Gardening 101: Growing herbs by the box

Gardening 101: Growing herbs by the box

NORTH TEXAS (  When anyone new to gardening asks me what to plant, I always suggest starting with culinary herbs. 

Most kinds grow very well in this region. They are low risk, high reward plants if you cook a lot. There is something very satisfying about walking outside and clipping some herbs for your recipe. 

Daniel Cunningham at Rooted In in Pilot Point has worked on curated box sales for years now. A couple of seasons ago, I did a story on a pollinator garden in a box he put together. I bought one of them and planted it right in front of my kitchen window. It turned out very well and have recommended it often to others.

This year, he has put together a box of herbs. In this week's story, I highlight the easiest three to grow here. 

'Arp' rosemary can handle our cold in North Texas. I was growing a more common variety in several places in my garden before the big freeze in February 2021 when the temperature got down to -2°F. Only one of the four plants survived, and I had to cut it back severely.

Greek oregano is another one that handles our heat very well. It also stays green across mild winters. Mine is now about four years old. I trim it like a small, low hedge in the summer months.

Lemon thyme has a great taste for cooking. It is also a very pretty plant with a dense growth of small leaves. I bought a variegated version that is doing rather well in a very hot spot in my front yard.

Overall, I can recommend the Home Harvest Edible Garden that Rooted In is offering. It includes 24 plants of 11 varieties of herbs, all of which are well-adapted to the North Texas climate. You can order online for an April 1st pickup at one of the nine locations across the Metroplex, College Station and Round Rock. It would make for a great house-warming gift.

The herbs are relatively easy to take care of. The box comes with instructions and includes several different lay designs to choose from based on the shape of your landscape bed. I'd reserve somewhere between 125 to 150 square feet for the planting. 

If you are not willing to go all in with the box, start with the three featured above. 

Now that we are warming up, I'd add basil as well. There are a handful of different varieties to try that provide summer-long flowers for pollinators if you leave the flower stems on.

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