Papalo Papaloquelite

Papalo or Papaloquelite is an ancient Mexican herb. Not well known outside of rural Mexico, but starting to show up at some markets and farmers markets. The name comes from the word papaloti, Nahuati for butterfly.
Unusual, piquant, fresh green leaves have a complex and distinctive flavor. More powerful than even Cilantro.The flavor gets stronger the older the leaves get, but can be harvested at a much smaller stage when the flavor is milder. It is usually used fresh in soups, stews, on meats, beans and salads or added at the last moment of cooked dishes. Does not bolt like Cilantro does. The herb grows wild in some areas of the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Texas) and native to Mexico. Bunches of the herbs are used as centerpieces in restaurants where diners can pick leaves to add to their dish if desired. If you are a cilantro aficionado, this is a must!
It is an annual plant that tolerates full sun or part shade. Grows any many soil types, but does prefer regular watering.

By | 2016-03-11T19:33:17-08:00 March 11th, 2016|Herbs|0 Comments

Growing Basil

We've included a link all about Basil for your reference. In this photo the basil looks nutrient deficient which could be caused by unhealthy roots, which are caused by too much water or not enough water. We noticed that you've left the peat pot around the root ball, which is okay for some plants, but it also holds alot of water and takes time to breakdown so the root system can grow into the soil/planter box. We think its just too wet for the basil roots, so we suggest you cut back on the water and maybe even remove the plant from the soil, take off the peat pot and replant. You can fertilizer with a slow release product available at your local garden center. Also keep the flowers cut back so the plant will continue to produce leaves. You might consider putting the basil in its own pot (about a 6inch size pot if you buy the 4inch from the store) so you can water it according to its needs instead of with the other plants.

By | 2016-03-05T09:32:47-08:00 March 5th, 2016|Herbs|0 Comments

Leaf Spot On Sage

Is the entire plant showing these symptoms or only some of the older leaves? If it's the entire plant, or a great deal of the plant, it's likely that it's getting too much water. Sage leaves yellow if the plant is being kept too wet and plants that are getting splashed with water on a frequent basis are likely to develop leaf-spot fungus.

Sage does best when grown in full sun and watered once a week, fairly deeply. Most plants don't do well if hand-watered or under irrigation where the foliage is splashed with water frequently.

If it's only a few leaves that look this way clip them off, and the plant is growing in the ground and not a pot, water the plant deeply only once a week, watering in the morning so that the foliage will dry. If the plant is in a container let it dry out a bit in between waterings - if the nights are cool, for example, you'll only need to water this plant every two or three days. Make sure the pot has an open drainage hole - most plants don't like to grow in pots without a drainage hole.

By | 2016-02-27T01:54:51-08:00 February 27th, 2016|Herbs|0 Comments

Oregano Kents Beauty

This appears to be the plant of the non-edible oregano. äóÖKent Beautyäó» is a hybrid ornamental oregano (O. rotundifolium x O. scabrum) that is grown primarily for its attractive flowers and foliage. In the St. Louis area, it may be grown as either an annual or a perennial. This is a bushy, trailing plant (to 10äó tall) with wiry stems densely covered with small, oval, silver-veined, glaucous leaves (to 3/4äó long). Unique, drooping, pink-bracted, hop-like flowers bloom in whorls from summer to fall. Although the foliage is aromatic, it is not of the pungency and quality expected for culinary oreganos and is usually not used in cooking. Bracted-flowers may be dried for use in dried flower arrangements. Notwithstanding its aforementioned parentage, äóÖKent Beautyäó» is often sold by nurseries as a cultivar of O. rotundifolium.

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Does very well in gritty, sandy loams. Superior soil drainage is the key to growing this plant well. Good heat and drought tolerance. Best to cut plants to the ground in late fall. If not cut back, foliage will die to the ground anyway when temperatures near zero degrees F. Winter hardy in zones 6 to 9. Notwithstanding its perennial nature, this oregano performs superbly in the St. Louis area as a flowering annual in containers, hanging baskets and window boxes.

By | 2016-01-17T19:16:03-08:00 January 17th, 2016|Herbs|0 Comments

Lemon Balm Indoors

One of the interesting thing about herbs is that they are definitely more fragrant when grown outdoors under more stressful conditions. The rosemary that is raised in dry, hot conditions, for example, is more filled with aromatic oils than the plant that's grown in a greenhouse. Herbs that are fertilized and grow larger are less flavorful as well. Basically, when the plant is in full sun etc the oils are more concentrated and the flavor/smell is greater.

On the one hand, you might say that a fresh herb grown indoors is better than a dried herb from a jar or no herb at all. On the other hand, we can say that some plants are best enjoyed during their peak seasons, and maybe we'd appreciate them the most if we wait to enjoy them when they are naturally growing outdoors.

The herbs that most people have success with indoors are Rosemary (sunny window, don't let it dry out) and bay (be on the lookout for scale, which makes the plant sticky). Other herbs that we are absolutely, crazy in love with, such as basil and lemon verbena we are content to wait and replant from year to year. And if you love lemon balm, you'll be over the moon with a lemon verbena plant!

Wishing you a mild winter, the Garden Compass team.

By | 2016-01-04T17:44:14-08:00 January 4th, 2016|Herbs|0 Comments

Curling Leaves On Basil

Curling leaves on basil could be a couple of different problems. Often it's because the plants have a sucking insect at work on the underside of the leaves - these insects pierce the leaf cells and this causes the leaves to curl as they grow. Sucking insects that attack basil include white fly (tiny, TINY white insects around the plants) and aphids for the most part. Aphids gather on the new growth and are visible.

Another cause of curling foliage could be a fungal disease such as powdery mildew or botrytis mold, or a water mold such as downy mildew. Powdery mildew and botrytis look like light grey powder and downy mildew looks like dirty, grey powder on the underside of the leaves.

Finally, fertilizer burn can cause distortion of the leaves if a synthetic fertilizer is applied in too great a concentration or if it's given to a dry plant. Never fertilize a thirsty plant.

The bottom line is that basil is an herb that grows best outside, in hot weather. Indoors it's more prone to all of the problems listed above. Basil can be planted outdoors when the night time temperatures are reliably above 50. So once you see that it will no longer go below 50 at night, you can plant basil outdoors and it will be less prone to problems.

By | 2016-01-04T07:02:45-08:00 January 4th, 2016|Herbs|2 Comments

Damage Looks Fungal Or Contact Created

Although it's impossible to diagnose a plant problem from a photo alone, especially of one leaf, this does not look like a pest or nutritional problem. Pests (bugs and larvae) do three types of damage: some chomp on leaves making holes, some scrape leaf tissues from underneath leaves creating a paper-thin or "skeletonized" look, and others pierce the leaf with tiny "soda straw" mouth parts making stippled leaves that might be contorted. Your leaf doesn't look like any of these.

The edge that's tan and brown looks like fungal damage - most fungus grow when foliage is frequently splashed with water. Water mint that's in the ground once a week and water a pot of mint every two to four days depending on the weather. Try to water in the morning when the plant has all day to dry, rather than in the evening when it will stay moist all night so fungi can grow.

It is possible that these spots were caused by something hitting the leaves - from one leaf it's impossible to tell. It might have been hot water from a sun-heated hose, a cleaning product used in the area or a garden product such as fertilizer in the water. Clip off the worst of the leaves and alter the watering as recommended and see if that solves the problem.

By | 2015-12-31T17:29:25-08:00 December 31st, 2015|Herbs|1 Comment

Oregano Problems

From this photo alone it's impossible to say for sure what the problem is, but we can list a number of possible concerns so you might think about which apply.
1. Is this plant indoors? From the background it looks as if that might be the case. Most herbs don't do that well inside long-term. If you could plant this outside, even if it's in a larger pot on a deck or balcony, that would help.
2. Is the foliage being splashed with water frequently? If so, alter the watering. Oregano doesn't like to be frequently wet on the leaves - the slightly brown edges can sometimes be a symptom of fungal action due to too much moisture.
3. It looks as if the leaves might be getting stippled - look under the leaves and see if they look dusty or dirty or webby - it can be very fine webs or dust. This is a sign of insect activity, usually mites but sometimes even aphids or whitefly. If the plant is indoors, it would be more prone to insect damage. If you suspect insects spray under the leaves with insecticidal soap. Mites, however, are hard to kill organically so should the problem get worse you might have to move the plant outside or toss it.

By | 2015-12-30T19:30:07-08:00 December 30th, 2015|Herbs|0 Comments

Sunburnreal World Stress On Basil

This looks like sunburn or other environmental stress on the basil. Were these plants put in the ground in the past two weeks or so? Usually when we plant basil that's fresh from either our indoor growing areas or a local garden center the plants haven't seen "the real world" yet and often become sun/wind/cold burned. Usually this only happens on the older foliage and the plants grow out of it. Occasionally you see the same browning of leaves if a fertilizer solution hits the foliage, or if hot water from a sun-heated hose splashes on the plants so be careful about both of those. These plants should be fine as they continue to grow provided you don't have the dreaded "downy mildew of basil" disease in your area. Give them a mild, organic liquid feed such as a seaweed/fish emulsion. They probably won't take off with growth until it gets warmer, however. Basil often sulks until the NIGHT TIME temperatures are reliably above 55 degrees and the days much, much warmer.

You might want to pull some of this mulch away from the stems of the plants - most plants don't do so well with mulch right up against their stems - they like some "breathing room."

By | 2015-12-28T18:44:49-08:00 December 28th, 2015|Herbs|0 Comments

Could Be Normal

At this point it's tough to say if you have a real problem with your basil or not. It's normal for plants to shed lower, older leaves at they grow newer ones on the top. That's kind of like how humans drop their older hair as new ones (hopefully) grow. If it's only the older leaves on a plant that are yellowing that isn't usually cause for concern.

Similarly, a few spots on leaves is normal as well. Usually these are from leaf-spot fungus - assorted fungi that create dark spots. In general the best approach is to try not to get the leaves wet when you water when possible. Don't water at night or in the evening, don't splash the foliage when you water if you can help it, and water deeply less often so that the leaves don't get splashed frequently. (Note: hand watering and automatic sprinkler systems are the biggest cause of leaf-spot fungi. Water with a soaker hose or sprinkler for a long time once every five to seven days.) Leaf spot ends up looking like insect damage because the fungal browned spots drop out and make holes.

Another issue is that the summer temperatures have been remarkably cool in the Northeast - which causes more leaf diseases for basil, tomatoes and other heat-loving plants.

Finally, the real pest for basil right now is downy mildew, which many of the basil seeds were infected with even before germination. This causes leaves to first yellow and then turn brown. The underside of the leaves looks dusty and grey, mildew-coated. If your plants turn first a sick yellow, then brown, that's the problem.

What's a gardener to do? Water deeply less often, trying to water early in the day so that the plants don't stay damp overnight. Spray with an organic fungicide such as Actinovate if you think that fungal issues are continuing. Fertilize with the product of your choice used according to directions.

By | 2015-12-09T00:17:01-08:00 December 9th, 2015|Herbs|0 Comments