Love fresh herbs? Fall is a great time to plant some of the hardiest members of the herb family.
Many herbs will grow well in cool weather and some will even produce well into winter if you live in a mild climate. So, plant yourself a little herb patch this fall, or put together a container of your favorite herbs by the kitchen door to enjoy as summer fades away.
Two of my springtime favorites, cilantro and parsley, can be reseeded in the garden once again for a fall repeat growing performance! These two herbs in particular grow quickly and thrive during the cool fall months. And, as winter grows closer, you can easily store their excess for winter use until spring planting season arrives again. Cilantro and parsley also make nice ornamental plants to place around your pansies and other fall and winter flowers.
Other herbs to consider growing (or continue growing) this fall:
You may want to grow your fall herbs in pots or containers so you can move them if necessary, of if you want to overwinter them indoors.
A few tips:
Basil will die once frost hits. Just a little frost can kill a basil plant. However you can leave your already established summer basil plants in the garden until the frost or cool weather takes them out. Harvest one last time before the frost gets them, or attempt to protect them from any frost.
For other summer herbs, like oregano and tarragon, preserve what you can from the summer crop before cool weather sets in. Drying and freezing herbs is easy and fun to do. And, you’ll be glad you put in the hard work when you’re enjoying delicious herbs all winter long.
Dill likes cool weather, but it may not have enough time to grow into a large plant before the killing cold temperatures arrive. If you already have dill plants established – great! Let them keep growing. If not, you may want to start a fall crop with a transplant instead of seed.
When Old Man Winter does finally arrive (or his cousin Jack Frost) you may want to bring your fall herbs indoors. Chives will grow quite well in a sunny kitchen window. I also like to overwinter a pot of rosemary in the garage. It gets enough sunlight from the window and I water it once every week or two. It requires less water while it overwinters because it goes through a dormant phase. Come spring, I’ll take it back outdoors again.
For those gardeners who live in places where winter is mild, you may be able to continue growing some herbs, like rosemary, outdoors in the winter months. Success will depend ultimately on your climate. I live in North Carolina. I planted a rosemary bush in the ground when we moved into our home. It survived six “southern style” winters here in zone 7b … until this past year when we had one of our coldest winters on record. Needless to say, it bit the dust.
Even though the weather won’t be quite as hot in a month or two from now, your herbs still need about an inch of water a week, give or take, depending on the variety. Most herbs need a moderate amount of water, even when it is cooler outside.
Continue to pinch and prune your herbs regularly. Herbs grow best when they are trimmed and picked frequently. Pinching will keep them producing. So, don’t be shy – pick, pluck, trim, snip and use your herbs regularly!