How My Herb Garden Grows


Remember my beautiful new herb garden with a gate?

A few months later, I’m happy to report that my basil, oregano, chives, rosemary, and sage are doing tremendous! The weeds are also flourishing! The parsley is languishing, and the dill is dead. However! It’s mostly doing well! ESPECIALLY the weeds! In fact, the weeds are doing so well, I can’t even find the herbs!

You’re welcome. This public service photograph is here to make you feel better about your own herb garden. As is this one:

And this one!

Ahoy! We are a-sail on a ship of weeds! We float upon a river of invasive pestilence! We chart a course to wreck upon the rocks of negligence!

We shall write poetry, songs, and sonnets to the weeds. Mostly, because that’s easier than pulling them.

Sigh. Okay. Staff? STAFF?!

I always have to do everything myself.

Ta da.

How’s your herb garden doing?


  1. Bev in CA says:

    Dear Suzanne, don’t be so hard on yourself. You only have a gazillion things to do. We also have been battling the weeds. It does seem like summer is going by too fast. The last pic does shows job well done..

  2. Runningtrails says:

    Oh my! lol! I sympathize with you! ALL my gardens looked like that last year. It was “the year of the PUPPY!” Now it’s better. I had to force a weeding/hoeing schedule on myself and stick to it, no matter what. I also use a lot of cardboard and newspaper between plants and rows. You could try putting thick layers of newspaper between the plants and covering them with mulch or mowed leaves or something to keep it in place. It really does help.

  3. Runningtrails says:

    I have expanded the herb garden this year and added a lot of medicinal herbs.

  4. Granny Trace says:

    :dancingmonster: The weeds are winning in my garden!
    Granny Trace

  5. Cheryl LeMay says:

    ALL my gardens look worse than yours. Between the heat wave in July and now all the rain I haven’t maintained anything. Friday is my next day off and it’s supposed to be nice (although more rain in the evening), so I’m hoping to make some headway. The after photo looks nice-good job!

  6. rurification says:

    What I want to know is how the heat manages to stunt the growth of my veg and herbs, but not the weeds. My herb garden is on the way to my veg garden and I pull a handful every time I go by, so the weeds aren’t too horrible, they’re just way taller than the herbs.

  7. Linda Goble says:

    Yep! That is why I don’t have one any more. I dug up my herbs and put them in a huge pot. This fall after garden is done I will temporarily put what is perennial in the garden and bring what else inside. We turned my herb garden into husbands strawberry patch. Now he can take care of the weeds. We put heavy ground cloth in the garden around plants and it is so nice not to have to weed it any more. Only thing I need to keep up with is my flower beds.

  8. Liz Pike says:

    In answer to Sheryl’s question, weeds have deeper roots than most cultivated plants, reaching further down for water. Which, btw, is a good thing because those weed roots also bring up minerals and nutrients for the cultivated plants. Modern times have gotten us used to neat fields, gardens, rows–a weedy field reflects poorly on the farmer–when it should be the reverse. In my market gardens over the years, I’ve allowed a certain amount of weeds to remain just for this purpose, and also to act as shade.

    Has anyone ever noticed how garden plants wilt after a particular aggressive weeding session? Well, this is why.

    Agriculture texts at the turn of the century taught farmers about weeds and their purpose in the fields. Now all we have is Monsanto selling us chemicals and ideas to eradicate weeds, and all that has gotten us is super-weeds. Sad.

    I’ve learned to love messy gardens. They produce equal to or almost as well as pristine ones, with alot less labor and aggravation. That’s not to say I want it so totally over-run with weeds the plants compete with one another, but there can be a nice symbiotic relationship that works for everyone’s advantage. Minus Suzanne’s “staff”!!

  9. Flowerpower says:

    I think the weeds were winning in my neighbors garden and he mowed part of it! I have too much shade for any major gardening. :happyflower:

  10. Renee says:

    I’m happy to announce that my herb garden looks like yours! :woof:
    I know there are herbs in that garden somewhere, I just don’t know where! :happybutterfly:

  11. TinaBell says:

    I just want to thank Liz Pike from the bottom of my heart!! Your comment was so informative; not only did I learn a great deal that I never knew before but now I feel tremendously better about MY weedy garden.
    That heat wave just about did me in and I could rarely bring myself to maintain the garden. With two jobs, the heat and a bumper crop of EVERYTHING, I was overwhelmed and, sadly, have neglected my poor garden.
    Now at least I don’t feel so bad about the weeds.
    Thank you, Liz, you have lifted a worrisome cloud from me!
    P.S. My herb garden isn’t too terribly weedy but it’s looking pretty pitiful…

  12. holstein woman says:

    Newspaper, cardboard and any paper products that can disentergrate in the soil is my answer. I have used paper bags from our animal feed for years and now I can’t get it (feed bags are now plastic!) so I go to the appliance store and get their tough boxes and cut them up. They are first used for brooder boxes then for row fill. They will give all you want and be glad they are gone from their recycling bins. They are ready for rorotilling into the soil the next year.
    My herb garden consists of basil and dill in the vegie garden this year and I just weeded for the first time because of rain, haying and no time. :cowsleep:

  13. Marmee says:

    Oh I can’t tell you how good this makes me feel! Hahahahaha! Mine looks the same way! 😆 :hug:

  14. JerseyMom says:

    Hmmmm….that before picture looks VERY familiar! With this heat we just haven’t kept up with the weeds. They tolerate high temps much better than we do. Our ‘staff’ hasn’t been much help either although they have eliminated quite a few of the lower hanging tomatoes. At least I don’t have to feel guilty about those – they became chicken feed with little to no effort on my part :yes:

  15. MissAmynae says:

    oh, i must know what the little orange flowers are! that is a delightful little garden ya got there 🙂

  16. whaledancer says:

    Suzanne, I think that’s the real reason you have the annual Stringtown Rising Farm party, to force yourself to do those chores you like least. The “after” photo looks great.

    Liz, whether you’re right about weeds or not, I’ve decided to accept and embrace what you say unquestioningly. From now on whenever the weeds overrun my garden, I’m just going to give your explanation and turn it into a virtue. Although since many of our weeds aren’t native plants, but cultivars run amok, I’m not sure it applies. But that’s your story and I’m sticking to it. 😀

  17. oct4luv says:

    My dill is dead too. But the basil, rosemary and majoram are doing OK. I have thyme planted all over the place, not just with the other herbs. It’s my favorite.

  18. mamawolf says:

    Fortunately there are no weeds in the herb garden; There are 3 wooden boxes about 6 feet long a 1 foot wide where basil, oregano, Mexican tarragon, sage (2+ feet tall), mint rosemary, common thyme and lemon thyme reside. They have grown so dense no self respecting weed can get any sun. Dill has it’s own bed plus an 18 inch pot with more dill. The rest of the garden – weeds, lots of weeds. And Sheryl, there is a lot of purslane and I sent some home with a friend who had read your posting.

  19. cabynfevr says:

    Ugh….mine looks pretty much like yours. It’s been too hot to weed much and the evenings are so mosquito ridden I just gave up. The herbs themselves look ok but unfortunately, so do the weeds!

  20. yvonnem says:

    Hey Suzanne! Off topic here, but congrats on the Daily Mail “upgrade” (you have much more space now!). The Charleston Daily Mail is how I found your blog a few years ago, and I’ve read and re-read it very day since. Thank You! :hug: :snoopy:

  21. MalagaCove says:

    Glad to know about the weeds being good, I have a bunch, but a lot of mine are food plants and/or herbs! My garden grows & self-seeds two things really well: chickory, radicchio, and root parsley. Wonderful, right? Well, sort of…

    The chickory/radicchio was planted originally because I wanted fall/winter “greens.” The only radicchio I’ve ever gotten the mice/chipmunks got, and I’ve never managed to lift the roots and force the Belgian Endive I was supposed to. In the meantime, they come back year after year, taunting me with the beautiful blue flowers that the bees love.

    The root parsley actually is useful. I use it as parsley and dry a bunch; haven’t bought parsley flakes for years. But the roots are supposed to be edible too. There must be some method to preparing/cooking it, as the only roots I’ve ever gotten have been the consistency of naval rope. If there’s a trick to it, I’d sure like to know it!

    I also have other weeds too, but I didn’t plant those originally!


  22. MissAmynae says:

    marigolds, Thank you! they’re adorable! looks like the lantana we have down here in TX–didn’t think y’all would have it up there, so i just had to ask :sun:

  23. Hrist says:

    Well *my* herb garden is beautiful … of course, it’s just a small pot of chives and a slightly larger pot of mint. But the mint is doing stunningly well, especially considering my landlord actually threw it out in the fall because he thought it was dead and I had to fish it out of the big yard waste container a week later …

  24. mamajoseph says:

    Mine is also full of weeds. Thanks for the info, Liz. Just read that Kenya has decided to accept Monsanto GMO seed, in spite of farmers’ opposition. Superweeds, here we come.

  25. judyktw says:

    My herbs look good, except for the cilantro–it dried up–just when I needed it for salsa! The basil, rosemary, oregano, chives, parsley and sweet leaf are good so far. I’m going to start drying them this weekend. The flowers planted in there dried up too–not enough rain to sustain them….just thankful for what I’ve still got…

  26. Angela P says:

    I still think it looks nice. With all you do, I cant imagine one more thing possible, even herbs!

  27. deb in sc says:

    I was wondering what you are going to do with all of your sage? My sage has exploded and other than pasta with sage butter sauce, and using in stuffing at Thanksgiving/Christmas, I don’t have any other ideas?

  28. MalagaCove says:

    What I do with herbs that I don’t have enough of for the house is to dry ’em and add them to my “house potpourri.” Into this goes all the petals from flowers I’m given (or almost), many others that come in the house from the garden (mostly roses), mints, and other herbs in moderation. It smells largely of mint and roses.

    Anyone else do this?


  29. Dreaming of Poultry says:

    Just this week I was pondering what on earth I would do with all of the mint growing in my herb garden. I love the idea of drying it and using it as a fragrance!

  30. brookdale says:

    Judi, I do that too. Right now I have a great-smelling one drying, made with just rose petals and lavender leaves. I never thought of using mint!

  31. cresentcrow says:

    Suzanne, your pictures certainly make me feel better about our herb garden and flowers!! lol My sister, Tam, harvested our herbs about a month ago and has them tied in bundles drying. She loves to cook with them and has made wonderful stir fry with chicken, rosemary, cabbage, and green tomatoes!! The sage will be used to cleanse the house whenever it is completely dried. I bought my 1900 Victorian back in April and we wanted to bless it and cleanse it will sage we grow ourselves. I have an old metal kitchen cabinet from the 40’s or so and it will be filled with blue mason jars full of our herbs for cooking this winter!!

    I just remembered the peppers are dripping off the plants so, I need to go can them!! I love living in the country!!

    Thanks for all you do!


  32. unoynot says:

    What a great blog! Thank you for sharing your thoughts and lovely pictures. The info on the weeds contribution to the garden encourages me more than you know. Sorry about your dill, I have the opposite problem, dill is growing everywhere in my vegetable garden, and I love the feathery stuff so much when it first comes up that it tends to take over (oh, I have fond memories of weeding a forest of dill, the world smelled so dilly).
    Love you website, you make me smile,

  33. muskingumgirl says:

    My dill is dying… everything else is doing great.

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