to be able to choose the healthiest. Once you get enough stalks to harvest, start to hill up the soil around the base, the plant will branch out along its stalk and if it is supported it grows stronger and bigger. sorry! I have only just noticed the weeds - they take over while you are not looking!

On the outside edge I have some spearmint and garlic chives, which also grow like weeds, and the chive flowers attract pollinators.

In the middle section of the herb spiral I have a strange looking plant - it reminds me of a hen and chicken, but my gosh those chickens have a sharp edge.

It is called sawtooth coriander, and even though it looks nothing like coriander it tastes exactly the same! Once you have chopped up those big leaves up into your salsa, nobody would know the difference. This is a bit weedy - I notice it popping up everywhere, but there is nothing I love more than the smell of coriander, and a little water brings the clean fresh smell wafting up to me as I wander through the garden, so it can stay.

The very top section that I thought would be good for rosemary just never worked,and now I have some nasturtiums there - I love to add their flowers to my salads, but alas they don't like the heat at all and will die off as the weather warms up. So my herb spiral has been adapted to this climate - grown low and wide now instead of high, and filled with the plants that survive in this climate. Gardening for me is like that - I start off with an idea, and by the end it might not look anything like the original idea, but if it works it is OK by me!
To see more photos please see my blog www.africanaussie.blogspspot.com

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