So this year I bought a short strip of drip watering hose which should help out with the watering. It looks ugly now but it will get lost in the greenery before too long!
I planted the basics, rosemary and sage, along with lemon thyme (so good for fish and chicken). And I added a couple of really interesting potential time-savers this year, based on the recommendation of Nancy Moore, the owner (along with her son) of Moorefield Herb farm. Nancy suggested I try Egyptian onions, also known as Walking onions, a name for them coined by President Thomas Jefferson when he experimented with them at his famous gardens in Monticello.
Egyptian onions form a little baby onion at the top of the plant by late summer. Up until the greenery gets tough it can be eaten like a scallion. The little bulbs at the top of the plant can be eaten as little onions (1/2 to 3/4" size), planted to make more adults plants or left alone to walk to the ground and plant themselves! How easy is that?
My second interesting discovery was Vietnamese Coriander, also known as Vietnamese Cilantro or Rau Ram. It's a member of the knotweed family (and looks very much like something I should be pulling out of the garden rather than planting it!) It tastes quite a bit like cilantro and the leaves should be used when they're young and tender since it can become bitter as it gets old (sounds oddly familiar). I think this plant will be a fine substitute for cilantro for me. I buy it in the grocery store, use it once or twice and it gets mushy. Or I grow it, can't harvest nearly enough, the heat gets to it and it's gone before I can snip it into your tomatoes for salsa!