IcebergRose
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Outdoor Herb Garden Questions

Hello There!

I'm new here, and I have some questions about outdoor herb gardening.

I've been researching about how to get started. But there's a few issues. For one, some herbs I've read up about, suggest you bring them inside in the winter. The things is, my apartment gets no direct sun indoors, making it very hard for most plants/herbs to survive, it seems.

I'd really like to know which herbs would survive outdoors, all year long, in Texas. It doesn't get too cold, but we do get ice, hail and very windy storms, as well as 100+ degree summer days. FYI my balcony has a roof over it, so that does serve as some protection.

If someone could give me some tips, or maybe a link to a site about southern herb planting, that'd be great.

Thank you,
Have a great day!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Outdoor Herb Garden Questions

What part of Texas? What cold hardiness zone are you in? Texas covers everything from zone 6 to zone 9. That's a big difference in terms of what you can grow.
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IcebergRose
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Re: Outdoor Herb Garden Questions

That's true, I should of specified, I meant the dallas area.

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Outdoor Herb Garden Questions

That puts you in zone 8, which means you should be able to grow almost everything.

All the mediterranean herbs love hot, dry, sunny, sandy. That would include lavender, rosemary, sage, thyme, tarragon, mint (though mint likes a bit more moisture and less sun than the rest). Oregano will be evergreen for you.

Other things that should handle your climate include bee balm, lemon balm, carrot family stuff (fennel, dill, parsley).


Basically whatever you want. What herbs were you being told should come in for the winter in zone 8? Even pineapple sage should be hardy for you. Lemon verbena is only hardy to zone 9, so you would have to bring it in. I can't think of anything else.
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Susan W
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Re: Outdoor Herb Garden Questions

Glad to see the interest in growing a few herbs! There are a few basic questions before longer answers and suggestions. Do think about the herbs, what you like and use now. It will be best, and easiest, to wait until spring (March-April) to get good starts from the garden center and proceed then. Herbs are a win-some, lose-some, and I'm great at both. A few successes will encourage you to play with more.

Are these grown on a balcony? What exposure?
Do you have other potted plants in this area?

My climate (Memphis) similar to Dallas, but without the extremes. I have over 150 containers of herbs on deck, back drive etc, so may be able to offer some friendly suggestions.
Have fun!
Susan

imafan26
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Re: Outdoor Herb Garden Questions

Here's a link to herbs recommended for Harris county by Texas A&M University.

It looks like you can grow most of the common herbs and if you select the right cultivars most should be hardy. I still would keep the invasive ones in pots like the mints and a few favorites may still have to overwinter indoors. Annual herbs would have to be replanted anyway.

https://harris.agrilife.org/files/2011/05/herbs.pdf

I like the Sandmountain site. Even if I don't buy seeds from them, they have an extensive herb list, and zone information.

https://www.sandmountainherbs.com/Catalog.html
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applestar
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Re: Outdoor Herb Garden Questions

Yeah lucky you. I'll be bringing in herbs that you could leave outside over the winter like pineapple sage. I suspect you may be able to allow the lemon verbena to go dormant then keep in sheltered location to come back to life in spring. Similarly there will be other herbs that are perennial but will shrivel up in fall/winter but come back in spring. But I suspect evergreen herbs like rosemary will stay green all winter for you... While I'll be employing every trick I've learned to keep them alive indoors over the winter.... Lucky you.... :P
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IcebergRose
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Re: Outdoor Herb Garden Questions

Thank you for the advice everyone!

I am planning to start planning in the spring, but I wanted to research and learn about how to go about it before hand. Also, my balcony gets only 3-4 hours of direct sunlight a day, unfortunately.

Since rainbowgardener informed me I was in zone 8, I looked more into that, and it looks like I can grow all the herbs I wanted. Basil, Chives, Dill, Garlic, and many more! Although from what I read, they seem to suggest that you plant them in a sunny area, and unfortunately that's not really an option for me (silly north facing balcony).

Thank you for the links imafan26, it was very informative.

Things like garlic seem a bit over my head at this point, but Basil, Parsley, chives, dill, seems like nice simple plants to try planting in the spring. I'm going to go to a local gardening center and ask about well-draining soil, since that seems to be recommended for most of the herbs I'm interested in growing.

Susan W, they will be grown on a balcony, and I have no other potted plants on it. Also, they herbs will only get a few hours of direct sun a day. I hope that's enough for them, otherwise I have no where else to plant them.

Thank you everyone!

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rainbowgardener
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Re: Outdoor Herb Garden Questions

Oh dear, north facing balcony... that is really not good for herbs. If the balcony faces north, are there not windows on the opposite side facing south? Can you put window boxes outside those windows? Look around and get creative about possible planting spots. Roof garden?

All those herbs will grow in your climate, but many of them will not handle such limited amounts of sun.

Things to try on your balcony include mint, bee balm, lemon balm, parsley, chives, chamomile, cilantro, thyme. You could also grow salad greens there and they would last farther in to the summer than greens grown in sun.
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applestar
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Re: Outdoor Herb Garden Questions

Even in Texas, I imagine the sun rises and sets further north and travels higher in the sky during the summer. Not sure if the difference is as dramatic as here where the sun rises north of East and sets north of West in the summer, but rises south of East and south of West in the winter, and the sun's path in the sky falls so low in the winter that garden beds that received blazing sunlight practically all day will not see a single ray all winter because the sun won't clear the albeit leafless treetops and roofs of neibors' as well as my own house.

-- my point being the amount of sun on a NORTH facing balcony is likely to be even more limited during winter.

If your apartment only faces north, you may need to be really creative and think outside the box... like lining the balcony with reflective material or salvaged mirrors and/or setting up weather proof lights on timers along the inside wall of the balcony. Or grow your herbs inside of the balcony sliding doors or windows with lights. :idea:

I once lived in an apartment where only window that got any sun was a West-facing 18" wide narrow floor to ceiling window. The rest faced North including my Balcony, though it did stick out past the wall of the Utility room (which unfortunately was on the West side of the balcony) by about 12". During the summer, I lined that balcony extension with containers of plants and hung window boxes from the railing, AND put up hooks for hanging baskets. :lol:

In that narrow window, I put up glass shelves for all my smaller sun loving houseplants, and the rest lined and hung from the ceiling in the North-facing picture window in the same room.

I had another floor to ceiling narrow window facing East but it was blocked by a huge tree, never-the-less, I lined the corner next to the window with mirror tiles, put up lights and made it a plant corner for plants that didn't need as much light.
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Susan W
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Re: Outdoor Herb Garden Questions

I think you'll do fine on the limited sun. Most of mine don't get full (6 hr) sun, and many need moved to more shade than sun. I grow for the farmers market, and need good growth! The more difficult element for you could be wind. That dries things faster than anything.

I suggest big enough containers so temps and moisture not always at extremes. 12" minimum. Well draining soil is good, but you need some moisture holding.

A biggie is to talk to others in your building, well those who have plants on balconies. They could be the best to advise on sun, wind, temps, plus plants and pots etc.
Have fun!
Susan

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ReptileAddiction
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Re: Outdoor Herb Garden Questions

I think everyone else covered it pretty well but I agree that I think it could be possible on your balcony. To make it work though you might want to seriously consider getting old mirrors off craigslist or something.

I also recommend growing them in a large mixing tub. You can get them from home improvement stores for 10-15 dollars. They last a long time and all you have to do is put some big holes in the bottom. I find that the depth is perfect for most smaller herbs and you can fit quite a few in.

imafan26
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Re: Outdoor Herb Garden Questions

If you plant in pots, and you want a well drained mix, you can get MG potting soil. if you need more drainage add perlite to the mix. On a balcony in summer your pots will dry out fast in the heat and wind. I also prefer larger containers. Just be careful that the herbs in the pot are compatible. Mint usually has to be in its own pot or it will take over. Mirrors and tin foil do help reflect light.
Happy gardening in Hawaii. Gardens are where people grow.

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